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General News

AHEPA Sunday at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Whitestone

WHITESTONE, NY – AHEPA Sunday was observed at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Whitestone on May 19 as the Andreas T. Stamboulidis Parthenon AHEPA Chapter No. 495 presented two scholarships to deserving students and also honored the Chapter’s namesake, the late Andreas T. Stamboulidis.

Following the Divine Liturgy, Holy Cross presiding priest Fr. Nicolaos Paros read the Archepiscopal Encyclical on AHEPA Sunday by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros which noted that “on this AHEPA Sunday, when the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America celebrates the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, let us give thanks to God for AHEPA’s resilience and commitment to Hellenic causes worldwide. Not only is AHEPA a tremendous supporter of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Mother Church of Constantinople, but the members and friends of AHEPA champion both Greece and Cyprus in the halls of American power. Especially this year, when we observe the tragic fiftieth anniversary of the unjust and illegal Turkish invasion of the sovereign island Nation of Cyprus, the voice of AHEPA is needed now more than ever.”

“We all know the members of AHEPA to be faithful members of our Church and parishes,” the Encyclical continued. “They are our neighbors, our friends and our family. That is why we reserve the third Sunday of May as AHEPA Sunday, to recognize these fellow Hellenes of the Diaspora for the amazing contributions they have made to the Omogeneia and to our Hellenic roots.”

Holy Cross Whitestone Sunday School also held its graduation on May 19. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

“Therefore, let us take this opportunity to acknowledge AHEPA in every parish across the country, celebrating the history and impact of this marvelous organization of the Greek-American experience with gratitude and appreciation for their most significant contributions to the Church and the Omogeneia,” the Encyclical concluded.

AHEPA Chapter 495’s Antonios Samartzis then presented the scholarships to Demosthenes Kaiafas and Spyridon Argyros and congratulated their parents and Holy Cross Greek School Principal Christina Makridis who was not present but was represented by Greek School Pre-K teacher Maria Haralambou.

AHEPA District 6 Governor Petros Ragoussis then presented a lifetime achievement award posthumously to Andreas T. Stamboulidis, one of the founders of the chapter that now bears his name. Ragoussis noted that Stamboulidis was a pilot in the Greek Air Force. He immigrated to the U.S., graduated from City College in New York, worked in the administration of New York City Mayor Ed Koch and was instrumental in the Greek Independence Parade. “He worked tirelessly in promoting AHEPA” Ragoussis said of Stamboulidis, adding that he was also a founding member of the Holy Cross community. The award was accepted by his son, AHEPA Past Supreme Governor for Region 3 Ted Stamas, who was visibly moved by the honor and the words of praise for his late father.

Left to right: Holy Cross Whitestone Greek School teacher Maria Haralambou, Sam Karalis, Dimitris Skartsiaris, Antonios Samartzis, Fr. Nicolaos Paros, scholarship recipient Demosthenes Kaiafas, AHEPA District 6 Governor Petros Ragoussis, and scholarship recipient Spyridon Argyros. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Fr. Paros then congratulated all the members of AHEPA and said “may his memory be eternal” for Andreas Stamboulidis, noting that he was an example to all, giving back to the community with love, like the sacrificial love of our Lord.

Holy Cross Sunday School Principal Joanna Kyriacou then presented the certificates to all the students on their graduation day, congratulating them and reminding them that while the Sunday School year is over until classes resume in the fall, there is still church every Sunday. She also noted that the Sunday School continues to expand with 60 children enrolled this year and encouraged parents to sign their children up for next year as well.

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