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Church

Consul General of Greece Visits St. Philip Parish in Nashua, NH

BOSTON – Consul General of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos made a visit on Sunday, March 10, to the St. Philip parish in the city of Nashua, NH. It is the first time in the last fifty years that a Consul General visited the community, while according to some, it was the first time ever that a representative of Greece visited the community.

The Consul General of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos participating in the Divine Liturgy in the nave of St. Philip in Nashua, NH. Shown are Demetrios Mattheos president of the Evoikos Society of Boston and his wife Despina. Photos TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

Tegos arrived in the morning at the nave of St. Philip and participated in the Divine Liturgy. After the Liturgy, the presiding priest of the parish, Fr. Paul Bebis, welcomed Tegos with warm words, saying among other things, that “it is a great joy and a special honor – the visit and the presence of His Excellency Consul General of Greece, Mr. Symeon Tegos, to our community, whom we welcome with all our love and appreciation.” Fr. Bebis, along with the president of the parish council presented Tegos with a souvenir of his visit, an icon of Saint Philip the Apostle, the patron saint of the parish.

The presiding priest of St. Philip parish Fr. Paul Bebis and the president of the Parish Council George Efthymiou offered an icon of St. Philip to Consul General of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos. Photos TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

The Consul General addressed a brief greeting to the congregation, expressing the interest, love, and affection of Mother Greece, and emphasized that he is always by the side of the community and the Greek-American Community in general. He congratulated Fr. Paul, the president of the Parish Council, George Efthymiou, and the members of the Parish Council, the Philoptochos, the organizations, and generally the officials and especially the members of the community “for the progress of the community in recent years.”

Stella Bloom member of the Parish Council, George Ethymiou parish council president and Dr. John Dagianis with Consul General of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos. Photos TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

He toured the church facilities and then attended a reception and light meal prepared by the community in his honor in the community hall. The parishioners welcomed him with enthusiasm and rushed to speak to him, while many mentioned some of their issues in Greece, regarding inheritance and other matters. Young men and women approached him and thanked him for his presence, while he showed particular interest in several young people and entire families who have recently converted to Orthodoxy.

Businessman Demetrios Katsioulis with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Christina with Consul General of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos. Photos TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

In the community hall, he was welcomed by the ophthalmologist-surgeon Dr. John  Dagianis, the president of the local chapter of AHEPA, Vasilis Papanikolaou, a physicist who has recently been written about in The National Herald, another leading physicist, Dennis Bletsis of Harvard University, the entrepreneur Dimitris Katsioulis, as well as Louis Juris, Panagiotis Dikos, Panagiotis Doulamis, Evagoras Pitsilidis, the lawyer Tom Pappas, and Panagiotis Koutroubas, a member of the Parish Council. Also present were Stella Bloom, Maria Stratakis, Chrysoula Pitsilidis, Athanasia Juris, Mariana Doulamis, Chrysanthi Dikos, Eleni Valeras, and Elisabeth Katsioulis, as well as Dimitrios and Despina Matthaios, from Lowell, MA, friends from the community of St. Philip, who participate in the Theological Discussions program held every other Wednesday evening in the community hall, where many parishioners and young people attend, eager to learn about the Orthodox Faith.

Consul General of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos with parishioners who have their origins from the island of Evia. Shown are attorney Tom Pappas, Basil Papanikolaou president of the local AHEPA chapter, and Demetrios Mattheos president of the Evoikos Society of Boston. Photos TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

Matthaios is one of the most active Greek-Americans in New England – president of the Evoikos Association of Boston, and a member of the Federation council.

Consul General Tegos told The National Herald: “It was a great honor and joy for me to be here today in St. Philip in Nashua, NH. It was a visit that should have taken place long ago because it is considered an extremely dynamic and powerful community, and I am very happy that this opportunity arose today.” He also said, “I had the opportunity to speak with many of the parishioners and enthusiastically observed the relationship they maintain with Greece, their love, and I conveyed to them with great joy the love and concern of our homeland and promised that I would be back with them soon.”

It is noted that in the city of Nashua two communities were founded at the beginning of the 20th century, the Annunciation of the Theotokos and Saint Nicholas, as happened in many communities throughout America given the political divisions that prevailed, between the so-called Royalists and Venizelists, which unfortunately had spilled over from Greece into the Diaspora. The two churches were located in the same neighborhood of the city, within close distance of each other.

A commemorative photo of Consul General of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos with local New Hampshire legislature member Louis Juris, Panagiotis and Mariana Doulamis, Chrysanhti and Panagiotis Dikos, George Karakantas, Chrysoula and Evasgoras Pitsilidis, and Eleni Valeras. Photos TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

However, in 1972, the two communities were merged into one. A plot of land was purchased in a prominent position in the city, right next a main highway, and the present beautiful church was built during the tenure of the late Archbishop Iakovos.

In order to avoid the feeling that one of the two communities ‘won’, it was decided to abandon both previous names, namely the Annunciation and Saint Nicholas, and to give the newly built church and the united community the name of the Apostle Philip, with the first priest being Fr. Sotirios Alexopoulos, who served in the new community for 25 years.

Consul general of Greece in Boston Symeon Tegos with young parishioners of St. Philip. Photos TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos

The city of Nashua is about 45 miles from Boston and has a developed economy due to the High-Tech industries it hosts. It also has one of the largest shopping centers in New England, Pheasant Lane Mall.

It should be noted that this writer voluntarily offers his chanting services to the parish on Sundays and major holidays.

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