27 March, 2006
The Greek diaspora in countries throughout the world celebrated the anniversary of Greek Independence Day on March 25 with events, parades and Church services to mark the coinciding feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.
Among the largest were those organized by the Greek-American community in New York, which were also attended by several Greek government officials that are currently visiting the United States, twin events organized by Greek-Australian communities in Sydney and Adelaide, as well as in Toronto and Montreal in Canada, which also coincided with the 100th anniversary since the foundation of Montreal's Greek Community. In Melbourne, where there is also a very large Greek community, the parade and celebration for Independence Day have been postponed until April 2.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who had been in the United States since Thursday on an official visit, was the key speaker after the service held at the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin in west Manhattan on Saturday, stressing that the anniversary would always carry special symbolism for the historic course of the Greek nation and that the same unity and solidarity was still needed today.
Noting that March 25 was the anniversary of the "foremost event in Greek history", as well as a major religious holiday, Bakoyannis said that Greeks honored those who sacrificed themselves for freedom, justice and respect for humanitarian values - the values that define modern civilization - as well as the friends of Greece, who inspired by the same ideals fought for the freedom and independence of the Greeks.
The Greek minister also underlined the major role played by Greeks abroad in this independence struggle, helping to cultivate the philhellenic movement that supported Greece fight for independence and the modern Greek State, while noting that the Greek-American community had always been one of the most important sections of the Greek diaspora.
Finally, she conveyed the best wishes of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for the community's "health, prosperity and strength".
The service was carried out by Archbishop of America Demetrios and was attended by Greek Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias, who is also on a visit to America, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, who accompanied Bakoyannis on her trip, in addition to Greek officials stationed in New York.
Source: Athens News Agency