Today we remember Sotiris Maniatis. He passed away one year ago today. Maniatis embodied the immigrant experience in America by blending the traditions and culture of his motherland with his new home.
Maniatis was the president of the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley and was on the board of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Upper Darby.
Maniatis arrived in America at 23 and immediately joined his new found church and community. In 1981 he became an American citizen and lived as a resident of Delaware County for more than half a century. He settled and spent much of his early years in the historic Greek community of Upper Darby before moving to Glen Mills Pennsylvania in his final days.
Maniatis was a successful businessman as well. He was the owner of Concord Pizza, which his family continues to run today. Perhaps his greatest achievement was returning to his hometown of Maroussi Greece, where he carried the Olympic torch in 2004 through his neighborhood streets. It was a pride-filled moment that he said he would have like his parents to see.
But for Maniatis Greece became the land of his ancestors. When asked about returning to Greece, he said, “Greece is a beautiful country, but I came to America for a better opportunity and a better life. I have raised a family in the traditions of a Hellene I was raised on. Like the torch I carried on that day, I have passed my beliefs and customs on to my children, and hope they will look at this moment and use it to keep our culture alive”.
On Sunday, December 9, 2018, the one-year memorial service will be held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. His Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos will be conducting the service. All members of the Greek American community are invited to attend the luncheon following.