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Events

Baltimore Celebrates Greek Independence Day (Photos)

March 30, 2022
By Petros Kasfikis

BALTIMORE, MD – The 201st anniversary of Greek Independence Day, March 25, was celebrated with great enthusiasm and spirit by the Greek-American community in Baltimore which held the annual parade on March 27. Despite the fact that the weather was not favorable, Greek-Americans defied the cold to attend the festivities, which began early in the morning with the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Church located in the city’s historic Greek Town. The Liturgy was presided over by His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Media assisted by Metropolis of New Jersey Chancellor Rev. Fr. Christoforos Oikonomidis. Life-long Marylanders Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos were honored to serve as the 2022 Parade’s Grand Marshals.

The 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore with Grand Marshals Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos, alongside Bishop Apostolos of Medeia and Greek-American Congressman John Sarbanes. Photo: Courtesy of Manatos & Manatos

A luncheon followed with guests including Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Comptroller of Maryland and gubernatorial candidate Peter Franchot, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressman John Sarbanes, and representatives of the Greek and Cypriot embassies. For his part, the mayor of Baltimore said he was proud of the active role played by the Greek-American community, while Sen. Van Hollen spoke about the important contributions of the community and mentioned the ties that his family has built with the Greek Orthodox Church as his wife, Katherine Wilkens Van Hollen, is Greek-American.

Also present were Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, several Council Members, Maryland’s Senate President Bill Ferguson, and many other government officials.

Mike Manatos and Andy Manatos, the Grand Marshals of the 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore. Photo: Courtesy of Manatos & Manatos

Among the several diplomats representing the government of Greece from the Embassy of Greece to the United States were: Consul General Nektarios Vasilakis, Defense Attache Col. Panagiotis Vlachopoulos, Air Attache Col. Dimitris Bitsis, and Naval Attache Captain Prokopis Charitos. From the Embassy of Cyprus to the United States, Consul General George Loizou and Defense Attache Col. George Ioannou represented the government of Cyprus.

The parade, which lasted almost two hours, was attended by groups from Greek schools, dance groups, and members of the parishes of the Greek Orthodox Churches of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia who paraded dressed in traditional costumes from various parts of Greece, all waving blue and white flags. In addition, it is worth noting that philhellenic organizations of the city participated, as well as the evzones from the local association of evzones in Baltimore, who are trained to the same standards as the Presidential Guard in Greece.

Baltimore Greek Independence Parade 2022 Grand Marshal Andy Manatos, at the podium, with his son Mike Manatos at right, who also served as Grand Marshal. Photo: Courtesy of Manatos & Manatos

For his part, the representative of the AHEPA organization in Baltimore, George Komninos, said: “We had the opportunity to celebrate together with all Hellenes everywhere the national anniversary here in the beautiful philhellenic city of Baltimore. We are very proud of all the children who participated. We are so proud to be Greek. Greece is inside us and we love it very much and we hope that the images from this parade will reach our homeland and in time we will all meet again.”

Equally satisfied was the musician Vasilis Vassiliadis, whose performance on laouto dressed the various events that took place. As he stated, “we want to wish all the best to the Saint Nicholas community of Baltimore, which is here in Baltimore’s Greektown. The parade was well attended and I am happy that my homeland, Karpathos, in particular, once again had a starring role. We have seen the streets fill with life again after almost two years of confinement due to the pandemic. I feel proud as a Greek, as a Karpathian, and as a Greek musician. Long live the nation and I wish every joy and happiness to everyone.”

Left to right: Mike Manatos, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a local evzone, and Andy Manatos ready for the Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore. Photo: Manatos & Manatos

The Grand Marshals Manatos and Manatos said via email: “A special thanks and congratulations goes out to the Maryland Greek Independence Day Parade Committee and its Chairman George Stakias.”

The parade each year features dance groups in traditional costumes, children groups, and Orthodox clergy from the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. These groups come from as far away as Ocean City, Hagerstown, and Frederick, MD, Washington, DC, Falls Church, and Fredericksburg, VA, as well as Lancaster and York, PA.

At the wreath-laying ceremony before the Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore on March 27, left to right: Grand Marshals Mike Manatos and Andy Manatos with Rep. John Sarbanes, and American Hellenic Institute President Nick Larigakis. Photo: Courtesy of Manatos & Manatos
At the Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore, Grand Marshals Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos with representatives of Greece from the Embassy of Greece to the United States Defense Attache Col. Panagiotis Vlachopoulos, Air Attache Col. Dimitris Bitsis, and Naval Attache Captain Prokopis Charitos. Photo: Courtesy of Manatos & Manatos
The 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore was held on March 27 with participants in traditional costume. Photo: Courtesy of Manatos & Manatos
A festive float in the Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore. Photo: Courtesy of Manatos & Manatos
Wearing traditional costume, participants in the Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore posed with the Baltimore Orioles mascot, The Oriole Bird. Photo: TNH/ Petros Kasfikis
The local evzones marched in the 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore. Photo: TNH/ Petros Kasfikis
Marchers in costume at the 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore. Photo: TNH/ Petros Kasfikis
The 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore was held on March 27 with participants in traditional costume. Photo: TNH/ Petros Kasfikis
The 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore was held on March 27. Photo: TNH/ Petros Kasfikis
The 2022 Greek Independence Parade in Baltimore was held on March 27. Photo: TNH/ Petros Kasfikis

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