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United States

Board of Tampa Greek Parade Committee Sworn in

November 26, 2023

An old, fire-blackened icon of the Virgin Mary holding Christ was next to another similar one, on the small table where Father Theofanis Katsiklis, a priest of the Cathedral Holy Church of St. Nicholas, performed the holy water Blessing on the occasion of the newly-elected Administrative Board of the Greek parade Committee, headquartered in Tarpon Springs, AKA The Greek Village.

“Let us have the grace and blessing of our Panagia in the work we have undertaken,” said the newly elected president, Efi Vassiliou. “We don’t know how old this icon is, but I was told it comes from a small chapel outside Kalamata, which was completely burned. This one suffered damage but was saved. It just got very dark from the smoke.”

The blessing service took place in the hall of the Pan-Panhellenic Cultural Center of Florida – ‘Prometheus’, where Vassiliou is also the president. The swearing-in followed, performed by Fr. Katsiklis.

Behind the Blessing table were the Greek and American flags, while portraits of heroes of the Greek Revolution hung high on one side of the hall, and small blue and white triangular flags were arrayed all around.

The moment of the oath-taking. On either side of Rev. Katsiklis are the president, Efi Vassiliou, and the vice president, Angelos Sakis. (Photo: TNH/Stavros Marmarinos)

The Board’s first meeting followed, and former Parade Committee President Costas Sisois was also present, receiving thanks from everyone for the services he has offered over the past 30 years. He informed that he had already taken care of preliminary bureaucratic and other tasks regarding the 2024 Parade and answered questions that were posed to him. The committee dealt with various current issues of Parade organization and parallel festive events. The Parade will take place on Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Fr. Katsiklis, after praising the work of Sisois to date, emphasized the importance of unity. He also wished that the new president, Efi Vassiliou, and her collaborators would follow the example of her predecessor and work selflessly. “The only thing that matters is unity,” he said.

He also expressed his joy in seeing compatriots from other areas on the Parade Committee, besides Tarpon Springs and wished for the love for Greece and Freedom to be transmitted to the younger generations.

Speaking to The National, Herald Sisois congratulated and wished success to the new Board, particularly to Vassiliou. He emphasized that the entire new Board consists of new faces, meaning, he said, “we brought in new blood this year. I see that they are active fellow countrymen of ours, people who I believe will work for the Greek parade and our national issues.”

Rev. Theofanis Katsiklis performs the Hoy Water Blessing. On the right, Efi Vassiliou and Costas Sisois. (Photo: TNH/Stavros Marmarinos)

Sisois also thanked the outgoing Board for its invaluable help over the years. He assured that he would remain close to the Parade Committee to offer his help and support.

Vassiliou stressed that the new Board is ready to prepare for the Greek parade of 2024. “We have new energy now because we have new members, and we hope to be supported. Our motto from the beginning was, ‘Together we can’, because the Parade is for Hellenism as a whole” she emphasized.

Also present at the blessing and swearing-in was the former Mayor of Tarpon Springs, Chris Alahouzos, who recently came back from Kalymnos, where he will henceforth be involved in Greek politics. Alahouzos said that the Parade Committee was under the successful presidency of Costas Sisois for many years and noted that he is succeeded by Efi Vassiliou, of whom he said she will also offer her services and do her best. He also offered best wishes to the new Board and praised the Pan-Hellenic Cultural Center of Florida, ‘Prometheus,’ expressing his love and support for it.

The elections for the new Board took place on November 15, when Vassiliou prevailed over Angelos Angelatos in the second round.

(Some names have been transliterated from Greek)

 

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