Left to right: Ioannis Katsimbaris, Dimitris Matsamakis, Consul General Emmanuel Koubarakis, Consul Georgia Tasiopoulou. Photo: Courtesy of Mario Mihas
DETROIT – The American Hellenic Congress of Michigan (AHC) invited the new Consul General of Greece in Chicago Emmanuel Koubarakis and his wife, Consul Georgia Tasiopoulou, to visit Michigan March 12-13 for the first time after their accreditation in October 2021. Consul General Koubarakis arrived in Michigan along with his family and consular employee Konstantina Tagkli.
The aim of the AHC is to coordinate the efforts of the Hellenic-American community at local, state, and national level to promote Hellenistic values and ideals. The goal shall be achieved through functions and activities, which include social, cultural, ethnic and educational events of Hellenic values and ideals.
The program organized by the AHC included a visit of the Hellenic Museum of Michigan in midtown of Detroit, a meet-and-greet event at St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church in Sterling Heights, a dinner in honor of the Consul General and his wife at the Marriott Hotel in Troy, MI, and attendance at the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Troy on Sunday. Koubarakis and his family attended two additional dinners invited by Detroit businessmen Jim Papas at the Pegasus Taverna in Greektown and Denis Kefallinos at the Watermark Bar and Grill in St. Clair Shores. The events were also co-sponsored by businessman George Dimopoulos of Northville.
At the Museum, the visitors from Chicago were welcomed by members of the board of the Museum, President Jim Andriotakis, founding member and director of operations Joan Deronne, interim director Kathryn Dimond, and others. Koubarakis was impressed by the variety of artifacts, especially of the old photos from the 1940s and 1950s, the Sacred Beauty iconography exhibition and the Pastoral Songs exhibition with its iconic loom, and other items on view.
The meet-and-greet event at St. John’s was open to the public with over 100 compatriots present. After welcoming remarks by AHC Chairman Dimitris Matsamakis and a short presentation on the biographies of the Consul General and his wife the Consul, Koubarakis presented the tasks and services of the Greek Consulate General in Chicago and opened the discussion to questions from the public. Greeks and Greek-Americans of various generations and educational background asked questions about a variety of topics and issues for over three hours. The majority of the questions were answered that evening, others were noted down for email or phone responses. Consular employee Tagkli also worked for four hours in the church office to help 15 citizens with administrative tasks. Fr. Nick Kyritses was instrumental in providing the facilities and helping to make this event possible. Attendees left with a feeling of enthusiasm about the services provided by the Consulate General and that the representatives of the Hellenic State in Chicago are ready to help the Greek community with any questions and issues. Solutions can be readily expected.
The dinner organized by the AHC in honor of Koubarakis and Tasiopoulou was held in a celebratory setting at the Marriott in Troy. His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, Fr. Paul Patitsas, Protopresbyter of St. Nicholas, Troy, AHEPA Supreme Governor Region 5 Dimitris Papageorgiou, and about 30 representatives from the Greek community associations and businesses of the greater metropolitan area of Southeastern Michigan attended the event.
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Troy, where he was joined by Koubarakis and his family as well as Ms. Tagkli. Consul General Koubarakis joined the procession of the icons along with the children of the parish. The priests of the Church presented him with an icon of St. Nicholas. He also joined the coffee social, meeting and discussing various topics with the parishioners.
AHC Chairman Dimitris Matsamakis and Vice-Chairman Ioannis Katsimbaris said in statement that “this initial visit by the new Consul General of Greece in Chicago and his wife the Consul marked a new relationship of the representatives of the Hellenic State with the omogeneia of Michigan. It was more than a visit; it initiated a new ‘trust’ and enabled a new ‘dialogue’ between the Hellenic State and its citizens in the Greek diaspora of Michigan! It was a joyful and primarily fruitful visit of which we hope there will be more to come!”
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