Clockwise from top left: Spyros Bibilas, Kostas Venetsanos, Effie Vassiliou Anna Fonsou, and Paul Vassiliou. Photo: Courtesy of Anna Fonsou
TAMPA, FL – The Florida community is helping Greek actors with a telethon to be held in early November to raise money to support the Actors’ Home and the Greek Actors’ Union.
This fundraising campaign, whose aim is to take on wider dimensions through the internet, wherever there are Greeks, is being prepared under the auspices of the Prometheas Panhellenic Cultural Center, based in Tarpon Springs, following the initiative of its president, Effie Vassiliou.
Vassiliou, who is currently in Greece, met and discussed the matter with Actors’ Home President, the well-known and beloved actress of the Greek theater and cinema Anna Fonsou, Greek Actors’ Union President Spyros Bibilas, and the general secretary of the Mutual Aid Fund of the same organization, presenter, actor and singer, Kostas Venetsanos.
“There are actors and other artists that we loved all our lives, because they helped us in their own way to make life better for all of us,” Vassiliou told The National Herald. “Several of them, for various reasons, are going through difficult times today and need help. We will do our duty.”
For her part, Anna Fonsou stated that she has known about TNH for a long time, and shared her best wishes for the newspaper to continue contributing to Hellenism for many more years.
She also referred to the current dire economic situation in which several Greek actors and other artists find themselves. “We ask the community to support the project and our effort to help those in need,” she said.
She also stated that the goals of the Actors’ Home are to present various programs related to theater and, in general, to culture.
Venetsanos, one of the first presenters of music shows on Greek television, also spoke about the work of this institution, as well as the initiative of the Panhellenic Cultural Center of Florida. “Anna Fonsou is a front-runner and a fighter,” he said, among other things, noting that the Actors’ Home is a model of its kind. “I believe that the Greek community embraces all of us Greek artists and sympathizes with our problems,” he said, while also referring to the efforts of the Mutual Aid Fund and the Greek Actors’ Union. He also praised the initiative of Vassiliou.
The Actors’ Home was created in 1997, in the form of a union, following the initiative of Anna Fonsou. In 2002, it received the legal form of a non-profit public benefit institution under the auspices of the Ministries of Culture, Finance, Education and Health. Its main purpose is to host in its facilities actors with financial problems.
The expenses for the establishment of the institution were borne from the beginning by Fonsou, who also granted a property.
The Actors’ Home has rooms for housing actors with financial problems, while, at the same time, it helps people in the arts, in general, who do not live there, in various ways, as needed.
The foundation is also active in the field of culture in general, with exhibitions, book presentations, plays, and other events.
Prometheas President Vassiliou is interested in organizing events of a cultural nature during the organization’s new operating period, with the participation of artists from Greece, if possible. Theatrical performances have been planned for the near future.
As part of its interest in Greek Education, every year Prometheas offers honors and monetary prizes to students for their performance in Greek.
During this year’s event, the main speaker was educator Georgia Mitsis, former principal of Holy Trinity Greek Afternoon School in Clearwater, who spoke about the Three Hierarchs and the Greek Letters.
Mitsis noted that the Three Hierarchs considered Greek Education a precursor to Christianity. Thus, they united the beauty of the Greek language with the truth of the Christian faith, Hellenized Christianity and Christianized Hellenism to such an extent that since then Christianity and Hellenism became one and are known as Hellenic Christian Culture.
Mitsis emphasized that Greek is the oldest language in Europe and has a long and proven history. It is the language that still enriches the international scientific discourse, it is the language that developed, shaped and captured the beginning of most scientific theories, philosophical reflections, but also important theological and Christian texts and over the course of many centuries it has become one of the longest living languages in the world.
“As Greeks abroad and as native speakers of Greek, we have a sacred obligation to keep our language alive and to pass it on to our children,” Mitsis said. “By supporting the presence of the Greek language and Greek Letters, we expand the influence of Greek thought, we strengthen our homeland itself. We are all invited to contribute, each in our own way, to support the effort to strengthen fluency in Greek, to keep the Greek language alive and to contribute to its widest possible dissemination.”
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