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General News

Elegant and Memorable Wedding of Vanessa Diamataris and Matthew Dowling on Crete

CHANIA – With family, friends, and colleagues gathered from all over Greece, the United States, Constantinople, and elsewhere, Vanessa Diamataris and Matthew Dowling were married on September 4 in the courtyard of the historic and picturesque Monastery of the Holy Trinity Tzagarolon near Chania, Crete.

The much-anticipated wedding of a couple brought together by love represented the best in Diaspora Hellenism and the American way of life.

The betrothal service was performed by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the wedding service by His Eminence Geron of Chalcedon Emmanuel, the hierarch second in rank to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The hierarchs punctuated the solemn and moving ceremony with best wishes and good humor, preparing the guests for the celebratory reception that followed and which they also attended.

Also present were His Eminence Andreas of Arkalochori and His Eminence Damaskinos of Chania, the Abbot of the Holy Trinity Monastery Bishop Damaskinos, the Abbot of Agios Georgios Monastery at Karydi Archimandrite Ieremiou, Father Thomas Synodinos, and many other clergy.

Antonis Diamataris, former publisher of The National Herald and father of the bride, beaming with pride and love, began his remarks at the reception that was held at Aptera Beach by thanking Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for attending the wedding services at the Monastery along with Takis Theodorikakos, Minister for Civil Protection, and Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports.

Also present were the Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulos as well as the Greek Consul General in New York Konstantinos Koutras.

Guests were delighted by the reception venue with its enchanting views of flood-lit waves on the beach, moving performances of traditional Cretan music and dance by the Viglatores troupe, and dining that also highlighted the culture of Crete, the homeland of Litsa Diamataris, the mother of the bride.

Eraklis Diamataris, Publisher of the Greek language National Herald, who was the ‘Koumbaro – Best Man,’ spoke movingly of the happiness he felt for his sister Vanessa, Publisher-Editor of The National Herald, and the joy he feels for gaining a brother in Matthew, whose entire family has embraced Hellenism as strongly as they welcomed the bride into their family. He also spotlighted the other half of the family heritage, their beloved island of Limnos.

Visibly moved throughout the evening, Antonis Diamataris said at the reception, “I want to express our gratitude to His All Holiness, our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. With his permission, the wedding of our children took place at the historic Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Agia Triados Tzagarolon, which has now become a reference point in our family history. I wish to also thank its Abbot, His Grace Bishop Damaskinos of Dorylaion.”

The wedding services in Greek and English were as inspiring for the Greeks familiar with them – thanks to the unique setting – as they were for the non-Greeks who encountered them for the first time.

It was very much a night both of love and gratitude. On behalf of both families, Antonis Diamataris said, “thank you from the depths of our hearts to all of you, especially those who have travelled so far to join us and share in our great joy. I also want to thank… everyone who worked so hard – and are working tonight – under difficult circumstances, to make this beautiful reception a reality.”

Antonis Diamataris then lovingly shared his feelings about his daughter and new son-in-law.

“Litsa and I were certain,” he said, “as Vanessa grew up, that she would marry a man who shared the principles and values she grew up with – they would live a life together of love, devotion, appreciation, and respect for each other. But Matthew exceeded our expectations. We loved him from the first moment we met him, above all and first of all, because he loves, values, and respects our daughter Vanessa – and she feels the same way about Matthew.”

And reminding everyone that one of the beautiful elements of a wedding is the union of two families, especially when there is an embrace of new cultures and in this case, the emergence of new Philhellenes, Diamataris added, “we also have the best possible in-laws… Eddie and Merryl, two amazing people, to whom we are now very attached, becoming a family.”

One of the most touching moments of an emotional weekend came when Antonis Diamataris said, “Vanessa has touched our hearts many times. One of those moments was when she told me she wanted to work for our newspapers, to leave a well-paid position as a lawyer, to help us with our publications. That’s how much she loves her father.”

The celebrations began the evening before the wedding with the Welcome Feast held at the wonderful Casa Scordilli villa, a party accented with a Blue and White theme.

The day after the wedding, the joy and fun continued with the Brunch & Beach Party at the Cabana Mare in Agia Marina.

All the carefully selected venues brought the perfect touch and atmosphere to each event, but the scene of the wedding, with its noble architecture and warm greenery and flowers surely generated the deepest and longest lasting memories.

The monastery’s triple domes announce its dedication to the Holy Trinity to visitors arriving from a distance, and as they draw closer its architectural lines and elements reveal a Venetian origin to those familiar with the Serene Republic’s settlements all along the shores of the Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean seas. The ground plan is quite Byzantine, however, as is the remarkable carved wooden ciborium – the canopy over the altar.

The other name of the monastery – Tzagarolon – derives from the Zangaroli family, the last name of the two Venetian brothers who established it in 17th century. 

Many of the guests explored the grounds before attending the reception, some perhaps making mental notes for their own families’ destination weddings after thoroughly enjoying the tasteful and well-planned and presented weekend.

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