March 25, 2013
Greek Independence Day Parade
To 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 entire Greek Orthodox Family in the tri-state area
As brothers and sisters in Christ we anticipate with excitement and joy once again the inspiring celebration of Greek Independence Day through our participation in the annual parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. This year’s parade will be held on Sunday, April 7, and I strongly encourage and urge all of our parishes and organizations to participate fully and enthusiastically in this very important event.
Our parade is a unique witness of both our faith and our Hellenic heritage. As we march together, we will commemorate the struggle of our forefathers and ancestors who made great sacrifices in order to establish freedom in our country after four centuries under foreign occupation. Faith in God, commitment to His will, and awareness of His great power and wisdom inspired our ancestors to stand for liberty, justice, human dignity, and life. Certainly, these were longings of many generations who suffered under occupation and oppression; but in 1821 these blessings of freedom began to become a reality for the people of Greece. On this day when we remember their offering, we will affirm the power of faith in God and offer an inspiring witness of this faith and of our cherished legacy and inheritance as Hellenes.
As we vigorously prepare for our parade and celebration may we also be mindful of how this event can inspire and guide our youth and children. Through our observance of Greek Independence Day and a Parade full of power and enthusiasm, we have a blessed opportunity to teach them the significance of our Greek Orthodox heritage and the vital role our faith has had in shaping our Orthodox-Hellenic identity. Let no one be left behind. Let all of us be present at the Parade of April 7 and proclaim with strong voices our adherence to the eternal and universal values of Hellenism, like freedom and justice, and our faith in the rejuvenating power of Orthodoxy.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America