and Nick Davatzes, CEO Emeritus of A&E TV Networks
Named Grand Marshals of Greek-American Parade, April 15
Greece's Top Performing Artist Anna Vissi Named Honorary Marshal
Parade Dedicated to Religious Freedom
Celebrities, U.S. and Greek Government Officials At First-Ever Televised Parade (FOX TV My9), Hosted by FOX Leading News Anchors Ernie Anastos,
Rosanna Scotto, Weatherman Nick Gregory
New York - The distinguished Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, represented by Archon National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, and Nick Davatzes, CEO Emeritus of A&E Television Networks, have been named Grand Marshals for the 186th anniversary of Greek Independence at New York's annual Greek American Independence Parade, April 15, which is dedicated to religious freedom.
Greece's top singer and performing artist, Anna Vissi, will serve as Honorary Marshal. The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York and its 2007 Parade Committee, at a meeting held in Astoria, NY, made the announcement of the Marshals.
Parade Chairman John Catsimatidis, CEO and President, Red Apple Group, himself an Archon and Chairman of the Archon's Religious Freedom Committee, leads the parade's organizing efforts, which marks the first-ever televised live broadcast in the Parade's history. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, will serve as the Parade's Honorary Chairman.
Parade Co-chairpersons include leading community leaders Philip Christopher, president, International Coordinating Committee "Justice for Cyprus" (PSEKA); Tasso Manessis, restaurateur and former president of Pan Gregorian Enterprisers, and
Dino Ralis, chairman, Federation public relations.
"I look forward to this being the most spectacular parade in the history of the Greek-American Parade, " said Catsimatidis. "Grand Marshals are people in the community that have shown leadership as well having served as role models for our youth. And Religious Freedom, the theme of this year's parade, reflects also on Democracy, which both Greece and the United States were founded on." Catsimatidis' intent is to raise the recognition of the Greek-American story to an unprecedented large audience in the U.S. and abroad, and raise awareness to the religious freedom crisis.
"It is a great honor for the Archons to be named Grand Marshals of this year's historic 76th annual Greek Independence parade whose theme echoes the core of our mission," National Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis said, who will represent the Order of St. Andrew at the parade.
"This gives the Archons of America the opportunity to convey the message of religious freedom on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is our hope and dream that one day we will march up Fifth Avenue not only celebrating Greek Independence but the independence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from the shackles of religious oppression perpetrated by the government of Turkey."
"I am deeply honored to be named Grand Marshal by my fellow Greek Americans and to participate in this year's first televised parade. I applaud the Greek Federation's efforts to promote the ideals of Hellenism, which have always been an important part of my life," Davatzes said.
"On behalf of the Federation, I am very proud and grateful to be working John Catsimatidis, a compelling leader who loves and honors his Hellenic heritage and advocates for religious freedom. We also congratulate this year's Grand Marshals and Honorary Grand Marshal and applaud their contributions to the world of religion, arts and entertainment," said Nick Diamantidis, president of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY.
The 76th annual Greek American Independence Parade is scheduled Sunday, April 15 at 1:00pm, Fifth Avenue (60th-79th St). This year marks the first-ever televised broadcast to be aired on Fox TV Network (My9) from 1:30pm -3:30pm. Fox's leading news anchors Ernie Anastos, Rosanna Scotto and weatherman Nick Gregory will host the special two-hour live broadcast. Field reporters will include CBS News Marketwatch anchor and CBS News Moneywatch reporter Alexis Christoforous and CBS' Guiding Light actor Frank Dicopoulos.
