Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, visited the ‘Dimitrio’ Center for Creative Work affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Church through the NGO ‘Apostoli’.
It is recalled that last month, Pyatt announced that the U.S. Embassy in Athens will not host its annual Independence Day celebration this year, in light of ongoing coronavirus concerns, as reported by Greek City Times.
Instead, they are donating 400 plates of food to NGO ‘Apostoli’. The mission of ‘Apostoli’ is the love and charity taught by God, by helping the less fortunate social groups and improving their living conditions through the provision of every possible help.
“I remember, Your Beatitude, four years ago when we first met, you talked to me about the work that was done by Apostoli and about the important support that you and the Church received from our diaspora in America. This support reflects the best traditions of American philanthropy but also the deep and long-lasting ties between our two peoples,” the US Ambassador stated.
“Normally today we would have a huge reception at my residence to celebrate our day of independence. Obviously, we could not do so this year because of the pandemic, but we wanted to do something to celebrate the holiday and as soon as we came up with this idea, I was certain that Apostoli would be the appropriate partner for this gesture from our Embassy,” he added.
On #July4thGreece as we face #COVID19 together, I am honored to join His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos to deliver meals to @MKOApostoli in the tradition of US philhellenes like Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe who raised money to relieve famine & suffering in Greece after the revolution pic.twitter.com/F27djMZDnX
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbPyatt) July 2, 2020
Ambassador Pyatt met with the NGO’s general director Kostis Dimtsas and also spoke to the children at the centre who asked him about his life and travels in Greece.
“So, I hope you will see these meals and this gesture as a small symbol of the long-standing ties between our peoples and between the Church in North America and the Church here in Greece. And I think it’s especially special, having now seen the role that Archbishop Dimitrios played in the creation of this centre. To all the kids, I would say, first of all, I hope you will enjoy a little bit of our 4th of July American Independence Day tradition, not just the meals from the American Embassy kitchen but also some candy from America,” Pyatt continued.
The US Ambassador also spoke about the strong ties between Greece and the United States, traced back to the model of the Athenian democracy that US founding fathers drew upon when they drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
“And finally, if I can just say to Your Beatitude, thank you for four years of friendship, your openness, your dialogue and your partnership with the American Embassy. We greatly respect your office but also the leadership that you have shown during this especially testing time for the international community as we responded to the coronavirus pandemic. I know that your decisions and your leadership have helped to save lives here in Greece. So, ευχαριστώ πολύ. And for all of the kids, Ζήτω η Ελλάδα, Ζήτω η Αμερική!” he concluded.
The historic Chancery Building, the Athens landmark that houses the US Embassy, was also lit on Thursday with the colours of the American flag- red, white and blue, in celebration of Independence Day on July 4.