Greek Independence Celebration at Rhode Island State House

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis andthe Newport Hellenic communityhosted a celebration of Greek Independence at the Rhode Island State House, on March 20.  It was the 26th consecutive celebration of the event, which included theConsul Generalof the Hellenic Republic Stratos Efthymiou who met with Rhode Island Senate President Domenic Ruggerio and other state officials.

Following the ceremonies in the Senate chamber, a program was held in the Governor’s State Room, with remarks offered by Consul General Efthymiou, and keynote speaker Commander Aristotelis Varsamidis of the Hellenic Navy, attending the Newport Naval War College.

Also speaking were Rhode Island, Lt. Governor Daniel McKee, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and President of Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England, Vasilis Kafkas. Other notable Rhode Islanders of Greek descent attendedthe  festivities included East Providence School Committee member Charles Tsonis and Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements, who is from a Greek descent from the island of Samos.

Letters of congratulations from all the members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegationincluded U.S. Senator Jack Reed were read by State Senator Leonidas Raptakis.This year’sco-Emcee was Newport’s St SpyridonGreek Orthodox Church Parish Council President Dr. Cosmas  Haralambidis.

This event is always a wonderful expression of our strong Hellenic community in Rhode Island and the strong connection between this state, known for its commitment to independence, and the nation which was the birthplace of democracy,” said Raptakis.  “I want to thank Senate PresidentDomenic Ruggerio and all of the general officerswho attended  once again, coming together in the Rhode Island State House to take part in this special celebration including the many Hellenes, who participated from Connecticut, and Massachusetts.”

As part of the main program in the Governor’s State Room, Fr. John Afendoulis of St. Spyridon

delivered both the invocation and the benediction while the audience joined together to sing the national anthems of the United states and the Hellenic Republic.Fr. Andrew George of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Cranston and retired Rev. Dr. George Economou also took part in the program. Children from all three Greek Orthodox parishes made their individual presentations of poems and sang together “Listen Macedonians.”

Βoth the Rhode Island House and Senate passed resolutions commemorating the Feast of the Annunciation and the 197th Anniversary of Greece’s independence and highlighting the continuing bonds between both the United States and Greece.


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