By Nick Stamatakis
Last night’s meeting at St.Constantine & Helen Church in Downtown Brooklyn surely could have attracted more participants from the populous Greek American community of “Kings County.” The novelty of the situation and the lack of sufficient preparation did not help. The few participants, however, had the opportunity to witness more progress on all fronts of the parade preparations and to hear exciting dialogues that are bound to leave their mark on the character of the parade in this and future years.
Here are some of the news:
- Fundraising for all events, especially the Hilton Gala, made excellent progress, with more tables reserved and paid for. We are still a long way from the goal of fifty tables, but you could taste the confidence in the air.
- There will be a meeting next Tuesday, April 4, at 7.30 pm at Saint George of Piscataway in New Jersey. The New Jersey Federation and all parishes are expected to participate and contribute to the effort.
- There will be a Greek Parade Party tonight at Melrose Penthouse in Astoria.
- More participants are needed for the Miss Independence Pageant.
The Confusion With the National Symbols: the Evzones, and the Flags
But the excitement came out of Fr. Evagoras (Konstantinides), the host of last night’s meeting, who wanted to clarify the role of the Evzones in the Parade in connection with the Archbishop’s Participation. Fr. Evagoras, after giving more specific details on the Evzones program, explicitly addressed the issues that Helleniscope had raised and talked about the procession from Saint Nicholas to Bowling Green. He explained that it was never the intention to have the Archbishop walk alone with the Evzones in the busy streets of downtown Manhattan but to form a more extensive procession with Schools, Police, and possibly the Mayor, Eric Adams.
Then yours truly, Helleniscope, spoke and explained that our issue was never the procession… We appreciated the recent emphasis of the Archbishop on our National symbols. For example, last Wednesday, GOA distributed a lapel pin with the Greek and American flags to all participants at the White House reception. Why, then the Archbishop refuses to keep his promise and install two flagpoles outside St.Nicholas? He will accept our premier national symbol, the Evzones, at Saint Nicholas for a Doxology but refuses to have the flags outside the Church. This does not make sense. If Port Authority is the problem, Governor Hochul could solve it in a few minutes. Did he speak to Mrs. Hochul when he saw her at Albany last week?
At this point, Fr. Evagoras refused to answer, saying this is a different issue unrelated to the parade… Philip Christopher also conceded that this question better be left for later…
I want to remind everyone that at an unsuspecting moment former AB Demetrios was asked. He explained that there was no legal issue with the Port Authority’s role in Saint Nicholas, nothing in the “contract with the Port Authority” is an obstacle.
Later, Helleniscope also raised the issue of “who invited the Evzones”. Fr. Evagoras and Costas Ouranitsas compose the Federation’s “Evzones Committee”. Whose letterhead was used for the invitation? The Archdiocese’s or the Federation’s? “Both”, jumped in Philip Christopher… “Then can we have the copies to publish?” I asked. “Sure, talk to Mr. Papagermanos, the Federation’s secretary”, said Philip Christopher. And so I did, and we are waiting for the invitation letters… The Federation has always been responsible for the Evzones. The fact that the Archdiocese agreed to pay the expenses (in essence, to “fundraise”) does not mean they will be responsible for the invitation and the whole organization of their presence in NY. We have many donors and contributors in the Parade but they have little say in the organization.
Later on, George Georgopoulos asked why the Federation was not invited to the White House Reception. The answer was that the “power struggle” within the Federation does not allow such invitations. Well, it seemed last night that this power struggle has diminished and that the two sides are ready for a compromise.
The meeting closed with an extensive discussion about the slogans about Greece, Cyprus, and Hellenism and their specific use during the parade, on floats, along the sidewalk, and on any other occasion. Helleniscope has put together and published the slogans and, in general they are well-liked, if I judge from the comments I have been hearing. All last night’s participants have indeed agreed on at least one major thing: that a significant function of the parade is to promote general political and other issues our community holds close at heart: The Parthenon Marbles, the Cyprus issue, Hellenic Genocides, Hagia Sophia, The Name of Macedonia, the Greek minority in Northern Epirus/Albania and so on.
And this brings me to my last point: The Archbishop is the least appropriate person to promote such issues. Why? Because most of these issues have to do with Turkey. GOA is directly under the Patriarchate; unfortunately, the Patriarchate is a “Turkish Religious Institution.” Last year the Turks turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Someone who the Turks constantly blackmail CANNOT promote these issues of Greece and Cyprus. When the Archbishop presents himself as an “Ethnarch” and talks to Pres. Biden as a leader of our community, as he did this week, HE DOES A DIS-SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY.
I rest my case.
I was not present in Brooklyn but I was
at the Archangel Michael’s meeting and
I felt the HOPE to fly during the meeting.
The hope for me was the few but very brave young People that they devote their
time to the Greek causes.
Peter Gerazounis , Dimitri Gonias, Niki Gonias , Zervoudis and others whom I do not know there names made me feeling
the wind of hope.
I believe that we the old generation we must step back and let them take the
initiation for a completely new movement
in order to regain what we lost under the
We are going to play the roll of the advisors
every time they will ask us to offer it.
The President of Panchiaki Korais made
a tremendous presentation of the massacre of Chios
with slights and live explanation of the history.
Peter Gerazounis is a rising star and both Korais and Homogeneia
have future. His father will be very proud of him.
Although the attendance was not so grate the night was nice and
the welcome of the Comunity was very warm and we thank them for
hosting the meeting with coffee and mezedamia.
In appreciation Korais donated $500.00.
The idea of spreading the meetings out of Astoria I believe
is very helpful , because more people will getting familiar with the
preparation and the meaning of Our Independence Parade.
They were only 25 people! Too much enthusiasm!! Let me laugh! All of them are unethical and their intention is not the good of Greece and the community but their pocket! Thank you Helleniscope for informing us. I am reading your articles as much as I can.