President Biden will host the traditional Greek Independence Day reception at the White House on Wednesday.
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America will represent the Greek-American community along with hundreds of Greeks and Greek Americans who will attend the event to honor the men and women who fought for Greece’s independence against the Ottomans, as well as celebrating the bond between the U.S. and Greece.
The annual reception for Greek Independence Day this year returns to the White House in its traditional form, having been postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and held virtually in 2021.
In 2022, the event was rescheduled for May to coincide with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ official visit to the US capital.
Prior to the joint statements, Elpidophoros will have a private meeting with US President Joe Biden, during which he is expected to seek support for a range of critical issues including the Aegean, Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Biden honors Greek Revolution
Elpidophoros told the Athens-Macedononia News Agency: “I will thank [President Biden] for the honor that the American administration is doing once again, honoring the Greek Revolution and the Greek nation and culture, but also our church, the Holy Archdiocese of America.
“And I will ask him to continue the American policy of always being on the side of not only the Greek issues in Greece, the Aegean, Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean but also to support our Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
As part of the celebration of the Greek Revolution, the State Department’s chief of protocol hosted a dinner Tuesday night in honor of America’s Archbishop at the White House presidential guest house (Blair House).
The dinner was attended by American legislators, the ambassador of Greece to the USA, Alexandra Papadopoulou, the Cypriot ambassador, Marios Lysiotis, the ambassador of the United States to Greece, George Tsunis, as well as prominent members of the Greek-American community.
“It is an honor to be here at the presidential guest house for a dinner in honor of the 202nd anniversary of Greek Independence,” Ambassador Tsunis said.
“The United States was founded on the principles and ideals established in Greece, democracy being the most important of them. Our two countries share a sacred responsibility to protect democracy. The relationship between the US and Greece has never been better and contributes to peace and stability in the region.
“Greece is clearly an indispensable ally of the United States and (the two countries) always act with principle and are always on the right side of history,” Ambassador Tsunis added.
White House reception on Greek Independence started in 1986
The White House celebration of Greek Independence was first started by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 with the help of Father Alex Karloutsos, Tom Korologos and Andy Manatos and has become a White House tradition ever since.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden issued a proclamation marking Greek Independence Day on March 25 as “A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy.”
The proclamation, announced by the White House, celebrated the historical ties between Greece and the US. In particular, the proclamation stressed the strong influences of ancient Athenian democracy on the formation of the newly independent American state in the 18th century.