NEW YORK – The Eastern Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA) sponsored the first ever Seraphim Canoutas Lecture entitled “We are all Greeks”: March 25, 1821- Hellenes and Philhellenes in the War of Independence for the Order of AHEPA District 6 (New York State) and Delphi Chapter #25 (Manhattan) at the 3 West Club in Midtown Manhattan. The community sponsored event by EMBCA was free in honor of the special occasion. The event’s title comes from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous poem Hellas written in 1822 – “We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their root in Greece.”
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras offered his remarks on the significance of March 25th and the role played by the diaspora and philhellenes. New York State Department of Transportation Assistant Commissioner for Regions 10 and 11 George Paralemos represented Governor Andrew Cuomo who could not attend the event and shared his best wishes and support for the Greek community.
Opera singer Demetrios Jussi Tsinopoulos (Tenor) sang O Gheros Demos from the opera Markos Botsaris by Pavlos Karrer. He was accompanied by Pavlos Kordis on keyboard. The song reminded the audience how artists drew inspiration from the War of Independence at the time, and continue to do so, nearly two centuries later.
The Seraphim Canoutas Historic Lectures were by military historian Peter Giakoumis on The Legacy of General Yiannis Makriyiannis and Louis Katsos on Hellenes and Philhellenes in the War of Independence. EMBCA President and Founder Katsos is also the AHEPA District 6 Director of Hellenism.
The lectures offered insights into the War of Greek Independence, highlighting the remarkable efforts of Makriyiannis and the other heroes of 1821, while also noting the terrible toll of the War on the common people. Slides also illustrated the points made by the lecturers who brought the history to life with their presentations.
Seraphim G. Canoutas (1874- 1944) was an attorney, educated at the University of Athens and in the U.S., a diplomat, historian, and prolific author. He was known as the “First Historian of the Hellenes in the Western Hemisphere.” His famous Hellenic American classic “Greek-American Guide and Business Directory” was published annually beginning in 1908. It was historically the most useful compilation of information ever assembled for the Hellenic Immigrant starting a new life in America. With American laws, history, geography, statistics, customs, and a complete account of American and Canadian communities and what an immigrant should expect in America and Canada, the directory also contained the most complete account of every early Hellenic American community ever assembled, listing alphabetically by state and city all Hellenic Churches and communities with descriptions, clergy, merchants and shop keepers, physicians, newspapers, etc., with their addresses. He obtained most of his information first-hand by touring every state in the union (except Arizona and New Mexico). His work has never been duplicated to the present day and his books are still extensively used by scholars for research in early Hellenic American history.
Canoutas was also a proud early member of The Order of AHEPA, joining soon after its founding in 1922. Canoutas was an active member of the historic Order of AHEPA Delphi Chapter #25 in New York City and served as one of its early Chapter Presidents. He was cited at beginning Order of AHEPA National Conventions for his column “Eleftheron Bema” which appeared in The National Herald newspaper and which gave invaluable information to Hellenic immigrants on many subjects including among others law, business, civics, government, and medicine.
Among those in attendance were Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou, AHEPA Supreme Governor of Region 3 Thomas Dushas, Empire District 6 Lodge District Governor Ted Stamas, District 6 Lieutenant Governor Demi Pamboukis, New Rochelle Chapter #405 President Joseph C. Keane, Delphi Chapter #25 President Argyris Argitakos, many Ahepans, members of the community, and philhellenes.