The Teacher of Astoria, Constantine Parthenis, Dies at 92

The late Constantine Parthenis, the Teacher of Astoria. Photo by Costas Bej

The Teacher of Astoria – as Kostas (Constantine) Parthenis was known to his students, colleagues, and by extension the entire community of Saint Demetrios Astoria – is no longer among us.

On Friday, November 3, he passed away surrounded by his children and grandchildren at his bedside. A viewing was held on Monday afternoon, at the Antonopoulos Funeral Home in Astoria.

On Tuesday, November 7, the funeral trisagion was chanted in the Cathedral of Saint Demetrios Astoria. His funeral will take place in his own home town of Tholos Potami, Chios.

His death is the result of the children of Petros and Rosemary Parthenis, Litsa and Panagiotis Orissis, Smaragdi and George Katopis, the grandchildren Pantelis, Christina, Antonios, Katerina, Maria, and Theodoris, Sofia, and Marios, Maria, as well as sister Eleni Giannoumis, sister-in-law Chrysoula Psyllou, and other relatives here and in Greece.

The deceased was born in 1925 in the Tholos Potami, Chios. In 1947, he graduated from the Pedagogical Academy and began his teaching at a school in Chios, but soon he was called up for military service in World War II. He attended the Reserve Officers School and then participated in the battles of Beles, Albania where he was injured. After three years, he was discharged with the rank of lieutenant.

Parthenis was appointed to schools in Macedonia and in 1956 he came to America and taught a year at a Philadelphia school. In 1957, when the Day School of St. Demetrios Astoria was founded, he took over the management of the Greek program as well as the Greek Afternoon School.

He was a scholar unlike others, not only with a degree from the Pedagogical Academy, but also from the Hunter College Department of Classical Studies.

In 1953, he married Maria Kontaroudis with whom he had three children, Petros, Litsa, and Smaragdi, and only death was able to part them in three decades.

The deceased passionately served Greek education for five whole decades. In the last four decades he served in the schools of the Cathedral of St. Demetrios Astoria and in 1994, the National Herald honored him as Educator of the Year.

At the same time, he has been honored by the Tholopotamousion Association of Chios, by the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus”, where he served three terms as chairman, from the Holy Archbishopric with the Apostle Paul Medal and from the Panchiako Korais Society of New York, and other Greek-speaking organizations.

The late Parthenis served with passion the Panchiako Association and played a catalytic role in the award of the Association by the Academy of Athens, as well as the donations of the Association to Greek day and afternoon schools. Panchiakos awarded him at the 97th anniversary of its founding.

Maria Makedon- Director of the Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education & Special Projects, spoke with TNH, congratulating the “Historic Korais Panchiako Association, not only because it decided to honor the teacher of teachers in our Greek community, but also because for years now he financially supports the schools of our community, whether they are daily or afternoon. Besides, the financial support of the schools of our community, adopted by your Association, was the idea of ​​Constantine Parthenis.”

The presentation of the honorary plaque to Constantine Parthenis was made on behalf of Korais by Christoforos Stratakis, who said “Constantine Parthenis will remain the teacher, wise, beloved, and a patriot.”