[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 154 (2008), Part 1]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages 1525-1526]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. HOWARD L. BERMAN

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, February 6, 2008

  Mr. BERMAN, Madam Speaker, the name Nicholas Royce deserves to be 
added to the list of dedicated Americans who exemplify the spirit of 
achievement. He has earned this recognition for his long and 
outstanding career as a performer, and his devotion to many 
entertainment industry humanitarian causes, typifying the altruism that 
is so much a part of the American character.
  Of special significance is the fact that through his life, he has 
been in the forefront with the independent efforts and advocacy for 
civil, constitutional, human and spiritual rights.
  He was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Theodore and Anastasia 
Vlangas, both natives of Sparta, Greece. At the age of 6 years old his 
family moved to Baltimore, Maryland where he became aware that this 
faith and origin were different from most Americans. Challenged by 
ethnic and religious obstacles, he became motivated to learn every 
truth he could about his faith and his origin.
  With the encouragement of his sister Stella, he made his show 
business debut at the Lord Baltimore Hotel and followed that with a 
successful tour of the east coast during school vacation, and all at 
the age of 14, and with his parents' blessing.
  After high school he entered the Armed Forces and entertained WWII 
vets in the Army base hospitals in the United States and Japan. Because 
of his ethnic look he became known as the Greek Fred Astaire in G.I. 
  The Armed Forces had limited religious choices; Protestant, Catholic 
and Jewish. Where's a poor Greek Orthodox kid to go for religious 
salvation? Thanks to Nicholas and his late friend Senator Leverett 
Saltonstall, representing 500,000 Orthodox Catholics who fought and 
died for the constitution, a bill reached Congress in 1955 to create 
such a place in the military. Today servicemen wear tags designating 
Eastern Orthodoxy and have

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Orthodox chaplains. Thirty-three States quickly recognized Eastern 
Orthodoxy as a major faith.
  After he left the service, the American Legion's Pennsylvanian 
district honored Royce for his continued efforts as an entertainer to 
bring joy to veterans in hospitals.
  After his visit to Turkey in 1965, Royce waged a tireless campaign to 
return St. Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul to an open house of worship 
instead of a museum. It was converted to a mosque in 1453 and Royce 
changed history with that campaign. Thanks to Royce, ``the Orthodox 
Christian cry for help'' has been taken to the United Nations human 
rights office in Geneva, European parliament, European Union, and to 
every religious and world leader and to every President since the 
Carter administration.
  Vlangas became Royce at his agent's request and with his parents' 
blessing, thus following the show business practice of the time. He 
changed his name, but never forgot who he was. Even at the height of 
his career in the late 40s and 50s the Nicholas Royce dancers stood for 
all good things and wowed 'em with Nat King Cole's ``Calypso Blues'', 
and a modern dance number based on ``Harlem Nocturn''. They performed 
in all the top supper clubs, niterys and TV shows; Ed Sullivan, Milton 
Berle, Kate Smith, etc.
  From his new home in California, starting in 1957, Nicholas Royce has 
exercised his rights as a layman of the Orthodox faith. He launched a 
vigorous letter writing campaign to mass media, Government officials, 
private and public agencies, industry and individuals, and he has 
succeeded in broadening the public's understanding and recognition of 
the Orthodox faith. Because ``exclusion of Orthodoxy is a form of 
discrimination and prejudice'', Nicholas has made these efforts, so 
Orthodoxy would be an integral part of American life along with other 
major faiths.
  Retired since 1994, Royce now resides in Valley Village, California. 
Retirement has given him more time to fight for AIDS victims, the 
homeless, and abused women and children. He broke the stereotype by 
joining the Hollywood Women's Press Club, Women in Film, and American 
Women in Radio and TV. In 1996, the University of Minnesota's 
Immigration history Research Center was pleased to announce the 
addition of ``the Nicholas Royce papers'' to their archival library.
  Never one to rest on his laurels, he continues to accept new