Upper Darby, PA – Genocide Day was commemorated by the Pontian Akritai Society of Philadelphia this past Sunday with a memorial service at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church.

Members of the organization including the youth dance group participated in a theatrical lament and march that took them from the Pontian monument in front of the church to the hall.

For the first time, a replica of the Icon of Panagia Soumela was part of the service at St. Demetrios. The icon is normally housed at the Holy Institution, Panagia Soumela in West Milford New Jersey.

Gus Tsilfidis, President of the Pan Pontian Federation of USA and Canada and Haralambos Vasiliathis, President of the Holy Institution of Panagia Soumela addressed the members of St. Demetrios.

Lead by President of the Akritai, Ifigeneia Pavlidou-ikonomou and her son Vasili the two sang a lament to the genocide of Pontos. The dance troupe Akritai, participated in a theatrical solo performance by Vasiliki Tsanaktsidou.

The performance evoked tears by those who looked on, as Tsanaktsidou concluded with her dramatic grasp of soil, which was laid out on stage. Tsanktsidou performance concluded by sharing handfuls of soil with the Akritai performers.