His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Sen. Raptakis and RI’s Hellenic community celebrate the 201st anniversary of Greek Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation at the State House
The state’s Congressional delegation sent letters, and Erin Arcan, representing United States Senator Jack Reed, read a congratulatory greeting. This year’s co-emcee was Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church parishioner Dr. Savvas Rougas.
“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 the Senate and House for hosting this event, passing resolutions during their sessions yesterday, and consistently supporting Hellenic issues over the years. I am grateful to all of the legislators and general officers who attended again this year, 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. Our community shares in the values of Greece.”
As part of the main program in the Governor’s State Room, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America (Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America) delivered the invocation and benediction. Father Andrew George and Father Nicholas Lanzourakis from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Cranston, Father Philip Zymaris of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Pawtucket, along with Father George Economou, participated in the program. The audience joined together to sing the national anthems of the United States and the Hellenic Republic.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Greek Language teachers Koula Rougas and Ioanna Andreopoulou, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church teachers Panayiota Vastis, Stavroula Papavasileiou and Sophia Augoustakis, and St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church teachers Eleni Anagnostopoulos and Loula Eliopoulos facilitated the children’s program from their respective communities.
From the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Cranston, students Mary Koushiappas and Michael Koushiappas recited the poem “My Country” and students Konstantinos Marantidis, Agoritsa Liakos, Alexander Taxiarchos and Konstantinos Rougas recited the poem “The Annunciation of Virgin Mary and Freedom.”
From the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Pawtucket, students Theodore Cambos, Haralambos Papavasileiou, Andreas Dokos and Euaggelos Dokos recited the poem “By My Flag” and students Gabriella Plezia, Alexa Plezia recited the poem “Bouboulina.”
From St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Newport, student Mihalis Haralambidis recited the poem “The Flag” and student Melina Johnson sang “Greek Flag Carassed by the Wind of Liberty.”
Children from all three Greek Orthodox parishes sang together the song “O Thourios” for His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros.
Both the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions commemorating the Feast of the Annunciation and the 201st Anniversary of Greece’s independence and highlighting the continuing bonds between both the United States and Greece. Most importantly, the resolution recognized the continuing support by the United States to the people of Greece, especially during the economic crisis that has plagued the country the last several years, and the expanding economic, energy partnership and military cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean. A reception, sponsored by the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, was held in Cranston following the program at the Statehouse.
The Rhode Island Statehouse dome was lit up in Greece’s blue and white national colors, as was Interstate Route 95 Pawtucket Bridge and the Sakonnet River Bridge for the entire week.
The ceremony was recorded by Capitol Television and can be viewed here.
The resolution can be found here.