HARTFORD, CT – Greek Independence Day was celebrated at the Connecticut State Capital in Hartford on March 25. Connecticut State Representative Themis Klarides served as the Master of Ceremony and was joined by her sister, Nicole Klarides-Ditria, also a Connecticut State Representative, as a speaker in the program. The Klarides sisters are the first two sisters serving simultaneously as State Representatives in the history of the State Legislature.
Themis was elected in 2018 to her 11th term, and following the statewide elections was unanimously chosen for the third time as Republican House Leader by her Republican colleagues, the first female to ever hold the position. Her sister, Nicole, was also re-elected in 2018, and is now serving her second term. Themis and Nicole are the granddaughters of Greek immigrants, and grew up in a prominent Greek family in Seymour, CT, that ran two well-known supermarkets.
Amongst the numerous Greek-American organizations represented, Attorney Gregory J. Stamos, Past Supreme Counselor of the Order of AHEPA and President of the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut, represented both AHEPA and the Connecticut Greek attorneys and noted that the missions of both organizations encompassed the values so valiantly fought for by the Greeks asserting their independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821; liberty, religious freedom, and self-determination. Stamos and the Klarides sisters grew up together in Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Ansonia, CT, a small parish that has now been merged with and been absorbed into St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Orange, CT.
All of the speakers lavished praise and appreciation upon Ilias Tomazos, the President of Hellenic Society Paideia and the Hellenic Studies Center at the University of Connecticut (UConn), who once again served as the organizer behind this celebration at the Connecticut State Capital. In particular, Professor Tomazos’ extraordinary leadership was extolled by Chris Skabardonis, President of the Pan-Gregorian Association, which has served as a major financial supporter of the Hellenic Studies Center at UConn for many years.