Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey Holds Annual Hellenic Folk Dance Festival
For the first time since before the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, with the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, held its annual Hellenic Folk Dance Festival (FDF) on January 14 – 15, 2023, which took place at SS. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Annapolis, Maryland, and was co-chaired by the Vicar General of the Metropolis, the Rev. Protopresbyter Kosmas Karavellas and Mrs. Felicia Nolan. The annual FDF program brought together over 300 youth members, consisting of 14 dance groups from 11 parishes from throughout the sacred Metropolis.
The FDF began on Saturday morning, with His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Media celebrating the Agiasmos Service, and blessing all the FDF dancers, instructors, organizers, volunteers, judges, and the hundreds of families and friends in attendance. Following the Agiasmos, His Grace welcomed all the participants, congratulated all of them for their hard work, and conveyed the love and blessings of His Eminence, the Archbishop. Throughout the weekend, the youth showcased their talents and their love of their Hellenic Culture by offering performances featuring traditional dances from throughout mainland Greece and many Greek islands.
Saturday evening, the youth joined together in faith and fellowship at the Dinner Dance held at the parish, as the GOYAns from all the various parishes ate and danced together, creating lifelong friendships. Then, on Sunday morning, the Hellenic FDF participants gathered together in prayer, as His Grace celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Ss. Constantine and Helen. Following the Divine Liturgy, the dance performances concluded, and the results as listed below were announced:
Best Costume: “Elpida” – Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Norfolk, VA
3rd Place: “Elpida” - Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Norfolk, VA
2nd Place: “Hellenic Golden Coins” - St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Baltimore, MD
1st Place: St. George Junior GOYA Dance Group - St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Piscataway, NJ
Best Costume: “Holy Trinity Hellenic Dancers” - Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Westfield, NJ
TIE 3rd Place: “St. Barbara Greek Dancers” - St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Toms River, NJ
“Aegeans” - SS. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Annapolis, MD
2nd Place: “Opa Pathia” – Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly, NJ
1st Place: “Holy Trinity Hellenic Dancers” - Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Westfield, NJ
Group Photo: Marcus Chacona