NEW YORK – The Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce (HACC), Hellenic Medical Society of New York (HMSNY), Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce (CUSCC), Hellenic Professional Women Inc. (HPW), Hellenic Lawyers Association (HLA), and HABA - Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance held their annual Traditional Cutting of the Vasilopita at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity hall in Manhattan on January 8.
Costas Kellas, member of the HABA Board of Directors, gave the welcoming remarks, wished everyone a Happy New Year for 2019, and thanked all those who helped organize the event, including the Cathedral management for making the space available for the eighth year in a row. Mr. Kellas introduced the leaders and representatives of each organization, HACC President Markos Drakotos, HABA Vice President Robert Savage, HLA President Chrisanthy N. Zapantis-Melis, HMSNY President Dr. Panagiotis Manolas, HPW President Maria Frantzis, and CUSCC President Nicolas Nicolaou, who each offered their best wishes for the New Year.
Dr. Manolas referred to Dr. Peter Diamandis’ speech at the recent HMSNY Scientific Symposium and Scholarship Awards in which he noted the abundance all around us. His advice for the New Year, “Don’t be depressed, don’t watch the news, and the Greek community is healthy and is going to be healthier in 2019 as we work together.”
CUSCC President Nicolas Nicolaou also wished everyone “a Happy New Year with health, happiness, and prosperity,” but also took a moment to acknowledge the passing of Nikos Mouyiaris.
Nicolaou said, “Our community lost one of its leaders, Nikos Mouyiaris. I had the privilege to work with him for four years, he was one of the founding members of the Cyprus Chamber, he was on the board, he’s leaving behind a huge gap in the community, and a legend. Nikos will be remembered for three things, first, he was an entrepreneur, he built an amazing company, Mana Products, he founded it in 1975 with $6,000 loaned from his brother, and Mana Products today is one of the leading manufacturers of color cosmetics in the world, you ladies wearing makeup today are probably wearing some Mana products. The second one is that he was an amazing Hellene, everything he did was about Hellenism. HALC [Hellenic American Leadership Council] is one of best things he’s ever done and he’s leaving a big legacy behind. The third thing is being a philanthropist. He made a lot of money but he gave his money to great causes. I think for Nikos, what I’m asking for everyone is to keep him in your memory, he is a legend, he set an example for us, so let’s do what he has done.”
Fr. John Vlahos, Dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, gave the blessing and his best wishes for the New Year. He noted that “We are very hopeful for a blessed and wonderful 2019. Of all the quotes that God said in the Old Testament and our Lord Jesus in the New Testament, the most frequent statement by God is do not be afraid, do not fear, that’s the message that God gives to all of us, so may 2019 be a year in which we starve our fears and we feed our faith. This is what’s going to propel us forward, not to be victims of fearful things, but to go forward, hopefully, faithfully, together, as Greek Orthodox.”
A total of six vasilopites were cut at the event with Dr. Lorraine Chrisomalis-Valasiadis finding the first lucky coin. HPW President Maria Frantzis also found one of the coins.
The food was provided by Zenon Taverna and included traditional Greek and Cypriot favorites, pastitsio, keftedes, sheftalies, cheese and spinach pies, and for dessert, the famous dachtila- filled with nuts and dripping with syrup. Sam Catechis of Stellar Importing provided the wines at the event.
Also present, Dr. George Liakeas, Dr. Stella Lymberis, HABA President Fanny Trataros, Lou Katsos, Argyris Argitakos, Emmanuel Caravanos, Sophia Prountzos, Anastasia Figetakis, and many professionals and members of the community.