His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
Flag Raising Ceremony – Chicago City Hall
March 25, 2022
Your Honor, Mayor Lightfoot,
Your Eminence Metropolitan Nathaniel of Chicago
Honorable Consul General of Greece Koumbarakis,
President Chaniotakis of Enosis, Illinois,
Honorable Judges of the Courts of Illinois,
Esteemed officials of Chicago and Cook County,
Members of the Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of Illinois
Sisters and brothers – Hellenes and Philhellenes,
Today we come together, as Greeks and Philhellenes, to hoist the Greek flag – which is also the flag of Cyprus – a flag that symbolizes our aspiration and our commitment to freedom. The Immortal Heroes of 1821 raised it on Annunciation Day, as the Colonies did on July 4, 1776. They made their Declaration of Independence and went to defend themselves against oppression, just as do currently our Ukrainian Brothers. moment. Our symbolic act today is not an empty gesture. It is the affirmation that all people are created by God to be equal and should have a say in how they are governed. It is the affirmation of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
Each generation must act for itself, and not rely on the glories and victories of its ancestors. We look around the world today, and we see autocracy on the rise and tyranny on the march. We don’t just oppose them. We defend the right and responsibility of all peoples to choose for themselves, with complete freedom of conscience and without coercion of any kind.
Today, on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Greek-American community, I express our gratitude and appreciation to the great city of Chicago for its recognition of the eternal values of independence and our celebration of 1821.
I thank the Mayor and all the officials of the City, as well as the representatives of the Judiciary for their presence and their support.
I thank the members of the Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of Illinois for their enthusiasm and commitment to commemorating our history and heritage.
I thank the Greek Orthodox people of metropolitan Chicago and its ruling hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael, for their warm welcome and Abrahamic hospitality.
Finally, I give thanks for our own nation of the United States, which lives by the values of democracy and which honors Greece and Cyprus with its commitment to freedom for all. May we always be worthy of the blessings of our democracies and always be happy to share them with those who also yearn for them. May God bless us all!
Ζήτω τὸ Ἑλληνικὸ Ἔθνος! Ζήτω τὸ Εἰκοσιένα!