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Archbishop Demetrios Honored at 65th Annual Chrysanthemum Ball (Video)

November 21, 2018
Vasilis Voultsos

NEW YORK – The Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Philoptochos Society held its 65th Annual Chrysanthemum Ball at Manhattan’s historic Metropolitan Club on November 16. The event honored His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
The Chrysanthemum Ball, which marks the beginning of the autumn season for the Philoptochos, is one of the organization’s most important sources of revenue to continue to carry out its charitable work.

Among the honored guests were the Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations Ambassador Maria Theofili, the Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral Rev. Fr. John Vlahos with his wife Presvytera Tina Vlahos, the Reverend Robert Stephanopoulos and his wife the Presvytera Nikki Stephanopoulos, philanthropist Mary Jaharis, Philoptochos Direct Archdiocesan District President Jennifer Constantin, and Cathedral Board President James Gianakis.

Carol Contos and Lilian Johnson, the chairpersons of the Ball, welcomed the guests, while Fr. Vlahos lead the prayer which officially kicked off the event. Philoptochos President, Dr. Miranda Kofinas, welcomed the attendees, “It is a great pleasure and honor to welcome you to the 2018 Chrysanthemum Ball, honoring His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America. The Philoptochos of the Cathedral recognizes and appreciates the efforts and the work of Mary Jaharis. We also thank the committee and those who helped organize tonight’s gala. The Chrysanthemum Ball is not only a celebration, but also an opportunity to gather both the necessary funds for our organization and to inform the public about our mission. Every year an army of women spreads faith, hope, and love”

“In addition to supporting those affected by the fires that hit Attica last summer, the New York chapter of the Philoptochos also has a homeless support program and provides a range of other services, including financial assistance to students, the poor and the elderly,” she said.

“Tonight, we celebrate our Spiritual Father [Archbishop Demetrios], for his outstanding leadership and humanitarian work,” Dr. Kofinas concluded.

George Tsandikos, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, spoke about the life of the Archbishop. His Eminence was born Demetrios Trakatellis in Thessaloniki. In 1950, he graduated with distinction from the Theological School of the University of Athens. He was ordained a deacon in 1960, a priest in 1964, and became bishop on September 17, 1967. After obtaining two PhD degrees from Harvard University and the University of Athens, respectively, he taught at the Holy Cross Theology School and at Harvard. After his election in the summer of 1999, Demetrios Trakatellis was appointed Archbishop of America on September 18, 1999.

After receiving his award, His Eminence expressed his sincere thanks to all the speakers, as well as to all the women of the Philoptochos.

He said, “I am deeply obliged to the Greek-American immigrants as well as to the Philoptochos. I have known about the Philoptochos since the years of my youth – since just after World War II. After arriving in the United States, I became even closer to the Philoptochos. Ever since then, wherever I am, I always mention and commend its praiseworthy work. The ladies of the Philoptochos are an army of twenty-five thousand, who provide unceasingly to those less fortunate, impressing everyone – Greeks and non-Greeks alike.”

“The Philoptochos was not created for the first time in the twentieth century, but in the first century after Christ,” noted Archbishop Demetrios. “In St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul offers a long list of influential people, including women, in the ecclesiastical community. This long and important list of female names proves that the Philoptochos has had a long history lasting over twenty centuries.”

The Archbishop concluded his speech by stating that the “historians of the future will mention the names of the Philoptochos women with the same appreciation and respect as St. Paul.”

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