Greek Independence DayCelebration

HolyTrinityGreekOrthodox Church, Portland,Maine

(Click here for Greek version)

Program location: Immaculate Conception Cathedral, 307 Congress St., Portland,Maine
Date and time: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 1:00pm
Instructor: Mrs.Angela Varipatis

(Click on any of the sections below to go directly to it)

Background of Holiday
Program Supplement
Photo Gallery

A Brief Background on the History and Significance of the Holiday

TheGreekRevolution of 1821

One of the brightest days in ModernGreek history is the 25th of March, 1821.This day, on which theGreek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation of theVirgin Mary, was purposely chosen by our heroic ancestors as teh day on which to declare to the world their desire for national freedom and their determination to die for it.

From May 29, 1453 until March 25, 1821, almost four hundred years later, the once-great Greeks found themselves enslaved by the Ottoman Turks.For four centuries the Greeks lived under the oppression, humiliation and torture of their Ottoman conqueror.Yet, despite all their suffering, strengthened by their Orthodox faith, the Greeks preserved their national identity and fought for their freedom.

Fight they did! For nine years! They fought with limited means and unlimited will. Their motto was "Freedom of Death!" There were no other options. The Greeks struggled with bravery on land and ata sea, pitted against such Turkish atrocities as the kidnapping of Greek children and their forceful transformation into "Genitsari" [Janissaries] (fanatic and cruel soldiers), the massacre on the island of Chios, and the holocaust of Psara. These events, among others, moved the Europeans and influenced the major powers of the time, Russia, England, and France, to assist the Greeks in their efforts.After a series of systematic war campaigns and intense diplomatic activities by the European philhellenes, Greece became an independent state with the signing of the Protocol of London on February 3, 1830.

We gather on this solemn, yet joyous occasion to remember the sacrifices of our ancestors in defeating the tyranny of slavery.Our cherished freedom, bought with blood, cannot be taken for granted. We now carry the torch of democracy.We must pass this torch on to future generations.

The Underground School

Although the Greek word for independence in "Anexartisia," Hellenes use the word "Paligenesia" to describe the Revolution of 1821, as this word refers to the rebirth of their nation, which had remained dormant for over 400 years.One thing is certain, however, the word "dormant" does not describe the Greeks during this time period, given all of the activity that was going on under the very noses of the Ottoman Turkish rulers.

Despite the fact that the Ottoman had forced the closure of most Greek schools, particularly in the rural areas, the Greeks were not sitting still.They were not about to give up their language--a language that at one time had linked the entire known world--nor were t heya bout to forget the rich heritage passed down to them over four millennia of glory. Instead, brave members of the GreekOrthodox clergy began secretly teaching the children of the enslaved Greeks, using many guises and ruses to operate underground schools known as "Krypho scholio."These underground schools were conducted under cover of darkness in caves, in churches and even in homes--always at the risk of death, if discovered. The priests faced overwhelming odds, and many were discovered and killed, yet they persevered with untold sacrifices of human life in order that the Greek language might survive.

And survive it did! Indeed, manay graduated from the "Krypho Scholio" and became a driving force in the rebirth of the nation. Their burning desire to free Greece from Turkish rule led them later to become part of either the "Klephtes," independent bands of "free" men in the mountainous areas constantly fighting against the Turkish rulers, or the "Armatoli," those who pretended loyalty to the Ottoman Turks and gained government positions. Both "Klephtes" and"Armatoli" were important freedom fighters, without whom the Revolution could not have succeeded.

Bright Little Moon--poem recited by children of theUnderground School

Bright little moon,
Shine light on my path
That I may walk safely to school,
And learn to read, to write and
To learn all things of God.

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Opening Prayer led byFr. Konstantinos Sarantidis
National Anthems of the U.S. and Greece

Opening Remarks byMary Papoutsy

"O Evangelismos tis Theotokou"--sung by Abigail Spiller, Mary Boudri, Eve Doudakis, Markella Gammaitoni, Johanna & Katarina Konstantino, Gabriella & Katherine NIcolaou, Catherine Nutter, ElizabethPitre

"Ellada"--poem recided by Alexia Pappas, Nicolette Kapothanasis, Talia Pappas

"Ellada"--song performed on violin byProfessor Dimitri and Alexandra Gribizis

"Eikosipente tou Martiou"--poem recited by George Budri
"Stin Ethniki Giorti"--poem recited by Alex Tucci
"25Martiou"--poem recited by Dimitris Roumeliotis

