Legislators Commemorate Greek Independence & 50th Anniversary of Cyprus Invasion

Originally published in The National Herald on .
New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, Assemblyman John Lemondes, and Senator James Skoufis with dancers in traditional costume at the Greek Independence event in Albany. Photo: Senator Gianaris' office

New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, Senator Andrew Gounardes, and Senator James Skoufis honored Greek Independence at the State Capitol on March 26, welcoming His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, who offered an invocation before the Senate. The legislators also passed a Resolution J2055 commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the illegal invasion and ongoing occupation of Cyprus.

“As the son of Greek immigrants, I am especially proud to represent the community known for the largest concentration of the Greek diaspora,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “It is also a time to remember that our brothers and sisters in Cyprus are yet to have the freedom they deserve after 50 years of illegal occupation.”

“As a fourth-generation Greek-American, I’m immensely proud to celebrate the 203rd anniversary of Greece’s independence in the halls of the New York State Capitol,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “This day is an opportunity to honor generations past in their struggle for freedom, to celebrate the vibrant Greek community here in New York that weathered hardship in search of a better life, and to open our hearts to all those whose yearning for freedom and independence mirror our own.”

“I am deeply proud of my Greek heritage and of the thousands of my fellow Greek-Americans who live and work in New York,” said State Senator James Skoufis. “Today allows us the opportunity to reflect on the many contributions of the Greek diaspora and to celebrate those individuals within our own districts who enrich their communities every day.”

The anniversary of Greek Independence was observed with the passage of a Resolution J2029 proclaiming March as Greek History Month in New York State.

The Senate resolution proclaiming March as Greek History Month celebrates the 203rd anniversary of Greek Independence. Greek Independence Day commemorates the date when Greece declared independence from the Ottoman Empire and began the Greek War of Independence in 1821.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to recognize our Greek-American contributions to our communities and Nation as well to democratic governments across the world,” said Assemblyman John Lemondes.

“It was my pleasure to welcome back His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to Albany today alongside many Greek and Cypriot friends for our Greek Heritage Celebration. Fifty years ago, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus displaced thousands of Cypriots from their homes. Many of them fled to New York City. This week, we commemorated the 50th year dark anniversary of this injustice. We also celebrate people from the Cypriot and Greek communities that have established themselves within our community. Maria Pappas is a shining example of such an individual. She has been incredibly influential to the Cypriot community in New York. She has also broken barriers both in the investment industry and in being elected the first woman President of the Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” said Assemblyman Tannousis.