Archbishop Elpidophoros shared his thoughts and best wishes via video during the Greek Independence celebration hosted by AHI online on March 30. Photo: TNH Staff
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on March 30 virtually hosted its annual Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day to celebrate the spirit of 1821 and the common democratic ideals held by Greece and the United States. The event was held in cooperation with the Congressional Hellenic Caucus’ co-chairs, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and featured bicameral participation.
In addition to U.S. Reps. Bilirakis and Maloney, members of Congress who provided remarks included: U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Gary Peters (D-MI); and U.S. Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chuck Fleishmann (R-TN), Ted Deutch (D-FL), and Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ).
Special guest speakers included: Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou and Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States Marios Lysiotis.
Amb. Papadopoulou said: “We should all thank the American Hellenic Institute for its traditional congressional celebration of Greek Independence day, which by now has become an anticipated staple of the Greek-American community… the 25th of March this year marks the end of celebrations for the bicentennial of the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, a struggle that the Greek people determined not to lose, a struggle that led to the birth of the Greek state and its quest for its rightful place in the world as a free and independent country.”
Amb. Lysiotis noted that “the heroic struggle of the Hellenes for liberty and self-determination was not a local event… It transformed the political and spiritual landscape of Europe as a whole, the example of a small nation rising against a mighty empire inspired the people of Europe.”
In addition, AHI presented a pre-recorded video from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America who said: “The world is being threatened by anti-democratic forces unleashed in Europe. This is why our commemoration of the important heroes of 1821 is even more vital than ever.”
AHI President Nick Larigakis gave the welcoming remarks and served as event moderator. He thanked U.S. Reps. Bilirakis and Maloney for their sponsorship of the event and introduced the distinguished guests.
The speakers highlighted their admiration for the Greek-American community and Hellenic culture while noting the positive state of U.S.-Greece bilateral relations and also honoring the valiant struggle for Greek Independence which began 201 years ago. They also expressed their desire for a proper settlement of the Cyprus issue, peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the need to hold regional actors such as Turkey accountable.
George Theodoridis, director of Music Arts at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC, performed the National Anthems of Greece and the United States.
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