"Patrida"--poem recited by Manolis Gammaitoni
"Makedonia"--poem recited by Arianna Dilios


"Si Pou Kosmous"--song performed on violin by George Budri

"Giortazi i Patrida"--Nicholas Pellechia
"Ti Mera Afti"--Alex Spiller
Gia ti Glykeia Ellada"--Arianna Dupont
"Ta Ellinopoula"--Abigail Spiller
"Ellinopoulo Eim' Ego"--Nicholas Gammaitoni
"O Gennaios"--Tasos McCormich

"Kerkyraiko"--perfomed on violin by PeterGribizis and George Budri

"Dipli Omorfada"--Nicole Boudri
"I Foustanella"--Nikko Pappas
"I Giorti tis Patrida"--Emma Koukos
"Zito i Ellada Mas"--Matthew Dilios

Dodekanisiakos-"Pera Stous Pera Kampous"

"Charopa ta Dyo Mou Cheria ta Chtypo"

"Eikosti Pempti Martiou"--Peter Gribizis
"I Skliri"--MaryBudri
"25 Martiou"--Andrew Pellechia
"o Pallikari"--Declan McCormick
"I Paidoula"--Markella Gammitoni
"Tin Patrida Mou Agapo"--Catherine Nutter

"I Anoixi"--performed on violin byPeter Gribizis

"Proti Ap' Oles"--Katerine Nicolaou
"Stin Patrida Mou"--Katarina Konstantino
"25 Martiou"--Gabriella Nicolaou
"Zito to Scholeio"--Johanna Konstantino
"Eimai Ego Ellinopoula"--Eve Doudakis

"I Ellada Pote DenPethainei"--Eve Doudakis

Thessalikos--"To Nero Sto Rema"

"To Eikosiena"--Nicolette Kapothanasis
"I Ellada"--Costas Pollak
"25 Martiou"--Alyssia Camuso
"25Martiou"--Nicole Nutter
"25 Martiou"--Alexander Kapothanasis

"Ena to Chelidoni" (from the "Axion Esti" symphony of Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis
with lyrics based upn the poetry of Nobel-prize winning Greek poet Odysseas Elytis)
-performed by Nicolette Kapothanasis

Kalamatianos--"25i Martiou" (violin accompaniment by Prof. Dimitri and Alexandra Gribizis)

Closing Remarks byPaulKapothanasis

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Many and Warm Thanks to
  • Paul and Irene Kapothanasis, John and Kathy Pappas, and Chris and Sheila for all their help in the work and activities of our GreekSchool.
  • The AHEPA family for the delicious dinner.
  • Chris Dilios and all his helpers for the stage microphones, acoustics, music.
  • Mr. Dimitri and Alexandra Gribizis who enriched our program with their beautiful music.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Papoutsy who honored us today with their presence and enriched our program with their beautiful talents.
  • All parents for their cooperation and support, and
  • All who honored our program today with your presence

Heartfelt Thanks

  • To the family of Mr. & Mrs.Kostas Kapothanasis whose generosity cannot be described with words.Thanks to them our School now has new mark boards, new desks, a new computer. Whatever we need, we know we can count on them. Thanks a million Mr. and Mrs.K.
  • To Mr. & Mrs.Chris Dilios who donated the printer and gave a lot of free computer lessons to Mrs.Varipatis.

Deepest Sympathy

Our deepest sympathy is extended to the Goulatis family. Loucas Goulatis loved the GreekSchool. He was always there to help and advise.Loucas did not forget the children even with his death.His wish was for donations in his memory to be given to Greek School. The amount of over $1,000.00 was collected and 12 new Greek costumes for the children were purchased. God rest your soul Louie and may your memory be eternal.

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Program Supplement

The Annunciation (Click here for Greek version of program)

Today is the crown of our salvatin and the
Manifestation of the Eternal Mystery
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
And Gabriel announces the good tidings of grace
Therefore let us also with him cry to the Theotokos:
Hail, you are full of grace; the Lord is with you.

The Star-Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so paroudly we hailed at the twilights' last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O"er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!

And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof throught eh night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave.
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O Ellinikos Ethnikos Ymnos (Click here for Greek version of program)

Se gnorizo apo tin kopsi
Tou spathiou tin tromeri
Se gnorizo apo tin opsi
Pou me via metraei ti gi.

Ap' ta kokkala vgalmeni
Ton Ellino ta iera
Kai san prota andreiomeni
Chaire, o chaire eleftheria.

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Photo Gallery

(Posting date 18 March 2006; revised and updated 9 April 2006)

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