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April 6, 2008
Greek Independence Day Parade

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, 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 of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland

Prosfileis Omogeneis,

Each year we have the unique and blessed opportunity to come together in fellowship and brotherhood to celebrate Greek Independence Day, a truly historic occasion for all Hellenes and for all peoples of the world. This special day, March 25, is held with deep admiration in our hearts, as we honor the rebirth of a nation and the sacrifices made by our fathers and mothers for the sake of freedom. Further, we affirm the beautiful relationship of our Hellenic heritage and our Orthodox faith through the commemoration of the Feast of the Annunciation. In all of these observances we gain a greater appreciation of who we are, what we believe, and what we can offer to others. Ours is an inheritance of faith and culture that continues to be a beacon unto others for hope, human dignity, life, intellectual progress, and spiritual transformation.

As part of our celebrations each year, we participate in the Greek Independence Day Parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. This year, the parade will be held on Sunday, April 6, and all faithful of our communities are invited to join in this procession that is a visible proclamation of our heritage and its significance in our contemporary world. As Greek Americans we have much to offer. This parade and our celebratory activities throughout this country should affirm our calling and commitment to be bearers of truth, of a love of knowledge, of aspirations to the highest achievements of mind and soul, and of the ideals of faith and life that guide our families, communities, and societies toward greater peace and unity.

In our celebration of the Day of Greek Independence, may we give thanks to God for His blessings and guidance. Our Lord has given to each of us a treasure of faith and identity that we should both cherish and share. May our procession on Fifth Avenue and our voices in song and speech accentuate the strength and beauty of this treasure and its relevance for each and every person. 

With paternal love in Christ,

+DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America