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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Greek Education Societies Hold 200th Anniversary of Greek Revolution

Catherine Tsounis
Catherine Tsounis
Contributing Editor The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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 “We are celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence to reunite, come together, and socialize after the devastating quarantine of the pandemic,” said Vasiliki Filiotis, President of the Hellenic Paideia of America, Inc. “We have a rich program with music, virtual program communication scholars and prominent persons in Greece, honoring persons who have added to the community’s quality of life, recognizing college and graduate students for their exceptional progress, major greetings and addresses from prominent people in the community and a free dinner of Greek cuisine.” Mrs. Filiotis inspired community leaders to present an uplifting program.
A unique event was hosted Sunday, November 7, 2021, by the Hellenic Paideia of America Mrs. Stella Kokolis President of the Federation of Hellenic American Educators and Cultural Associations of America, President Meropi Kyriakou, President of Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” at the Minos Kritiko Spiti in at 32-23 33rd Street, Astoria, NY.

Organizers, Vasiliki Filiotis, President of the Hellenic Paideia of America, Inc. (left o right), Mrs. Stella Kokolis President of the Federation of Hellenic American Educators and Cultural Associations of America, President Meropi Kyriakou, President of Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus

“The 200th Anniversary of the 1821 Greek Revolution: Honoring the Memory of the Heroes of 1821” was exceptional. The Program and Honorees included: Protopresbyter FR. Telemachos Stamkopoulos,prayer; American and Greek national anthems sung by Rafanlia; Greetings by Mrs. Vasiliki Filiotis, President of Hellenic Paideia of America: Mrs. Stella Kokolis President of the Federation of Hellenic American Educators and Cultural Associations of America, President Meropi Kyriakou, President of Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus”, Consul Dimitris Papageorgiou of the New York Hellenic General Consulate, Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis, representative of Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11); Zeta Makri, Greece Department of Education and Religion; The General Secretary of Hellenes Abroad and Public Diplomacy Giannis Chrysoulakis; Sofia Zaharaki,  Deputy Minister of Tourism · Government of the Hellenic Republic; Alexandros Komtsi, of Education Department of Greece and Cyprus; virtual presentation on Filiki Eteria Museum of Odessa, Ukraine by Prof. Giorgos Alevra of The University of Western Macedonia, Eirini Grapsia, Journal editor; educator Angeliki Vourna on “Highlights of the 1821 Greek Revolution” and others This is an incomplete list of the program. For a more accurate description, please contact Mrs. Stella Kokolis at 917 744-9226 and 718 844-0902.
Outstanding persons and students from all fields were honored for their contribution to the community. The honorees included:  Protopresbyter FR. Telemachos Stamkopoulos; Maria Markou, attorney; Eleftheria Ikouta, educator; Maria Kohila-Vlahou, poet; Christos Vournas, economist; Stavroula Tsoutsa, education journalist; Andreas Giakoumis, graduate student; Theofanis Loukatsos (Theo Lukes) college student and Dimitrios Diolitsis, college student.
The keynote speaker was Prof. Giorgos Alevra of the University of Western Macedonia who gave a virtual presentation of the Filiki Eteria Museum in Odesa, Ukraine. “It all began in Odesa, Ukraine,” said Prof Alevras. “Greek merchants Nikolaos Skoufas, Anastasios Sakalof and Emanuel Xanthos started the revolutionary group called Filiki Eteria or Society of Friends in 1814. Museum exhibits of an aristocratic business residence of the 1800’s were shown.

Logo of Greek Revolution group Filiki Eteria, virtual presentation from Filiki Eteria Museum, Odessa, Ukraine, by Prof. Giorgos Alevras

