Pennsauken, NJ – The Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley hosted its annual Vasilopita cutting at the Ikarian House on Tuesday, January 7. The evening was highlighted by the announcement of the Eleftheria Medal Recipient, the Grand Marshal, and the schedule of events for the Greek Independence Day Parade week.

Following an opening prayer led by his Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, the Federation kicked off the informal evening with a Vasilopita cutting. One by one, the officers of the Federation, including President Georgia Halakos, Vice-President Georgia Chletcos, Recording Secretary Maria Agatsiotis, Treasurer Pete Papadeas, and several board members, stepped forward to receive their slice of Vasilopita and blessing from the Metropolitan.

Maria Agatsiotis was happy to be the recipient of the hidden coin in the Vasilopita for the fourth time this year. How lucky is that? Metropolitan Evangelos then congratulated the officers and board members who were cheered and applauded for their many years of service to the Federation. This year’s Vasilopita event was extra special because of the attendance of his Eminence and many of the clergy from across the Delaware Valley.

Following the buffet-style banquet provided by Effies Catering, his Eminence praised the leadership of the “Dynamic Duo” as he called President Halakos and Vice-President Chletcos, who are serving in their second term in the Federation at their respective positions.

President Halakos announced this year’s parade honorees. The recipient of the Eleftheria Medal Award is George Horiatis, Esquire, a past-president of the Federation and other local and national organizations, and who is the current Supreme President of the AHEPA. When asked to say a few words, Horiates concluded that “Only One Greek Independence parade will feature the AHEPA Supreme President this Year, and it will be Philadelphia’s Greek Independence Day Parade.” He added, “There’s no place like home, and I am a proud member of this community. This is where my roots are.” It was truly evident how humble he was to be picked to receive this auspicious award. Horiatis went on to remind the community that Greece and Cyprus need our support and that he would fight for Hellenism’s last breath of air, water, and land. Horiates has spoken in support of Hellenism worldwide – at the United Nations, the Greek Parliament, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Berlaymont, Washington, DC, and of course, in our Philadelphia area. He continues an energetic course bringing worldwide attention to the need to defend and protect Hellenism and has played a significant role in his position as AHEPA Supreme President to carry out these objectives.

President Halakos also announced that the Consul General of the Republic of Panama, Georgia Athanasopoulos, would be the Grand Marshall of the parade. “In honor of my father and my roots, I am honored to be part of this year’s parade,” said Athanasopoulos. Athanasopoulos has been a long-time member of the Philadelphia Greek community as well. Her family’s long history between the two countries, Greece and Panama, is well known. “My Hellenic roots are strong, and my father always reminded me of this. It’s a great honor,” she added.

His Eminence and the entire attendees congratulated the two honorees.

For more information about the upcoming Greek Independence Day Parade 2020, visit the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley website.

Greek Independence Day Parade Program of Events

Theme: 2500 Year Anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae

Saturday, March 21, 2020, 6:00 pm
Eleftheria Awards Dinner
Adelphia Restaurant
1750 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford, NJ
$75, Student price $35
Honorees: Mr. George Horiates, Esq
Eleftheria Award: The Honorable Georgia Athanasopulos, Consul General of the Republic of Panama/Dean of Consular Corps of Philadelphia, Grand Marshal of Parade

Friday, March 27, 2020, 2:00 pm
Opening Ceremonies and Raising of the Greek Flag
Philadelphia City Hall / Mayor’s Reception Room
Open to Public / Free – Must present ID to enter

Friday, March 27, 2020, 7:00 pm
Salutations to the Theotokos
Presided by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, 615 Mercer Street, Cherry Hill, NJ

Sunday, March 29, 2020, 9:30 am
Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and Official Great Doxology
Presided by His Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral,256 South 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Sunday, March 29, 2020, Noon
Dignitaries Luncheon
Coffee Hour Reception

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Greek Independence Day Parade
Formation time: 1:00 pm
Starting time: 2:00 pm
Starting point: 17th and the Parkway, Philadelphia, PA.
Reviewing Stand: On Parkway prior to Art Museum Drive
(Inclement Weather Number: 856-665-2085)
After Parade Reception & Dance Performances: 4:30 pm
{Hosted by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church)
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 229 Powell Lane, Upper Darby, PA 19082