Greek Independence Day was a noteworthy event for the global Greek community, as it celebrated the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. The occasion was marked by various activities and ceremonies, such as the visit of the Greek Honor Guard, the Evzones. In this article, we delved into the Evzones’ visit to St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ, and the significance of this event for the Greek community in Philadelphia.
The Evzones, also referred to as the Presidential Guard, were an elite unit of the Greek Army responsible for guarding the Greek President and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens. The origins of the Evzones could be traced back to the early 19th century when Greek soldiers donned traditional Greek attire during the War of Independence. In the early 20th century, the Evzones were established as an official unit of the Greek Army and subsequently became a symbol of Greek patriotism and courage.
The Evzones’ visit to St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church was part of the Greek Independence Day weekend festivities in Philadelphia. The event was arranged by the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley and was attended by hundreds of parishioners, Greek school students, and visitors.
The event’s historical presentation about the Evzones and their role in Greek history was its main attraction. The unit’s history, customs, and unique uniform and ceremonial duties were elaborated upon in the presentation. The presentation also emphasized the Evzones’ involvement in the Greek War of Independence and their courage and sacrifice throughout the nation’s history.
After the historical presentation, the audience was encouraged to share poems about the Greek revolution and the fight for independence. Several parishioners and Greek school students recited poems in both Greek and English, underscoring the lasting spirit of Greek patriotism and pride.
The Evzones’ visit to St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church was a special occasion for the Greek community in Philadelphia, honoring the legacy and courage of the Greek people in their pursuit of independence. The event underscored the lasting spirit of Greek patriotism and pride and the crucial role of the Evzones in preserving and promoting Greek history and culture.