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Celebration Of The Battle Of Marathon Anniversary In New Jersey



On Friday, November 5, 2010, the Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of New Jersey hosted an event to commemorate the 2,500 year anniversary of the victory of the Greeks over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. The event took place at the Cultural Center of Saint Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church in Paramus, NJ and was held under the auspices of the Greek orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey. The event is part of a series of cultural and historical lectures presented by the New Jersey Federation under the auspices of the Metropolis in community centers around the state.

The November 5 event was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey. Also present was the Consul General of Greece, Ambassador Aglaia Balta, the Consul General of Cyprus Mrs. Koula Sofianou and the Consul of Greece Mr. E. Kyriakopoulos. The President of the Federation, Mr. Tassos Efstratiades, gave the opening remarks, welcoming the dignitaries and the audience and emphasizing the importance of remembering the Battle of marathon as the first in a series of conflicts throughout the ages where the Hellenes with their bravery saved the western world. Mr. Efstratiades also thanked the Metropolis of New Jersey for working with the Federation to bring under the auspices of the Metropolis interesting cultural and historical programs to Greek orthodox communities in New Jersey.

Mr. Efstratiades then introduced the Consul General of Cyprus, Mrs. Sofianou, who reminded the audience the importance of the Greek victory in Marathon, which must serve as a reminder of our modern goal to liberate the occupied Cyprus. The Consul General of Greece, Ambassador Balta, spoke next, greeting the audience and speaking on the importance of organizing such events in order to educate the public of the substantial contribution of the Hellenes to the western civilization.

The historical aspects of the Battle of Marathon were presented in a speech and slide presentation by Professor Katherine Panagakos, Ph.D. who teaches Classical Languages at Stockton College and is part of the Hellenic Studies Program in that institution. Dr. Panagakos spoke of the events that led to the Persian attack upon Athens. She explained how an Athenian soldier ran from Athens to Sparta and back (each way about 150 miles) to ask help from the Spartans. She explained the military strategy of Athenian general Miltiades during the battle and how he led the 10,000 Athenians and few Plataeans to a victory over a much bigger Persian army. It was interesting to hear Dr. Panagakos explanation of the physical stress that the soldiers of those days had to go through to fight in the battle, as well as the legend of the messenger running back to Athens to announce the victory, which has created the modern 26 mile race, known as the “Marathon.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos closed the proceedings by speaking to the audience and urging them to advance the Hellenic ideals of freedom and democracy.