NEW YORK – On June 2, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America offered a prayer at Gracie Mansion during the Greek Heritage Reception, hosted by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, on the occasion of the Greek Independence Day Parade. During the reception, Mayor Adams expressed his gratitude to the Greek-American community for its contributions, both to the development of New York City and to his personal journey in public office.
In his remarks, Archbishop Elpidophoros said: “As you know, Greeks have been a part of the fabric of New York City for generations – from the earliest immigrants, who passed under the shadow of Lady Liberty through the gates of Ellis Island, to the amazing band of entrepreneurs, who have filled New York at every level of civil and social life.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros also thanked Mayor Adams for hosting the reception stating: “On behalf of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America I would like to express to you our deepest thanks and abiding appreciation for your recognition of our Greek heritage in this centennial year of our Sacred Archdiocese, as the preeminent Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.”
This year’s Parade includes the Presidential Guard, the Evzones, from Greece. The parade celebrates not only Greek Independence Day, but also the 201st Anniversary of the Hellenic Republic and the 100th Anniversary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Following the reception at Gracie Mansion, Archbishop Elpidophoros attended a meeting at the Stathakion in Astoria where organizers of the Parade officially welcomed the Evzones.
The New York City Greek Independence Day Parade resumes this year after being cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Adams, who a few weeks ago had caused dissatisfaction among many community members with his presence at the Turkish-American parade, praised the Greeks, emphasizing that he looks forward to parading with them, next to people he considers his friends. He also characterized New York as “the Athens of America,” as it is the most populous Greek community in the USA.
Adams made a special mention of Archbishop Elpidophoros’ presence at last year’s anti-racism march in Brooklyn. Also among the speakers at the event were New York City Council Member Joe Borelli and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. In fact, Rep. Maloney in her remarks referred to Greek-Turkish relations, asking “when will Turkey learn that the Greek sea and the Greek islands belong to Greece?”
Adams also honored Fr. Eugene Pappas, AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas, acting commissioner of New York City’s Department of Buildings Gus Sirakis, Stella Pantelidis (received on her behalf by Zoe Koutsoupakis), and Stelios Taketzis (received on his behalf by Ioanna Giannopoulou).