Fellow Greek-Americans and Philhellenes, Mr. President,
On behalf of the Greek-American Community of the United States America, and indeed all those who love Greece, I express to you and the People of the United States of America, whom you so ably and nobly serve, our deepest thanks for this special commemoration of the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution.
I convey as well the blessings and best wishes of your friend, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, from whom I have just returned in these recent days. His All Holiness looks forward to seeing you soon on his upcoming visit to the United States.
For Greeks around the world, this date, March 25th, is like the Fourth of July that we celebrate in the United States, a date that you, Mr. President, are giving new meaning to, as you strive to lead us out of the pandemic.
But March 25th also has deep spiritual significance, as you know so well. It is the date when all Christians around the world celebrate the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, the announcement of the Savior to be born.
Thus, the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution is layered with meaning, appealing to the sensibilities of free people everywhere. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are desired by all people.
Like the American Patriots of 1776, the Greek Heroes of 1821 sought to create for themselves a “more perfect union,” where the freedom to think and to act would be enshrined in a democracy.
Greece, the fountainhead of democratic values and the wellspring of Western Civilisation, emerged from centuries of occupation and oppression. It lost much during those long and difficult years, including many of its national treasures. I cannot help but mention the Parthenon Marbles, which are the solidified soul of Greece, stone from Her mountains and miracles of Her intellect. We pray for them to be returned now, out of sheer humanity.
In the early days of the Revolution, here in a budding American Republic, the eyes of the West looked east to the ancient land of the Hellenes, and beheld it rising again, with great empathy for their struggle. Your predecessor, Thomas Jefferson, wrote in 1823 to the Greek scholar Adamantios Koraes: “[n]o people sympathise more feelingly than ours with the sufferings of your countrymen, none offer more sincere and ardent prayers to heaven for their success.”
Today, these two Nations – Greece, the world’s first democracy, and America, the world’s most successful democracy, remain fast friends and strong allies.
Mr. President: America is the very happy home to a large number of the Greek Diaspora. Greek-Americans have made tremendous contributions to the life of our Nation and its wider population.
This White House celebration of the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution of 1821 is a wonderful opportunity to share our passion for liberty with our neighbours.
We all thank you, Mr. President, for this solemn and joyous commemoration today, and for this National observance in the White House. And above all, we give thanks to God Who has blessed us with a free Greece, a free Cyprus, and a free America – all of them ‘lands of the free and homes of the brave.’
May we ever be worthy of these blessings of liberty, and always be happy to share them with those who yearn for it – just as in 1776 and in 1821.
May God bless you, Mr. President, our wonderful First Lady, Dr. Biden, your family, and the Nation that you serve with such dignity, grace, and strength.
Ζήτω Ἀμερική! Ζήτω τὸ Ἑλληνικὸ Ἔθνος!
Gratitude to President Joe Biden for his honoring the Greek Bicentennial and our Greek American Community with his words. We stand with the President for the values of both Greece and America– freedom, equality, and justice for all.
Posted by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America on Thursday, March 25, 2021