About Order of St. Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, was organized in 1966 by the late Archbishop Iakovos of North & South America, as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Office of Archon is the highest recognition that the Orthodox Church bestows upon its laymen. Patriarchal titles are conferred upon those selected to receive this honor of such significant recognition. It is the sworn oath of the Archon to defend and promote the Mother Church. The Order of St. Andrew meets annually to engage its membership in the various religious freedom initiatives designed to focus the world's attention on the religious freedom crisis that threatens the survival of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Archons conduct an annual pilgrimage, which coincides with the Feast Day of St. Andrew (Nov 30) to the Mother Church in Constantinople to receive the blessings from and offer their respects to the Ecumenical Patriarch. www.archons.org
About Nick Davatzes, CEO Emeritus of A&E Television Networks
Nick Davatzes was named Chief Executive Officer Emeritus of A&E Television Networks (AETN) in April 2005. Previously, Mr. Davatzes was President and Chief Executive Officer of AETN from December 1983 to April 2005, encompassing A&E Network, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, History International, The Military History Channel, The History Channel en espanol, Crime & Investigation Network, AETN International and AETN Consumer Products. In November 2006, President George W. Bush presented Davatzes with the National Humanities Medal, in an Oval Office ceremony in recognition of his contributions to the humanities. In July 2006 he was inducted into the Phi Kappa Tau Hall of Fame. In October 2005, the Cable Center inducted Mr. Davatzes into the Cable Television Hall of Fame Class of 2005 honoring his significant contributions to the cable telecommunications industry. In June 2003, Davatzes received the 2003 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership from the National Cable Television Association and in December 2003 celebrated his 20-year anniversary at the helm of the company. During his tenure at AETN, Davatzes has been honored by his industry peers for building some of the most prominent and highly valued cable networks and for his strong support of the cable industry's public-policy and public-affairs objectives. www.aetn.com
About Singer and Entertainer Anna Vissi
Greece's "mega-star" will serve as Honorary Marshal at the Greek Parade. Born in Cyprus, Anna Vissi has sold over 9.5 million albums worldwide. Since 1995 together she has gone 28x platinum. In 2005, she has also enjoyed success in the U.S., claiming the number one position on the Billboard Dance Charts with Call Me. In Eurovision Song Contest 2006, Vissi and her power ballad "Everything" finished 9th, and won two awards in the categories "Best Song" and "Best Female." According to Room 210 (Greek Magazine, 2004), Anna Vissi is considered "a true diva of the Greek musical stage, a role model for all other performers of similar genres and one who determines all the latest music and fashion trends." Anna is by far the best selling female Greek artist of all time with a career that spanning over thirty years. She is known as the "mega-star" constantly appearing on covers and fashion magazines in Greece and the world. Vissi is currently on a USA and Canada tour. In April, she performs in Connecticut, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlantic City, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. www.annavissi.info
About The 76th Annual Greek Independence Day Parade
More than 200,000 participants and spectators from the New York and tri-state area are expected to attend the Greek parade on Sunday, April 15 at 1pm on Fifth Avenue (60th–79th St). This year will mark the first-ever televised broadcast on Fox TV Network (My9) from 1:30pm -3:30pm. Fox's leading news anchors Ernie Anastos, Rosanna Scotto and weatherman Nick Gregory will host the special two-hour live broadcast. Celebrities will include "mega-star" Anna Vissi, American Idol alum Constantine Maroulis, Guiding Light actor Frank Dicopoulos among others. Honored guests include Greek and U.S. Congressional, Senate and local government officials; the elite Presidential Guard (Evzones) from Greece; the Hellenic Navy Band, and many surprises.
New York's Greek parade is the largest in the country. The parade commemorates the 186th anniversary of Greek Independence from Turkish Ottoman rule, tyranny and oppression and honors the Greek forefathers who valiantly sacrificed their lives to preserve the ideals of freedom, democracy, and independence. The celebration brings together thousands of Greek-Americans; Philhellenes, civic, religious and political organizations; members of the Greek Orthodox Church, American and Greek government officials on Fifth Avenue to honor Greek independence. All Hellenes and Philhellenes are encouraged to attend the Parade, which showcases the culture and legacy of Greece: a celebration of Greek Independence, culture, family and heritage.
About Greek Independence Day
After 400 years of rule by the Ottoman Empire, Greece declared its independence on March 25, 1821. The annual Greek American Independence Day parade is held on the closest Sunday to March 25 (except during Lenten season), a dual celebration connected with the Christian Feast of the Annunciation.
About the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York
The organizers of the annual Greek American Independence Parade, the Federation is a not-for-profit organization comprised of over 200 civic, cultural and regional organizations in the New York City area. Its mission is to preserve and promote Hellenic culture and heritage throughout the five boroughs of New York through cultural events and programs throughout the year. For more information, call 718-204-6500.