April 26, 2009
Greek Independence Day Parade
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the Greek Orthodox Family of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland
Once again we gather together with joy and excitement as Greek Orthodox Christians to celebrate Greek Independence Day, March 25, 1821, by participating in our annual Greek Independence Day Parade in New York City, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. This annual parade, in which take part representative members from all our communities and various organizations, has become a historic and welcome New York tradition. Each year, people from all walks of life gather along Fifth Avenue to enjoy a jubilant, patriotic spectacle and to hear the message of our faith and our culture that we express on this day.
Our expression on this day of our steadfastness to the ideals of freedom and independence, based upon our Orthodox faith and our universal culture, is a tribute to the heroes who gave their lives so that following generations would live in conditions of freedom. This expression gives homage to the numerous Hellenes and Philhellenes from around the world who fought and gave their lives in battle for Greek Independence, which was declared on March 25, 1821, after four centuries of Ottoman occupation. It is in this regard that our Greek Independence Day Parade is truly a parade that belongs to all people of this city and of America. With pride and immense gratitude to God, we march for the ideals of freedom, independence, and democracy which March 25th symbolizes.
When we consider how many people gave their lives for these ideals, we are automatically called to protect and promote these ideals in every way. One important venue for their promotion is our Greek Independence Day Parade, for it underscores in a vivid manner, and it communicates to others, the importance of conditions of liberty and independence for the Orthodox Christian faith, Hellenic culture, and American identity.
With exceptional joy, I invite all members of our communities, men and women, adults and children, to participate in this year’s parade, which will be held on Sunday, April 26 at 1:00 pm. On this day, we will gather in our parishes to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, as we do every Sunday. On this same day, let us also gather and proudly march along Fifth Avenue in our celebration; and let us give generously in every direction the inheritance of freedom, independence, democracy, and, above all, our Greek Orthodox Christian faith.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America