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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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Greek Heritage Festival Photos

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    Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Saco, Maine, USA 10-12 July 2009

Halki Seminary

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    The Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki is located on the Turkish island known as Heyelbiada in the Bosporus straits. It was closed in 1971 by the Turkish government and is the subject of much controversy since it is the only seminary in Turkey and the position of Ecumenical Patriarch can only be filled by a Turkish citizen. Sign the petition to reopen it at

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14 November 2009



These photos are great. I just ordered the DVD. Looking forward to seeing it. Thanks!!!


You will not regret it.


Those photos are so inspirational. It makes me so proud to see Hellenes in the United States succeed. They inspire the rest of the diaspora and Greeks in Greece as well. The one with Archbishop Iakovos and Dr Martin Luther King, and the other with the Greek Battalion, are unbelievable. My aim in the next few years is to visit some of my cousins in the United States and my travels will take me to New York, Chicago and Florida. I'd really love to see up close the way the Greek community has fared in the United States and draw parallels with the Greek community in Australia.

My maternal great grandfather migrated to the United States in the 1890s (as a teenager) and again in 1920s with his two eldest daughters. He returned to Greece and left them behind; both married Greek brother doctors in New York. My grandfather didn't follow his sisters' example and remained in Greece. His children (including my mother) migrated to Australia in the early 1960s.

Stavros, I'm writing my family's history and I've gathered some great information from Ellis Island Foundation. The United States has some great archives available for those researching family histories. I'm assuming they would also have many pictured depicting the activities of the Greek community as well.

Unfortunately I haven't had much luck with the records in Greece. Many (especially in the rural regions) were destroyed as a result of the Occupation in WW2 and subsequent civil war. I would assume there were very little records kept before the foundation of the modern Greek state, so anything before the 1820s you'd probably have to visit Ottoman records (if they exist on Greece) and I'm not sure how detailed they would be.

I've had some success with documenting up to three generations back. My paternal great grandfather fought in the Balkan Wars and the Asia Minor campaign. My paternal grandfather fought in Albania with the Hellenic Armed Forces in 1940-41 and was present in the liberation of many of our villages in Northern Epirus. Unfortunately, we are having trouble uncovering more information. The Hellenic Armed Forces has been helpful and hopefully I'll be able to gather some more details of my great grandfather and grandfather's participation. The latter rarely discussed his role in the war with my father and uncles (war can silence even the strongest of men). As the oldest male in my family, I share his name. I feel that by documenting his history, it will bring me closer to the grandfather I never met and my children to their heritage.

Με πατριωρικους χαιρετισμους,



So glad you like them. I highly recommend the DVD they came from which speaks to the Greek immigrant experience irregardless of where that experience took place.

In reading your comments I am struck by how your experiences and hopes mirror my own. They are of course the impetus behind this blog.

Your family history like mine reflects our shared history as a people, the sum of all the success and failures of the Greek world through the centuries. I too used to look for bits and pieces of my family history, sifting through things for clues and trying to find that nugget of gold. I remember well the first time I read by grandfather's name, which I share, on the passenger manifest from the ship he sailed to America on in 1907. I ran my fingers over his name with tears streaming down my cheeks.

I used to feel like a big piece of me was missing. That I was a rootless dispossessed person who was condemned like those before me to wander from place to place. I have a good friend who can trace her lineage back for centuries. She lives in the same place that generations of her family have called home. I've always envied that kind of permanence.

What I have discovered since then is that even though I may not know all their names or live in the same place they called home, my ancestors passed on a much greater gift to me and to you.

They gave us the priceless gift of shared traditions, culture and above all faith. Your history is my history and my history is your history. All we have to do is open the door that leads us to it.

If you have the time please read this. I think you will understand what I am talking about.

Ευτυχισμενος ο καινουργιος χρονος!

George T. Karnezis

A brilliant site and a real gift for those of us who need to help ourselves and others attend to the past, especially beyond the death of Alexander


Thank you George. Na se kala.


What has "America" ever done for Greece?


America opened its doors to large numbers of Greeks that Greece failed. Not all of them came only from Greece, they came from the huge expanse of the Greek world. They came from Asia Minor, Northern Epirus, Egypt, Russia, Cyprus, not to mention from hundreds of forgotten small villages in Greece proper where they could barely eke out a living. They came for a better life. A life where they could live free unencumbered by the circumstances of their birth. A place where they could get away from Turkish and Communist fanatics among others. Where they could pray without fear and see their children grow and prosper.

This is my family's story and the story of many in the great Greek Diaspora to the United States of America.

Greece let us down even though we always loved her and still do. America embraced us and we do not forget.


Great. But what has America done for the state of Greece...


The sooner Greeks stop expecting other nations to do something for them the sooner that the Greek state will finally find itself on a firm footing.

BTW, I believe it was the US that stepped in and helped save Greece from turning Communist. See how well that turned out for Eastern Europe.

Petros Thorp

Stavros, how could I acquire permission to use some of these archival images for some drawings? You can visit here to see what I do

I also have quite a few images from Constantinople at the link bellow.

Thank you,
Petros Thorp



I would contact the makers of the documentary they are from, google the title for more info.

BTW, awesome drawings, you are very talented especially the one of Father Christodoulos, a friend.

Best wishes for continued success.

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