March 29, 2015
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
Our annual gathering for the Greek Independence Day Parade is a celebration of our cherished ideals, a commemoration of those who sacrificed for the sake of liberty, and a witness of the strength of our faith and heritage. This year, as you probably know, our Parade will be held on Sunday, March 29, and I invite you to join with us as we march down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York.
In celebrating Greek Independence Day with our Parade, we are perpetuating the memory of the heroic struggle that began in 1821 and led to independence for the people of Greece. This struggle was inspired by a deep love of liberty and self-determination that had been suppressed for centuries under Ottoman oppression. Affirming the truth of life and liberty as inherent to human existence, these valiant people overcame a greater force. Through their love of God and freedom, of their Hellenic heritage and Orthodox faith, they were able to offer generations to come a free nation and society where liberty and faith would be cherished.
As we march we remember these forbearers and the sacrifices they made so that we might be free. This commemoration of our ancestors’ courage and offering is our duty as heirs of their noble legacy. But it is also a unique opportunity as we offer this memorial in the United States of America. This is a nation that was born out of struggle for the sake of liberty. The ideals of a free society and principles of governance that are the foundation of this nation encourage our celebration and affirm its importance.
Our Parade on Fifth Avenue and similar events throughout this nation and around the world are also a witness of the power and necessity of the inseparable relationship between our Hellenic heritage and our Orthodox faith. We celebrate Greek Independence Day in association with the Feast of the Annunciation. This Feast and the truth, power, and grace of God’s revelation celebrated in our worship on March 25 inspired our Greek forbearers to begin their noble struggle. We also affirm that our foundation of faith is essential to understanding the necessity of liberty for all people.
As you plan the enthusiastic participation of all your communities and organizations in this year’s parade, please consider these aspects of this important event. In fellowship and joy we will march, but as we march may we be inspired by our heritage, thankful for our inheritance as Greek Americans, emboldened by the power of our faith, and hopeful through the tremendous witness we offer to all.
With paternal love in Christ,
† D E M E T R I O S
Archbishop of America