Commemoration of the Pontian Genocide, Greek Independence Day at Mass. State House

Shown from left are: Yiannis Chatzizisis, Sophocles Chatzizisis, George Chatzizisis, Maria Kyparissopoulou, Anastasia Moragianni-Angelopoulou, Stavroula Kyparissopoulou. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

BOSTON – The annual celebration of the Independence of Greece from Turkish occupation at the Massachusetts State house took place this year on Friday March 29, organized by the office of state senator Bruce Tarr, who also served as Master of Ceremonies at the celebration of the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England.

The focus at the State House, however, was on the 100th dark anniversary of the brutal genocide of Pontian Hellenes by the Turks, with the spotlight on two young girls and their essays about the Genocide.

Ioanna Chatzizisis, a pupil at the Greek Afternoon School of the Annunciation Cathedral of Boston and Angelica Anousis from the Greek School of St. Catherine parish in Braintree wrote outstanding essays that brought tears to eyes of many Greek-Americans who attended the event. Ioanna Chatzisisis, who delivered her speech in fluent Greek, said that “the Genocide of Pontians brings to the memory of all of us one of the most atrocious crimes against humanity (by the Turks). Different methods of extermination were used, including massacres, exhaustion from privations, torture, starvation and thirst, and the infamous death marches through deserts. This day will always be for our Greek Nation a day of sorrow and memory.”

Angelica Anousis, also in perfect Greek, said in her essay that, “1919-2019, one hundred years have passed since the debarkation of Moustafa Kemal in Amissos on May 19, 1919. One hundred years of lamentation and tears. One hundred years have passed and not one candle is lit there…in the lost lands.”

From the celebration at the Massachusetts State House. In the front row are famous Cretan musicians Vasilis Skoulas and Kostas Travagiakis.(Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

In another passage, Angelica said, “this is why we shouldn’t forget; we are not permitted to forget. We don’t want retaliation. We don’t want others to live the pain which we suffered. No we don’t want retaliation, but we will never forget.”

The celebration began with an invocation by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and the chanting of the American and Greek National Anthems by the Byzantine Choir of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology under the direction of Fr. Romanos Karanos. The choir also chanted ecclesiastical hymns and also traditional patriotic songs.

Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker issued an official proclamation honoring the Independence of Greece. Pupils of the Day Greek-American School of the Holy Trinity parish of Lowell performed Greek dances and a special recognition was made to Eleni Vidalis, 25 years the host of Greek TV Program of BNN on a voluntary basis.

Ioanna Chatzizisis, a pupil at the Greek Afternoon School of the Annunciation Cathedral of Boston, delivers her speech at Massachusetts State House.
(Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

Vasilis Skoulas a famous singer visiting from the island of Crete played songs of Crete with members of his orchestra.

Greetings and messages were delivered by Metropolitan Methodios, Consul General of Greece in Boston Stratos Efthimiou, Vasilis Kafkas president of the Federation, Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas Raptakis, and the honoree Eleni Vidalis.
Prior to the celebration a reception was hosted in the State House corridor.

Angelica Anousis from the Greek School of St. Catherine parish in Braintree delivers her essay at the Massachusetts State House. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

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