Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Cranston, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, and the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, Newport, hosted celebrations throughout Rhode Island and at the State House, bringing together state leaders and members of the Hellenic community to recognize the 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence.
This is a tradition that was started in 1993 by Senator Raptakis, postponed last year due to COVID-19, and resumed once again this year on March 23 at Rhode Island College where the Rhode Island State Senate is holding its sessions. The invocation was given by Father Philip Zymaris of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of Pawtucket and there was a reading of Senate Resolution S-694, which was introduced by Senator Raptakis and signed by all thirty-eight State Senators. Maria Koukoutsi, Vice Consul General of Greece in Boston addressed the Senate, and also in attendance was Major Nicholas Stratikis of the Hellenic Ministry of Defense.
On the morning of March 25, flag raising and greeting ceremonies commenced in five Rhode Island cities and for the first time at East Providence City Hall hosted by Mayor Roberto DaSilva and Charles Tsonos of the East Providence School Committee. The mayor presented a proclamation honoring the Greek community of the city and recognized School Committee Member Tsonos and Senator Raptakis on their efforts to share the meaning of the 200th anniversary of the declaration of Greece’s independence. From the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, Evan Dokos read a poem honoring Greece’s Independence at East Providence City Hall.
The traditional annual events commenced at 12 Noon at Pawtucket City Hall hosted by Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, Newport City Hall by Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, and then, later in the afternoon, at Cranston City Hall by Mayor Kenneth Hopkins. All three mayors gave greetings and presented proclamations to their host Greek Orthodox parishes highlighting the important contributions of the Hellenic communities and historic bonds within their cities. At Newport City Hall, Senator Dawn Euer read portions of the Senate Resolution S-694 and Captain Spyridon Pollatos of the Hellenic Navy addressed the attendees. Melina Johnson sang a poem in a solo performance honoring the Greek flag and many children participated in reciting poems and songs about the Greek Revolution.
Throughout the day, Greece’s national flag was also flown atop the Rhode Island Statehouse building and at Providence City Hall by Mayor Jorge Elorza. At the Veterans Auditorium, where the Rhode Island House of Representatives met, Father Aaron Walker of St. Spyridon Church gave the opening prayer and a resolution sponsored by Representative Joseph McNamara was passed commemorating the Feast of the Annunciation and the 200th Anniversary of Greece’s declaration of independence and highlighting the continuing bonds between the United States and Greece. Both State Senate and House resolutions recognize the continuing support by the United States to the people of Greece and note especially the historic ties between both nations and the expanding economic and defense cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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Original article: Rhode Island marks Greece’s Bicentennial of Independence War.