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Protocol 54/16

April 10, 2016

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

Beloved Omogeneia,

On March 25th we celebrated the beautiful and holy Feast of the Annunciation and the commemoration of Greek Independence Day.  In following the worship of our Lord and the honoring of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos, as well as the legacy of March 25th for the people of Greece and the world, we gather again this Sunday, April 10, in New York City for our Greek Independence Day Parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

For us as Greek Orthodox Christians, these two celebrations are intertwined because our forbearers were inspired by the extraordinary example of the faith of the Theotokos, and on March 25, 1821, they began a valiant struggle to end centuries of oppression and establish a free nation.  They desired an environment in which faith could be expressed openly, proper relationships could be grounded in what is good and pure, and obedience to the will of God was encouraged.  With our parade we honor the memory and sacrifice of our fathers and mothers who gave their lives to establish a nation built upon a sacred and noble heritage.

I invite you to participate fully in this year’s Parade as we look forward to gathering in the joy and remembrance of our celebrations. As we are inspired by the Feast and the example of the Theotokos, as well as by our inheritance of freedom, may our unity and joy offer a witness of Christ and affirm the value and strength of our Hellenic heritage to all.

With paternal love in Christ,

† DEMETRIOS

Archbishop of America