Prof. Alevras explained “The Museum of the Filiki Eteria has been operating since 1979 as part of the Historical and Folk-Art Museum of Odessa. In 1994 the museum moved to its historic location, where the members of the Filiki Eteria (‘Friendly Society’) once met and the HFC is today headquartered. In its new form, the museum was created and organized by the HFC in cooperation with the Historical and Folk-Art Museum of Odessa, which provided the collection of exhibits relating to the Filiki Eteria. It was then supplemented with replicas of exhibits on display from museums in Greece. A new gallery with a focus on folk art was recently inaugurated in the inner courtyard area, featuring authentic artefacts which recreate the appearance of the residence of G.I. Maraslis, owner of the building in the first half of the 19th century.”
Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis drove over 2 ½ hours to support this unique event. “I support President Stella Kokolis and her associates even at the last moment,” said State Sen. Raptakis. “Our best wishes to all Greek-Americans teachers to continue the good work perpetuating the Greek language and cultural heritage.”
 “We learn from the memory of the heroes and heroines of the 1821 Greek revolution, the Greeks and phil-hellenes with their heroism. They sacrificed their lives in their belief of afree and independent Greek nation,” said President Filiotis. “They fought and sacrificed their lives in their faith for Christianity. They successfully fought battles in  the mountains for a free Greece. The 1821 revolution with blood spilt across the soil, showed that a country was willing to fight to be free. The 1821 revolution revealed how the Greeks were slaves for hundreds of years and said enough! We have a responsibility for these people who established a free country. The heroes of 1821 have given us an inheritance that we must remember.
Mrs. Filiotis continue “The Hellenic Paideia Organization’s goal is to encourage Greek-Americans and their friends to speak the Greek language. We must leave an inheritance to the next generation. European culture and civilization, of which our own country is a part, are rooted in ancient Greece. We must transmit to future generations, the knowledge, culture, traditions preserved and passed on to us. The Greek language survives today because it has offered the world a unique contribution. Only the Greek language could communicate the Christian faith in the gospels and St. Paul’s Epistles.
President Stella Kokolis of the Federation of Hellenic-American Educators & Cultural Associations of America said ”it is our duty to nurture the values of the Greek language and culture. Many sacrificed to give us the land of freedom called Greece, our country, the country of the Greek diaspora, the birthplace of democracy that continues to enlighten the world. It is our responsibility as Greek Americans to transmit to the American public that there is more to Greece than democracy and civilization: the exceptional courage and fighting ability of the average man produced the remarkable Greek revolution that transformed Europe. The heroism of the Greek fighting force and civilians impressed the countries of Europe. Many stood by and helped. It is our duty to nurture the values of the Greek language and culture that are rapidly disappearing in the United States.”
Mrs. Meropi Kyriacou, principal of the Cathedral School in New York City said “we thank all of our sponsors and contributors to our journal book. The committee of the historic event and Journal are the following: Stella Kokolis; Vasiliki Filiotis; Eirini Grapsia, Pandora Spelios; Georgia Filiotis; Anastasia Korfiatis, and Marianthi Raptis. Principal Meropi Kyriakou and educator Eleftheria Ikouta were honored as “Educators of the Year”  at the 30th  Hermes Expo Awards Dinner in NJ at the Grand Marquis  Grand Marquis in Old Bridge, NJ  on October 16, 2021.
The business and medical community placed numerous ads in a journal book of over 200 pages. I noticed the ad of Dr. George Liakeas, who I know from a young child. Dr. Liakeas is our miracle of the pandemic. His courage and endurance are an example for all to follow.  Dr. Liakeas said “We are proud of your concerted effort to revitalize Hellenic culture language and education in the United States. Long live the immortal 1821! Long live the Hellenic nation.” Dr. Liakeas is a member of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York and Director of Lexington Medical Associates in New York City.
President Demi Savopoulos, of the Hellenic American Educators Association/UFT,  took three buses to show her support of the 200th Anniversary of the Greek Revolution. She said “ our devotion to the Hellenic principles and ideals is exceptional. We are passing the torch of Hellenism to our next generation.”
Former Principal of St. Demetrios Greek Afternoon Schools Timoleon Kokkinos said “this culture event reunited members of Prometheus Greek Teachers Association. Hellenic culture has stressed paideia from time immemorial,” he believes. “This ancient paideia (education) was the foundation of the greatest civilization the world has ever known.”
Mr. Kokkinos is a founding member of the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus”.  He served as President of “Prometheus” in 1985-86.  Dr. George Melikokis, former principal Principal, St. Demetrios School, Jamaica School explained “the presence of all honors our Hellenic heritage, democratic values and ideas embodied in the 1821 Greek Revolution. Our efforts keep Hellenism alive for the younger generations.” Dr. John Siolas, who presented awards to students commended their study and work of the Greek language and civilization. A homecooked Greek cuisine buffet by the Minos Kritiko Spiti concluded this historical in-person and virtual program.
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