ASTORIA – The sanctification and inauguration of the Sts. Constantine and Helen chapel took place on the ground floor of St. Catherine and St. George Church in Astoria on June 3 immediately following the Divine Liturgy.
Konstantinos (Gus) Antonopoulos, funeral director, and son of Protopresvyteros of the church, Father Ioannis Antonopoulos, donated the chapel in memory of his mother, Presvytera Katerina.
“We thank Konstantinos Antonopoulos. We all remember Presvytera Katerina and we know the work of Father Ioannis. It is a contribution to all of us. What happens in the Church is for all of us. We are a spiritual family here in the Church, let’s not forget it. Kostas paid for all the expenses of the chapel,” Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos said on the occasion of the chapel’s inauguration.
Dozens of parishioners who know the Antonopoulos family remained in the courtyard of the Church, to honor their contribution to the Community.
“All I will say is that the most important thing we have is our faith. Also, we must always remember and honor our mother and father. In the end everyone leaves, and we will leave. What remains is the works that we will leave for future generations,” Konstantinos Antonopoulos told The National Herald, visibly moved by the event.
Mr. Antonopoulos’ wife, Melanie, as well as his two daughters, Katerina and Ioanna, were also present. His father, Fr. Ioannis Antonopoulos, also known as “Astoria’s priest” for his years of service to the Greek enclave in Queens, said, “I have been in Astoria since 1967. I have been here for 51 years. I have heard no complaints from the Astorians, they have treated me well and have never said a bad word about me.” Immediately following, Fr. Papazafiropoulos and the priests chanted the “Axios” acknowledging his contributions.
“It is something that had to be done, not only by us, who are responsible for the operation of the church. There was a need for a chapel in order for the people to come in during the day and to light a candle instead of having to go all the way up to the main church. I’m glad my son, Kostas, decided to do it. For me it is symbolic, because together we celebrated the memory of his mother, Presvytera Katerina. We lived a beautiful life for 51 years. I loved them all, the Astorians treated me well and I never had a complaint from anyone,” Fr. Antonopoulos told TNH later on.
The consecration was presided over by Fr. Papazafiropoulos, while immediately afterwards, one by one, Fr. Ioannis and Konstantinos Antonopoulos greeted everyone on the way to the Cultural Center for refreshments.
“It is a great honor for us who are here to give back to our community. It is an honor that all these people are here. We love them all and we want to give back,” concluded Mr. Antonopoulos.
Konstantinos Antonopoulos is the second of Fr. Ioannis and Presvytera Katerina’s four children. He runs the Antonopoulos Funeral Home together with his brother Thomas Antonopoulos, and although he was born in the U.S., speaks fluent Greek.