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Hamilton Greek Community to celebrate 201th anniversary of independence

Hamilton Greek Community to celebrate 201th anniversary of independence

On Sunday March 27th, 2022 at 2:00 pm, the Greek Community of Hamilton, will be gathering at the Forecourt of Hamilton City Hall, 71 Main Street, East, Hamilton to participate in the annual commemoration of the Greek Declaration of Independence from the Ottoman Empire.

This annual commemoration is marked on the Sunday closest to March 25th, and commemorates the struggle that the Greek Revolutionaries fought to overcome centuries of foreign religious and secular domination by the Ottoman Empire. In Greece, and in the Greek Diaspora in cities all over the world, this event is marked by the sharing of stories and images that tell the tale of the revolutionaries and the triumphs and tragedies faced by those indomitable spirits.

This year marks the 201st Anniversary of the Greek Declaration of Independence and the Greek Community of Hamilton will offer a prayer service as well as a wreath laying ceremony in the Forecourt of Hamilton’s City Hall, with City of Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Councilor Tom Jackson attending offering remarks as guest speakers. The Greek Community in Hamilton has been observing this event in the City of Hamilton since 1952.

Greek flag flying at Hamilton City Hall

The Greek War of Independence formally began on March 25th, 1821 a date chosen by the revolutionaries that coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The symbolism of this date, marking as it did the traditional day when Mary, the mother of Jesus received news from the Archangel Gabriel that she would have bear the divine child, held a dual purpose, in coinciding with the newly proclaimed independence by the revolutionaries from centuries of tyrannical Ottoman rule.

The Greek War of Independence, spanning the years 1821 to 1830, ended with the signing of the London Protocol, officially recognizing the Modern Greek state. The major powers of the time, including Great Britain, France, Russia, and smaller regional powers such as Egypt participated in the conflict, which served to shift the balance of power in the Eastern Aegean, and with implications which still affect the region today.

There has been a Greek presence in the city of Hamilton and environs before there was a city of Hamilton, with a unique tie to the history of the City of Hamilton. The first documented Greek person arrived in 1833, and her name was Magdalene Diamanti, the daughter of a Governor of an Island in the Aegean Sea. Magdalene’s husband, Colonel Edward Otto Ives, a British military officer, had fought in the King’s Service in the Greek War of Independence waged against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. Upon release from service, Mr. Ives settled on a property in the Dundas Valley which we know as the Hermitage.

The influx of immigrants from Greece occurred in waves; during the beginning of the twentieth century, and larger numbers of immigrants arriving during the 1960’s and, 1970’s. In recent days, a small increase in immigrants has also come to Hamilton given the recent and protracted economic crisis in Greece.

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