BOSTON – Vasilios (Bill) Kafkas, the president of the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of New England set the tone for the annual celebration on Greek Independence Day at the Massachusetts State House when he said “today the Greek-American community in New England begins a series of celebrations to honor Greece, the Heroes and Heroines of 1821, and all who fought for freedom.”
He thanked the leaders of Massachusetts for hosting the event that was originated by former Governor Michael Dukakis and added that the Federation, in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must continue the tradition “because such celebrations bring us into closer cooperation with institutions, with friends, and their philhellenes. Greece and Hellenism need friends and philhellenes and every day we try to do more and we must do more,” to support Hellenism.
Kafkas also declared how proud and honored members of the community feel to have Greek-American public servants like State Senator Bruce Tarr, and state representatives Theodore C. Speliotis and Diana Diana DiZoglio.
After speaking about the challenges and threats faced Greece and Hellenism today, he emphasized how important it is to convey “to our children and our grandchildren the values of the Greek nation with works, not mere words.”
Kafkas also praised Ethnikos Kyrix-National Herald – he noted the Governor of Massachusetts would soon do the same at a special event – for “the services provided for 100 consecutive years to Hellenism.” He congratulated Publisher-Editor Antonis H. Diamataris and thanked his family and the newspaper’s staff for their contributions. “Of course we here in New England have Theodore Kalmoukos, who informs us daily and sometimes hurls fire at us in order to keep us on the path of Hellenism and our Orthodox Faith.”
An 8th grade student, Lily Faulkner of the day school of Holy Trinity of Lowell, who won a competition related to the celebration of the Greek Revolution of 1921, read from the floor of the State Senate her essay titled “Ioannis Kapodistrias and the creation of the Modern Greek State.”
Fr. Theodore Barbas, chancellor of the Metropolis of New England, offered the benediction. He represented Metropolitan Methodios, who chose to travel to Constantinople to attend a Divine Liturgy at the Monastery Zoodochos Pigi in Baloukli and participate in the work of the Holy Synod at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Choir of Holy Cross School of Theology chanted hymns apropos of the Easter season and sang the Greek and American national anthems.
A reception was held in the social hall of the Senate, during which dozens of Greek-Americans expressed congratulations and best wishes for TNH’s 100th anniversary.
On the same day Kafkas and the board of the Federation and several Greek-Americans participated in an event marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and laid a wreath at a monument dedicated to its victims.
Later that afternoon Ifigenia Kanara, the Greek Consul General in Boston, hosted a well-attended reception at the Greek Consulate sponsored by Greek-American businessman Harry Katis.
In attendance were numerous consuls general from European countries and greetings were offered by Kanara, Fr. Constantine Manetas, pastor of the Assumption of Somerville, and Kafkas.