19 May, 2004
NEW YORK 19/5/2004 (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. who is currently on an official visit to the United States, held a meeting here on Tuesday with Archbishop of America Demetrios.
During their one-hour meeting, they discussed the role of the Church and the strengthening of the Greek-American community.
The prime minister stressed that the role of the church is very important not only for the spiritual work it offers but also as a strong spiritual link between Greece and the Greek-American community which lives and works in the United States. Karamanlis described the work of Archbishop Demetrios as important and opportune and congratulated him for this.
On his part, the Archbishop of America said that they discussed, but not in great depth, the dispute between the Church of Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, noting characteristically, "whatever difficulty and whatever problem exists must be solved and will be solved. This is clear."
Demetrios wished Karamanlis every success in his visit to the U.S. and stressed that they exchanged views and thoughts on the modern needs of Greece and of the Greek-American community, underlining that one fifth of the Greek population lives in the United States.
Referring to issues regarding the education of the Greek-American community, he said they are continuing to be resolved and that the efforts never stop.
Natassa Karamanli, wife of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, visited Greek community schools in Astoria, New York, on Tuesday as her husband continued his official visit to the United States.
She was given a guided tour of school premises and spoke to pupils in Greek, while members of the Greek community and parents gave her a warm welcome.
"These buildings and these schools were created with the expatriates' money," said one school official who called on Karamanli to convey the Greek American community's "optimistic message."
She said in reply to the affection shown to her "I am much moved and very happy. You are worthy of praise and congratulations. You are a small Greece in a great country and you are making this small Greece proud."
Natassa Karamanli was accompanied on her visits by the Archbishop of America Demetrios and by the wife of the Greek ambassador to Washington Maria Savvaidou.
Source: Athens News Agency