Greek Independence Day Parade in New York City

New York, NY—Sunday, April 14, 2024, Greek Americans, Hellenes, and Philhellenes marched down Fifth Avenue for the New York City Greek Independence Day Parade. It was a beautiful day in New York City with the sun shining, a stark contrast from Friday's Flag Raising at Bowling Green, where participants, led by the Εὔζωνες, the elite Presidential Guard of the Hellenic Republic, proudly marched in a downpour of rain to honor the Greek Flag and to celebrate Greek Independence.

At the pre-parade banquet on April 13, 2024, Archbishop Elpidophoros thanked the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, for granting the parade with the presence of the Evzones reminding us of the Heroes of 1821, who gave their utmost so that Greece might be reborn a free nation. His Eminence encouraged attendees to remember that this is the fiftieth anniversary of the illegal and unjust Turkish invasion of Cyprus, promoting a just and peaceful settlement for a unified Cyprus.

Today began at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Orthros and Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Veria and Naousa—concelebrating with His Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos of New Jersey and Their Graces Bishop Irinej [Serbian Orthodox Church], Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos, Bishop Christophoros of Amphipolis, and Bishop Nektarios of Diokleia. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided over the doxology for Greek Independence Day. His Eminence acknowledged and honored the brave actions taken by the Heroes 1821, and their actions allow us to proudly march down Fifth Avenue today and celebrate our Greek heritage. Stefanos Kasselakis, President of the main opposition party in Greece SYRIZA, also addressed the faithful in anticipation of the parade later in the day.

The parade procession began with Archbishop Elpidophoros marching along with the parade Chairman of the Parade Committee, Mr. Philip Christopher, President of PSEKA and the Pan Cyprian Association, and Grand Marshals Alexis Vafeades, Minister of Transportation and Communications of Cyprus and George Karlaftis, football player of the NFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Evzones followed and garnered an eruption of cheers from the crowd, led by Commander Elias Kriezis. Honorary Grand Marshals were Dionysios (Fredi) Beleri, Elected Mayor of Himarra, Northern Epirus, who is unjustly and unlawfully imprisoned by the Albanian authorities (in absentia), and Mayor of Chios Dr. Ioannis M. Malafis. 

The mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, was also present and declared his admiration for the Greek diaspora in New York City. Local politicians also in attendance were Senate Majority leader and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Senator Andrew Gounardes, New York Senator Michael Giannaris, Representative Nicole Malliotakis, and New York State Assemblyman Mike Tannousis.

Dignitaries from Greece present were Ioannis Plakiotakis, First Vice President of the Hellenic Parliament; Stefanos Kasselakis, President of the main opposition party SYRIZA; Ambassador of Greece to the United States Ekaterini Nassika; Filippos Fortomas, MP (New Democracy), Chair of the Parliament Committee for the Diaspora Hellenism; Theofilos Xanthopoulos, MP - SYRIZA; Milena Apostolaki, MP - PASOK; Nina Kassimati MP - SYRIZA; Rena Dourou, MP - SYRIZA; Evangelos Meimarakis, Member of the European Parliament; Ambassador Evangelos Sekeris, Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations.

Dignitaries from Cyprus in attendance include Ambassador Maria Constantinidou, Commissioner for Overseas Cypriots; Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States Evangelos Savva; Ambassador Maria Michail, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN.

Consul General of Greece in New York, Konstantinos Konstantinou, and Consul General of Cyprus in New York, Mihalis Firillas, were also in attendance.

Hundreds of participants joined with Churches, Greek Schools, and other groups, such as GOYA and AHEPA, marched in the parade. Children waved Greek flags with beaming smiles and shouts of "Ζήτω ἡ Ἑλλάδα!" were heard throughout the entirety of the day. The Greek Independence Day Parades across the country and in New York City are wonderful celebrations of Greek heritage, culture, and the resilience of the Heroes of 1821.

Photo: GOARCH/Dimitrios Panagos

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