New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
As we honour and commemorate this historic milestone, Cyprus, still being under Turkish military occupation, recalls the Revolution’s ideas of freedom and independence in our tireless efforts to reach a comprehensive and lasting settlement on the Cyprus problem, the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades said, in a pre-recorded message that was presented during the main event of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, for the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution.
The commemorative event took place at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Manhattan, followed a doxology presided by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. The event is broadcasted worldwide.
“The 1821 struggle for Independence constitutes one of the most important chapters in the Greek modern history, and the bicentennial is a fitting occasion to honour the sacrifices of its people. Heroic sacrifices based on the vision of uniting and freeing Greece from the slavery, oppression and tyranny they were suffering due to the Ottoman rule,” President Anastasiades said.
He pointed out that fighting with courage and heroism, the Greeks succeeded to establish their own independent state, which proved a milestone in both European and world history as it inspired other nations to arise in pursuit of their independence.
“It would amiss on my behalf if I failed to acknowledge the catalytic role of the Greek Orthodox Church through preserving our national identity, language and religion and aiding in every possible way the nation’s uprising against the Ottoman oppressor”, he said, paying special tribute to Greeks of the Diaspora, who initiated the founding of Filiki Eteria in 1814, that envisioned a truly independent homeland, free from the Ottoman occupation.
President Anastasiades also paid tribute to the small, but highly symbolic role of Cyprus, which at the time also suffered from the Ottoman oppression, in support of our Greek brothers.
“More than one thousand Greek Cypriots, heroically fought alongside the Greeks, whilst thousands strongly supported the cause, secretly providing much needed supplies and aid”, the President of the Republic said, describing the severe oppressive measures and the execution of many Greek Cypriots by the Ottomans, among them the religious leader of the Cypriot Orthodox Church, Archbishop Kyprianos.
In concluding, after he noted the influence of the ideals of the Greek Revolution to the efforts to reach a comprehensive and lasting settlement on the Cyprus problem, president Anastasiades stressed that “having as a legacy this exact vision of our Greek brothers, I wish to assure that we will continue our struggle so as to establish a truly modern and independent homeland, free from foreign dependencies.”
Greetings at the event were offered by the U.S President Joe Biden, Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Greek American public official from all the United States, Archdiocesan Council Vice President John Catsimatidis, AHEPA Supreme President George Horiates and PFEIZER CEO Albert Bourlas.
The program – presented by the ABC anchorman George Stefanopoulos –
– provided historic video narrated by award-winning actor Dennis Boutsikaris and musical presentations by Karolina Pilou, Principal Artist at The Metropolitan Opera of New York, Stefanos Koroneos, International Baritone and Artistic Director of Teatro Grattacielo, The New York Notables Trio, and the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir.
In his recorded message, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was blessed by lifelong friendships in the Greek-American community. President Biden paid tribue to late Senator Paul Sarbanes, calling him a great leader, who has significantly defended in Greece in every way.
U.S. – relations with Greece will be stronger than ever during my administration, he said, promising to further enhance the ties and push forward our common interests, Biden said.
President Biden has sent his greetings to Archbishop Elpidophoros, who, he met in Summer 2019 in the Community of Southampton, while visiting with Fr. Alex Karloutsos.
“I found inspiration, and courage and principal leadership at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which has long fought for social justice, going back to the days of standing with Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement, supporting Black Lives Matters protesters, demanding justice for George Floyd. The Greek-American community is defined by courage, decency, and honor”, President Biden said.