NEW YORK – AHEPA Delphi Chapter #25 of Manhattan honored His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at their annual dinner gala at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park on October 21.
The event began with appetizers and cocktails, followed by the speeches and award presentation, and a formal dinner. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Nicole Petallides, the well-known news presenter, while soprano Anastasia Zanis performed the American and Greek National Anthems. His Eminence then gave the invocation.
Petallides addressed Archbishop Elpidophoros noting that the community is excited about the goals he has set and intends “to support both you and the promotion of your goals.”
She added, "The exciting news is that AHEPA has raised $1 million to build the historic St. Nicholas Church and His Eminence will lead us there, to the World Trade Center, in 2021 on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11."
A number of speakers gave details on AHEPA's contributions since its inception and on the Archbishop's Christian ethos and his contribution to Orthodoxy. Among the speakers at the event was Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, AHEPA Chapter #25 President George Eliopoulos, Chairman of the Board of Governors and past chapter president Louis Katsos, and AHEPA Supreme President George Horiates.
Consul General Koutras said, "I take this opportunity to congratulate the members of AHEPA on their initiative to honor our Archbishop tonight. AHEPA's mission is to promote Hellenism and Orthodoxy. Although His Excellency's ascension to the Archdiocese is very recent, expectations for his work are at the same time very high. And they are high because we have confidence in his ability to achieve his goals."
"I am very proud to preside over such a historic chapter," George Eliopoulos, Chapter President, said. He noted that "what we do and what we accomplish reveals who we are as human beings. Thank you all for your trust and generous support."
Katsos, referred to the history and mission of AHEPA, its’ founding in 1922 when the Hellenic community in the United States faced open hostility and racism. He noted the discrimination and attacks from the Ku Klux Klan, the anti-Hellenism characterized by violence and boycotting of Hellenic-owned businesses. In response to these extreme phenomena, and in order to help Greek immigrants, AHEPA was founded.
He also mentioned the upcoming Oxi Day, October 28, noting that it was a turning point in World War II and also for the Hellenes living in the United States whose image changed from then on and through AHEPA and its contributions to the war effort as this year marks the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII.
Supreme President Horiates, referring to the Archbishop, noted in his speech, "Your Eminence, you are here to be honored by us, but in reality, you are honoring us all with your presence."
"Thank you all for your warm welcome," said Archbishop Elpidophoros of America after accepting the award. "For many years I have seen the tremendous work AHEPA has produced, not only in America but around the world," he added, while praising the ideal combination of love and Orthodox faith that distinguishes the organization's spirit of giving.
Among those present at the event were Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou, John Catsimatidis and his wife Margot, Fr. Alex Karloutsos, AHEPA Executive Director Basil Mossaidis, President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies Cleanthis Meimaroglou, Atlantic Bank President Nancy Papaioannou, and Chryssa Avrami.