By Nick Stamatakis

At a special event held by the Federation of Hellenic Societies of NY at the parish of Archangel Michael of Port Washington, the younger generation of our community rose to the occasion, showing just a tiny part of their skills and abilities… It was supposed to be one of the Panomogeniaki meetings in preparation for the Parade that this year are occasionally being held away from Astoria to involve a more significant part of the community in the parade.

The event started with a blessing from Fr. John Lardas, who welcomed the participants to the beautiful Church.  Peter Gerazounis, a longtime parish member and president of “Panchiaki Korais Society,” made a well-balanced presentation about the Massacre of Chios in 1822, a momentous historical event with far-reaching effects.  It was an absolute catastrophe for Chios, with most inhabitants of the beautiful island killed, sold as slaves, or forced to emigrate… But at the same time, it gave rise to a wave of Philhellenism worldwide, without which we are not sure whether the Greek Revolution of 1821 would be successful. The event is said by historians to have even sparked the struggle against slavery in the young United States!

Peter Gerazounis’ presentation was impressive and effective and left us wondering whether it may be a good idea for the Korais Society to invest in making a professional historical video of the historical event possibly to be shown on tv or social media with multiple goals: commemoration, awareness of the Turkish threat across the channel, even promotion of Chios globally as a tourist destination.

Nikki Gonias, who followed Peter Gerazounis, gave a moving presentation of what it meant to her growing up Greek in a tight-knit family in the community of Saint Markella on Long Island. Her story is typical of a Greek family upbringing in New York, overflowing with love for community and Greece – and complete with annual pilgrimages to the beloved Chios…  Ms. Gonias is an accomplished educational administrator in Nassau County, just a few steps away from her doctorate… It was quite refreshing listening to her – this is precisely the kind of people the Federation and our Community needs if we are to have a better future.  I sincerely hope to see Nikki Gonias appear again at the functions of the Federation or any other community event.

Finally, the evening close with a shortened update by the Parade Committee regarding the progress made toward the Parade.  Philip Christopher was away, but Dimos Siokis, Dimitris Gonias, Nick Bardis, and Nomiki Kastana, as co-chairpersons, updated us on the progress… It seems all is going well, but we still need to collect the funds for the Hilton event, the breakfast at Pierre, and the rest.  The Archbishop still needs to clarify why he favors one national symbol, the Evzones, but refuses to install a Greek and an American Flag in front of Saint Nicholas.  And the Evzones Committee needs to explain why they did not use the Federation’s name and letterhead for their operation: This is not an Archdiocese event but a Federation event. We expect them to come out and clarify these simple things….





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