2014 was a memorable year for the Greek-American community of Philadelphia. The year was highlighted by two monumental events that took place here. They brought national, then international attention to Philly’s Greeks. Several organizations achieved milestones, while Greek philanthropy made new strides and new cultural projects were launched.
The 42nd Biennial Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese was hosted here in August and brought in thousands of Greek Orthodox christians from around the country. Hosted at the Waterworks facility along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, guests were treated to a cultural weekend that left many speechless.
Earlier this summer, Greek pride took hold in June, as the Greek National soccer team visited our city in a World Cup warm up game against Nigeria. A sea of Blue and White both inside and outside the stadium, along with a concert featured the communities feverish love of Hellenism. The diaspora world as well as the motherland looked on as Philly’s Greeks were thrusted into the spotlight. It was a unique moment unlikely to be repeated again, here in Philadelphia.
It was also a year that philanthropic endeavors and cultural achievements were set into motion. Throughout the year, charitable projects such as raising funds for the St. Nicholas Shrine in New York, feeding the homeless in Philadelphia, and bringing Christmas presents to kids in hospitals (throughout the Delaware Valley), went on.
Our Greek organizations and churches played vital roles in fundraising as well. One of those organizations that participated and continues to evolve, is the men’s adult basketball league, the PGBL (Philadelphia Greek Basketball League). This year, it attained non-profit status and engaged in civic projects such as homeless feedings.
New cultural strides were initiated and gained traction in our community. The Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia secured and launched several long term educational/cultural projects. “The Philadelphia Interview Series” produced with partner Cosmos Philly features Greeks that have contributed to Hellenism in Philadelphia. While their spring gala, featured a documentary and lecture on “Philadelphia’s Greek community of 1942”. Their spring photo contest, titled “Love your Yiayia and Pappou” attracted many Greeks to participate and get to know the organization.
The Pontian “Akritai” and The Pan-Icarian Brotherhood “Atheras” celebrated milestones (75 years) as organizations. They hosted large affairs that saw attendance sour with guests from all over the country. Our churches, schools, Festivals, organizations, all continue to be integral parts of our community, that perpetuate our Hellenic culture.
Good luck to all of them for a healthy and happy New Year. Welcome 2015.