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United States

City of San Jose Celebrates Greek Independence with Flag-Raising Ceremony

SAN JOSE, CA – The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the Daughters of Penelope (DOP), and the Maids of Athena (MOA) commemorated the 202nd Anniversary of Greek Independence with a special Greek Flag Raising Ceremony at San Jose City Hall Plaza on March 22. San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan hosted the ceremony, graciously stepping in for Councilmember Pam Foley of District 9 who usually coordinates this annual celebration.

The event featured distinguished guests, including His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos and His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocaea of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, AHEPA Supreme Governor Region 8 Alexander Mallas, DOP District 21 Governor Alicia Frangos, AHEPA District 21 Governor Chris Frangos, Greek Consulate in San Francisco Economic and Commercial Affairs Officer Daphne Vitsikounaki, and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Cyprus Nicolaos Theophanous.

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan at the Greek Independence celebration on March 22. (Photo: Victoria Panayotopoulos)

His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos addressed the attendees, saying: “It is a joy to be with you to celebrate this important day in our history as Hellenes and as Greek Orthodox Christians. On March 25, 1821, our ancestors stood together after nearly 400 years under Ottoman rule and proclaimed ‘Freedom or Death,’ thus marking the start of the War of Independence and a new beginning for the people of Greece. This was not an event without sacrifice, as thousands of lives were lost, but it was for a good and noble cause, and one that resonates today not just for the people of Greece, but the entire world. Let us remember with great fervor the foundation of our liberty, and let it serve as a wellspring of hope.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos and His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocaea of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco were among the distinguished guests and Greek community members at the Greek Independence celebration hosted by San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan on March 22. (Photo: Victoria Panayotopoulos)

To commemorate Greek Independence Day, Mayor Mahan was joined by Councilmembers Arjun Batra, Rosemary Kamei, and Bien Doan who presented the proclamation signed by the full council in honor of the occasion. As a further tribute, San Jose City Hall’s iconic glass rotunda and tower are being illuminated in the colors of the Greek flag for seven days. This symbolic gesture serves to celebrate and recognize the importance of Greek heritage within the community. Let us remember with great fervor the foundation of our liberty, and let it serve as a wellspring of hope.

Although Councilmember Foley was unable to host the event this year, she expressed her excitement for the annual ceremony, saying: “The Greek-American community makes San José a stronger city with a more vibrant culture by adding Greek restaurants, churches, art exhibits, festivals, and bringing honorable values and ideals into our society.”

Distinguished local Greek-Americans attending included AHEPA Silicon Valley Chapter 251 President and Past District 21 Governor Dr. George Zioulas, DOP Daphne Chpter #29 President Joanna Dunn, and Maids of Athena Ismene Chapter #163 President Marianna Frangides.

A flag-raising ceremony was held at San Jose City Hall Plaza on March 22 in honor of Greek Independence Day. (Photo: Victoria Panayotopoulos)

“On behalf of the Order of AHEPA family of District #21 and Reno, I would like to thank Mayor Mahan, Councilmember Foley, and the City of San Jose for the proclamation recognizing Greek Independence Day, and for flying the Greek flag outside City Hall. It was a very inspiring event and continues the tradition of recognizing the sacrifices of our Greek forefathers,” said Chris Frangos.

“Acknowledging Greek Independence Day is a significant tribute to our cultural legacy,” remarked Alicia Frangos who was unable to attend and sent Linda Belba, DOP Past District 21 Governor, on her behalf. “As Greek-Americans, we take immense pride in the fact that our forefathers led the charge for democracy. We respect and pay homage to their determination and sacrifice in paving the way for the freedom of the modern Greek nation.”

Maids of Athena President Frangides added: “Celebrating Greek Independence Day through community events is important in remembering our heritage and nurturing a deeper appreciation for our local communities.”

San Jose City Hall’s iconic glass rotunda and tower are being illuminated in the colors of the Greek flag for seven days in honor of Greek Independence Day. (Photo: Victoria Panayotopoulos)

The Greek Orthodox community was well-represented at the ceremony, with Reverend Fr. Nebojsa Pantic and a sizeable group of parishioners from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in San Jose in attendance. Adding to the celebratory atmosphere, a group of talented St. Nicholas dancers showcased traditional Greek folk dances, delighting the audience with their graceful movements.

“We dance in honor of those who fought for our freedom and those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Sofia Nicolaou, Vivian Tavernakis, and Angeliki Pries, members of the Saint Nicholas Dance Ministry Council. “Through our dance, we carry on the legacy of our ancestors and pass on our cultural heritage to future generations.”

Dancers from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in San Jose performed traditional Greek folk dances at the Greek Independence celebration. (Photo: Victoria Panayotopoulos)

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