FALLS CHURCH, VA – Freedom! On March 25, 1821, the war of Greek Independence started, initiating a revolt against the Ottoman Turks. On March 25, 2023, the Saint Katherine Hellenic Education Center (HEC) in Falls Church, VA, consisting of the Greek School and Paideia Preschool, led the community in commemorating this historic event.
The community was blessed to have the diplomatic and military delegations from the Greek and Cypriot Embassies in Washington, DC, in attendance. Those represented included Greek Embassy Consul Nektarios Vasilakis, and George Loizou, Political Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus. Also present were Nick Larigakis, President and CEO of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and George Vassilopoulos, President of AHEPA Chapter 438.
The day’s festivities started with the Divine Liturgy led by Saint Katherine’s presiding priest Fr. Konstantinos Pavlakos celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos. Following church services, Vasilakis, Loizou, Larigakis, and Vassilopoulos gave stirring speeches recognizing the tremendous efforts that the teachers, parents, and children make in continuing Greek education.
Under the direction of Stavroula Skrepetou (HEC Greek School Principal) and Evi Tzanavara (HEC Paideia School Principal), the students presented songs, poems, marched like Evzones, performed traditional dances, and highlighted the importance of the ‘Krifa Scholia’ to maintain Greek language under the persecution of the Ottoman Turks. On display were impressive class projects that the children prepared as part of a campaign started by the Greek School entitled ‘The Revolution of 1821 through the eyes of the students.”
To conclude the ceremony, the children of the Byzantio Greek Dance and Cultural Arts Program, led by Directors Aris and Anna Yortzidis, performed traditional Greek folk dances of Thrace and Cephalonia, ending the program with a musical flair.
This amazing event would make the Greek diaspora proud! ZHTO H ELLAS!