Greek Independence Day Parade and Celebration
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
2187 West 14th St. Cleveland March 25, 2023
Cleveland's Greek-American community celebrates 202 years of the Greek Revolution
by Jim Trakas
Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood was teeming with the blue and white of the Greek flag, as hundreds of celebrants paraded around Lincoln Park in celebration of the 202nd anniversary of the start of the Greek Revolution of 1821. Upon the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, Ottoman forces occupied Greece and for the next 368 years, Greece was a province of the Empire. On the 25th of March 1821, Bishop Germanos, III of Patras in a sermon exhorted the Greeks to revolt against the Empire, blessed the blue and white flag with a cross with holy water and proclaimed revolution.
Greece earned its independence from the Ottomans in 1826 with the help of the British, French, and Russian Empires. The country finally won full independence for all of its islands and provinces with the signing of the Treaty of Sevres in 1820 and the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
Greater Cleveland is the home of over 20,000 Americans of Greek heritage, and the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is the oldest church, or mother church of Greek Orthodoxy in the area. The linkage of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, celebrated on March 25th, and the Greek Revolution are very sacred to the Greek people, since the church sanctioned the Revolution.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church steps after the Parade
The Greek Independence Day Parade Committee, founded in 1999, held a series of events on March 25th. A Greek Orthodox Liturgy to celebrate the Virgin Mary started the day with the Metropolitan of Pittsburgh, Savas, officiating and serving as Grand Marshal of the parade around the neighborhood later in the morning. Six local priests celebrated the Liturgy with Metropolitan Savas.
Metropolitan Savas of the Pittsburgh Diocese
After church, a doxology service was held, with the young people from the area dressed in the traditional military garb of the Revolution, the fustanella, marching with the U.S., Greek flags and the flag of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. The Greek national anthem, The Hymn to Liberty, was sung in the church by the faithful. The hymn is the world's longest national anthem and is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2023.
Following the church service, a grand parade was held in the Tremont neighborhood around Lincoln Park. The parade featured young children from the areas dance troupes and Greek schools also dressed in traditional costumes of the various regions of Greece. In addition to the four Greek Orthodox Churches in the Cleveland area, a delegation from Dayton joined the parade as did various organizations sponsor entries including: The Hellenic Preservation Society, and societies from these Greek communities: Pontian, Chios, Samos, Crete, Phoenix, Icaria, and Nafpaktian among others.
Terrible rain, hail and wind could not stop the Greek community of Cleveland. Near the end of the parade the weather turned nasty and hail, freezing rain and high winds started (230000 people lost power in the region from the winds). But the Greek community marched on. They then gathered quickly on the steps of Annunciation Church for photos before rushing inside for the festivities.
Watch the video of the Parade
Here are some photos of the Parade courtesy of Jim Trakas.
Greek Independence Day Parade in Cleveland 2023
The stalwart marchers stopped on the steps of the Church for a quick photo as the wind increased.
After the parade, the group assembled at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church hall where Parade Grand Marshal Metropolitan Savas kicked off the festivities that included youth groups dancing traditional dances from the respective regions of Greece with the crowd enjoying Lenten delicacies provided by the Festival Committee and Philoptochos Society (Friends of the Poor).
Come back soon for photos and videos of the youth groups traditional dances.
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The mission of the Hellenic Preservation Society is to present a unified voice of the Hellenes in Northeastern Ohio that will promote the Greek experience through programs, presentation and cultural collections.
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