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General News

The Societies of Epirotes and Northern Epirotes Celebrated a Double Anniversary

ASTORIA – More than 80 members and friends of the Epirus and Northern Epirus Societies attended the celebration of the double anniversary of the liberation of Ioannina and the autonomy of Northern Epirus, which took place at the ‘Epirotiko Spiti’ in Astoria on February 25.

The historic events, the Liberation of Ioannina from the Ottoman yoke, which took place on February 21, 1913, and the declaration of the autonomy of Northern Epirus, which took place on February 17, 1914, were commemorated in a celebration co-organized by the Society of Epirotes ‘Anagenesis’ and Society of Northern Epirotes ‘Pyrros’ as well as the Ladies Auxiliary ‘Souliotissai’ and Ladies Society ‘Daughters of Epirus’, in collaboration with the Panepirotic Federation of America.

The program began with the Doxology at St. Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria which was followed by a meal served by the Ladies Auxiliary ‘Souliotissai’ at the ‘Epirotiko Spiti’. Society of Epirotes ‘Anagenesis’ President Chris Pantazis welcomed the attendees, expressing his satisfaction with the turnout and also referring to the importance of the two anniversaries.

He then presented a scholarship to Stony Brook University freshman Alex Bogdani, who is studying Biomedical Engineering and whose mother is an active member of the Society of Epirotes.

“It is very important that we gave the scholarship to Alex Bogdani, whose mother is a member of the Society. We would like to wish him the best in his studies and hope that when he graduates, he will not forget our Society,” said Pantazis.

Of particular interest was the speech presented by the professor-researcher Dr. Theodoros Karnavas, who has special ties to Epirus, as a graduate of the University of Ioannina. Dr. Karnavas’ speech focused on the two historic anniversaries, in light of the current situation and the developments in the wider region.

Left to right: Chris Pantazis, Stavros Ziongas, Timoleon Ziogkas, Alex Bogdani, Dr. Theodoros Karnavas, and Demetra Varsami at the event on February 25 at the ‘Epirotiko Spiti’. Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos

“Today’s juncture finds us in a world which is rapidly changing with intense rivalries and, in this context, which is even more intense in our own sensitive and unstable region, which stretches from the Black Sea, from the shores of Ukraine up to the Arabian peninsula, where we see this instability,” Dr. Karnavas told The National Herald, adding that in the midst of the current situation, the preservation of the native populations in their homes is a key point of reference.

“In this context, the issue of national identity and the preservation of indigenous populations in their homes becomes particularly important. In particular for the Hellenism of Northern Epirus, remaining and developing in its primordial roots acquires a significant interest and, at the same time, acquires a guarantee of a bridge and cooperation between the two peoples, Greece and Albania,” concluded Dr. Karnavas.

A special tone was also given by the participation of the Polyphonic of the Academy of Hellenic Paideia, with the recitation of poems and the performance of the song ‘Kane Kouragio Ellada Mou’ (‘Take Courage Greece’), by the composer Mihalis Souyoul, with lyrics by Mimi Traiforos.

“The fact that we had this turnout today, with more than 85 members here, fills us with great satisfaction,” said Pantazis.

Dean of St. Demetrios Cathedral, Fr. Anargyros Stavropoulos, and Archimandrite Gedeon Varytimos were among those present at the event.

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