Athens, Greece – The AHEPA Greek Bicentennial kicked off in earnest with its official opening ceremony at the historic Grand Bretagne. An overcapacity crowd of AHEPANs, Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena, dignitaries, family, and friends kicked off the largest annual gathering of Hellenes and philhellenes worldwide in style.

The festivities featured Supreme President George G. Horiates setting the pace with a stirring and exciting speech. AHEPA was pleased to honor two individuals, highlighted during the evening event, Dr. Yiannis Chrysoulakis, Deputy foreign minister of Foreign Affairs of Greeks Abroad, and His Eminence Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens.

Dr. Chrysoulakis, an AHEPA member himself, was thrilled to join and complimented the Supreme President on the outstanding work he has been doing over the past two years despite the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Chrysoulakis commented that the Greeks from abroad have a passion for Greece rivaled only by those who currently live there and that without the diaspora communities, things would be much worse.

His Eminence Archbishop Ieronymos could not attend the event in person but sent a surrogate to read a beautiful letter on his behalf to the assembled delegates and friends.

AHEPA Convention attendees were also welcomed to Athens by U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt. In his remarks, Ambassador Pyatt described AHEPA as a “force multiplier” for relations between longtime allies U.S. & Greece and stressed how the U.S. looks forward to working closely with Greece in the future.