NEW YORK – Cyprus’ first lady, Andri Anastasiades, was honored for her dedication to philanthropic activity at the Archdiocesan Cathedral Philoptochos Society’s 62nd Annual Chrysanthemum Ball on November 20.
Archbishop Demetrios offered the invocation assisted by Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos and called God’s blessings upon the Philoptochos members, whom he praised, and all present. He then set the tone by saying “Kali orexi – bon appetit and welcome to this feast of joy and achievement.”
Fox News Anchor Nicole Petallides was the Emcee and Chapter President Dr. Miranda Kofinas was the gracious host at Manhattan’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Kofinas thanked the event’s volunteers, especially the chairs, Catherine Moutousis, who served as chapter president for four of the past six years, Carlene Soumas, Rena Melis, and the honorary chair, Anthea Philippou, wife of the Consul General of Cyprus Vasilios Philippou.
“Dear friends, you all know of the work this Philoptochos has been doing for 121 years – longer than the Ethnikos Kirix,” Kofinas said, prompting laughter from her friend Publisher-Editor Antonis Diamataris, who attended with his wife, Litsa.
Petallides, both of whose parents were born in Cyprus, expressed her pride in the perseverance and dignity the people of Cyprus have shown during the financial crisis invited everyone to visit the beautiful island.
Fr. Vlahos asked Mrs. Philippou to introduce the first lady, of whom he said “she is indeed a faithful, genuine and dignified first lady and I am so pleased we are honoring her this evening.”
Philippou, who met her husband at a Philoptochos event, said Anastasiades “epitomizes everything Philoptochos embodies…which I think is quiet giving.” She then announced “a little surprise for her, a person message from Vice President Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden.
After congratulating Philoptochos for “serving as an example…of charitable work…and playing a very important role in making the world a better place,” Biden said “it’s a pleasure to personally recognize…the First Lady…for her long time involvement with a number of social and philanthropic activities and for her leadership in various charitable foundations,” such as Cyprus’ Independent Social Support Body (ISSB),” which she was instrumental in establishing, to whose support the Cathedra Philoptochos supported with a $10,000 contribution.
Anastasiades told the guests, “It is truly a great pleasure and honor to be among you tonight,” and proceeded to list some of the causes supported by Philoptochos in America, as well as “much needed assistance to Greece and Cyprus.” She then praised Archbishop Demetrios for his leadership and unwavering support for Cyprus.
She acknowledged the Archbishop was “the first to embrace and support my vision for the establishment of the ISSB, which she said was vital to its success.
The Body provides financial support to students facing difficulties can complete their university studies. She is proud of the transparency and effectiveness of its operations.
Anastasiades expressed her delight in being honored at an event “that provides us with an opportunity to unite different generations under the umbrella of generosity” which in the Orthodox Christian faith begins with leading by example, and concluded by saying “I accept this award on behalf of all Cypriots,” and by thanking Philoptochos “for this unforgettable night.”
Archbishop Demetrios began his remarks with “thank you for the opportunity to be with [our beloved] and heroic people of Cyprus.
He said of Anastasiades “she is involved in every imaginable philanthropic work but emphasized the nobility of her support for university students and listed reasons for praising the ISSB as a model organization, including clarity of purpose, transparency, and accountability. The Archbishop also praised the members of Philoptochos, noting scriptural bases for their efforts, 1) The Good Samaritan and his example of non-discrimination and full social service, 2) St. Paul’s praise for the cheerful not grudging giver, 3) faith that love is above everything, that love never fails, and 4) the knowledge that doing the good never makes one tired, that the harvest of makes the toil of sowing worthwhile.
Fr. Vlahos thanked Philoptochos and Kofinas for her work and the guests from came from all over the Northeast, but he was especially excited by the huge turnout for the affiliated event, Young Professionals Connect for Charity. After 10PM, the partition between the sit down dinner and the latter buffet event opened, flooding the packed Grand Salon with 360 more people and prompting Fr. Vlahos to say “we have plenty of young professional here with us today. God bless you. We are one family together and we love you and we know you will continue to make us proud.”
Cathedral Trustee Justin Bozonelis, who spearheaded the youth event greeted everyone and thanked all who contributed to its success.
With an extra jolt of kefi from the youth and the music Mylos Entertainment featuring singer Olympia Milonas and DJ Sava, the agenda shifted to dancing
The ball is the Cathedral Philoptochos’ main annual fundraising event for its charitable activities. Kofinas announced the chapter raises $100,000 annually, which is given to needy people. A portion of the Ball’s proceeds will be contributed to the Feed the Children charity.
The members of the diplomatic corps included Cyprus UN Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou, Cyprus’ Ambassador to the U.S. George Chacalis, Greece’s UN Ambassador Catherine Boura, and Consul General of Greece Amb. George Iliopoulos, accompanied by his wife, Anthousa.
President of HANAC Nikitas Drakotos, a great Philoptochos Admirer, echoed many guests, telling TNH “It was beautiful,” and Andreas Comodromos, founding President of the Cyprus – US Chamber of Commerce agreed, adding, “it is a special honor for us Cypriots to see Philoptochos honor the first lady.”