Philadelphia hosted the first post-pandemic Greek Independence parade honoring the 201st anniversary of the Greek Revolution on March 20.
A large crowd descended on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, sending a strong message of unity and pride from the community. The highlight was the appearance of the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece, marching once again in the parade and receiving thunderous applause from the audience, and inspiring an emotional response from many community members.
The parade concluded with traditional Pontian dances.
The Philadelphia Greek Independence day Parade was the first parade in the world honoring Greek Independence this year and the first parade since the pandemic onset of 2020.
The parade also honored the Centennial of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Centennial of the Order of AHEPA. Among those present were Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou.
Grand Marshal for the parade was Honorary Consul General of Panama in Philadelphia Georgia Athanasopoulos.
The parade was the first in three years
The parade was organized by the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley, an umbrella organization of over 45 Hellenic-American associations, representing thousands of individuals in the Greek community.
“The City of Philadelphia has given its blessing for the parade, our first in three years since the pandemic hit our communities,” stated Dimitrios Rozanitis, Federation President.
“We are excited about marching this year as well as excited about all of the events that will be occurring during that time, including most significantly The Eleftheria and Dignitaries Banquet on March 19, 2022.”
At the Eleftheria and Dignitaries Banquet, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidoforos was honored with a full and deserving slate of others, including AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas and the Daughters of Penelope Grand President Kathy Bizoukas.
Also honored on the evening were Grand Marshal Georgia Athanasopulos, Honorable Consul to Panama in Philadelphia, and George Horiates who received the Federation’s highest honor, the Eleftheria Award.