NEW YORK – When Aphrodite Skeadas asks for something, it is hard to say no. It is one of the secrets to her success as National President of Philoptochos over the past six years, but sooner or later her friends and admirers were going to finally say no to her request that she not be honored in any way.
The ever popular Chrysanthemum Ball of Holy Trinity Cathedral’s Philoptochos Society was the occasion for a beautiful tribute to the woman who has led the Church’s philanthropic arm to new heights. Naturally, he only agreed to accept the award on behalf of Philoptochos and was most delighted that Grand Ballroom of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Club was the stage for the announcement of a $10,000 donation to the National Philoptochos Department of Social Services.
The guests were also overjoyed to learn that next door, in the Club’s grand foyer, more than 300 Young Professionals also gathered celebrate the work of Philoptochos. The group presented Rachel Lloyd, the founder of GEMS, an organization which helps girls and woman who are victims of sex trafficking, with a $6000 check.
It was announced that event organized and hosted by chairman Justin Bozonelis and co-chairman Stephanie Pantelides was the biggest Greek-American young professionals event in the United States this year.
The invocation for the ball was offered by Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, representing Archbishop Demetrios, who was unable to addend due to a pastoral visit to the Metropolis of Pittsburgh. His Grace was assisted by Fr. John Vlahos, the new Dean of the Cathedral. Among the special guests were the diplomatic corps of Greece and Cyprus, and Rev. Dr. Robert Stephanopoulos, Cathedral Dean Emeritus, and Presbytera Nikki Stephanopoulos.
“It is a joy and a privilege to share this evening with my Philoptochos co-workers, she said, and thanked Catherine Moutoussis, the President of the Cathedral Philoptochos and all al who played a role in “creating this magnificent and magical evening.”
After citing the current turmoil around the world, “today, “today, yesterday and 2000 years ago, peace and harmony elude s,” and adding that hunger, injustice and “heartless, violence are rampant,” she pointed out that “we, however, live in comfort and privilege, where human rights and religious freedoms are respected.”
Skeadas then said that Philoptochos was established by then-Archbishop Athenagoras in 1931 “to offer love…today…this army of volunteers throughout America…assists the needy through their extensive, Christ-centered mission-base.”
After noting that the Archdiocesan Cathedral pre-dated the national society, Skeadas thanked its members “for honoring the cherished values of our pioneering mothers, yiayias, and god mothers, and being their successors, championing the disadvantage, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and comforting the abused.”
“This is why I applaud you…our Philoptochos is a constellation of faith, hope and love” and she then urged those who were not members: “Join us!”
Moutoussis welcomed the guests and expressed her gratitude and congratulations to Skeadas. Maria Marinakis, who co-chaired the Ball with Dr. Miranda Kofinas, introduced Skeadas. Later in the program Maria Logus, the new national president, and Bishop Sevastianos also expressed their congratulations in remarks.
Skeadas’ husband Peter told TNH “I am here to honor Aphrodite and Philoptochos and its 27,000 stewards… I thank the Cathedral Philoptochos, but I also want to thank TNH for supporting Philoptochos and Aphrodite from the start…I recall a photo taken in this very building and TNH writing about Aphrodite more than six years ago.”
Michael Psaros told TNH “I have had the privilege of knowing Aphrodite for 15 years at the Church of Our Savior in Rye, NY. She is an inspiration to all the living embodiment of our word Philotimo.”
Evangeline Douris, the president of HANAC told THH “I had to have my entire Executive Board here. This lady has done a remarkable job and this lady deserves to be honored in this most royal way. She is a credit to the whole Greek-American community. Bravo and axia!”