New York.- By Vicki James Yiannias
Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
More important than words, it is actions to incorporate our rich Hellenic heritage into the lives of coming generations that will make or break the continuation of that legacy. And communication of that heritage is the key. The Pan Arcadian Federation’s contribution to this, the Arcadian Registry Project, the first ever registry of expatriate Arcadians and repatriated Arcadians from the United States living in Greece, holds that promise on many levels.
The just established initiative, the Arcadian Registry Project, launched at the celebratory event,
“General Census of Expatriate Arcadians Living in the USA”, at the Metropolitan Club on April 20,
was introduced by Pan Arcadian Federation president, Andre Papantoniou, who said that the project
“will gather all generations of Arcadians together to promote the ideals of Hellenism, the principles of the Republic, the preservation of the Greek language, our cultural heritage and our Greek Orthodox Church, as well as the support of Arcadian American charitable, cultural and educational institutions.”
The slogans “With Greek roots we flourish in the U.S.A.” and “We count ourselves because we ourselves count” reflect the Arcadian Registry Project’s key motivating concepts. “It’s time to meet, get to know each other, and get to know our roots, our point of reference,” said Papantoniou, noting that “the great Arcadian family” in the United States has already reached the fourth generation and above.
Papantoniou thanked the members of the organizing committee, the representative of the Pan Arcadian Federation of America in Greece, and especially journalist Filippos Sotiropoulos, head of organizing and planning for the Arcadian registry.
His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela gave the inaugural prayer and conveyed the wishes and blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America who was in Constantinople for the work of the Holy Synod. Bishop Sevastianos congratulated the Pan Arcadian Federation for the initiative, which will benefit the next generations by imbuing the youth with “love for their wonderful heritage.” Among the 55 Prefectures of Greece, Arcadia is the first Prefecture to initiate a registry.
Consul General of Greece in New York Dr. Konstantinos Koutras congratulated the Pan Arcadian Federation on how important it is in these difficult days to know that there is a strong Greek community here, and he urged the new generations of Arcadians to “have a say in American politics” and “to continue to support Greece and the strong, historic ties between the two nations.”
“The Arcadian Registry Project aims to make our own contribution to the effort to preserve our cultural heritage for the generations to come,” said George Reveliotis, chairman of the event’s Organizing Committee and former president of the Pan Arcadian Federation. Reveliotis noted that the Pan Arcadian Federation would commemorate the 87th anniversary of its founding on April 22. Co-chair of the Organizing Committee, Stella Demou, Executive Member of the Board of Directors of Demos Pharmaceuticals S.A. in Greece, who traveled to New York specifically for the event, stressed that “it is our duty to continue the work of the pioneers. Arcadia land has endowed us all with the same genes of diligence, ambition and progress.”
Saying that it is exciting for him to talk about his homeland, Arcadia, Mr. Sotiropoulos presented and explained aspects of the new website. As well as creating a network of Arcadians, the website includes the history of the Pan Arcadian Federation of America, and its news. He stressed that while registering as many expatriate and repatriated Arcadians as possible is the goal, the Arcadian Registry Project is a means of increasing participation and communication about events within the community, the country, and internationally, thus providing a key link for the tightening of relations between Greece and the United States.
Co-chair of the Organizing Committee and former Pan Arcadian Federation president, Dr. George Kallins of Los Angeles, who was present with his son Dimitris, spoke about the importance of knowing one’s place of origin and cultural heritage.
Midwestern and East and West coast members of the Pan Arcadian Federation of America and other interested parties attended the event. The spring meeting of the Supreme Council of the Geros tou Morea organization was held two days later at Arcadian House in Long Island City.
The Pan Arcadian Federation website makes clear the goal of Arcadian cohesiveness: “This general census is necessary to get acquainted and know how many of us there are in the United States, to draw strength from our roots and our lineage, to be useful and make creative interventions for the USA, Greece and Arcadia, to help each other and realize our plans and visions. No matter the distance between us, no matter how many generations have come into their own away from our homeland, Arcadia is our common ground! There is strength in numbers! We are stronger together than apart.”