Greek Letters Celebrated by the Schools of the Metropolis of New Jersey

January 29, 2024

TENAFLY, NY – The memory of the Three Hierarchs of Orthodox Christianity and the ‘Greek Letters’ holiday was celebrated by nine afternoon and Saturday schools of the Metropolis of New Jersey on Saturday, January 27, in the events hall of the Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly.

Participating schools included St. Athanasios Paramus, St. George Clifton, Ascension of the Savior Fairview, St. George Piscataway, St. Andrew Randolph, the Cathedral, Sts. Nicholas, Constantine, and Helen Roseland, St. Demetrius Union, and St. Nicholas Wyckoff.

Students recited poems, talked about the lives of the saints, danced, and sang, receiving warm applause from the 500 or more guests.

In his greeting, Metropolitan Apostolos characterized the Three Hierarchs as some of the most important Fathers of the Church, who spread Hellenism and Christianity through their work.

He emphasized that ‘Greek Letters’, are “not limited to language alone but constitute a comprehensive system of philosophy, science, knowledge, and faith expressed in the daily life of the world, especially where the heart of the Greek beats.”

“We are blessed by God since He endowed us not only with the Greek language, the language of the Holy Gospel and the Fathers, but also with the Orthodox faith,” he added.

The crowded events hall of Tenafly Cathedral during the celebration of the Three Hierarchs of Orthodoxy. (Photo: TNH/Michael Kakias)

He conveyed the wishes and blessings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who sent congratulations to teachers and parents for their efforts to educate children.

Demosthenes Triantafillou, Director of the Office of Education of the Metropolis, explained that the Three Hierarchs made the connection, and constitute bridge between ancient Greek learning and Christian theological thought.

“They are radiant beacons of wisdom and piety; they deeply influenced the course of Christian thought and practice. Their teachings continue to guide and inspire us on our spiritual journey,” he said.

He also emphasized the significance of Greek literature, starting with the father of European literature, the great Homer, who wrote two masterpieces, the Odyssey and the Iliad. “We must continue this glorious history,” he stressed.

Father Gregory Gilbert, the spiritual leader of the Cathedral, and George Staphos, president of the Parish Council, expressed their joy and offered blessings for the organization of the Feast of the Three Hierarchs in their community and thanked the schools and guests who honored the event with their presence.

Father Christos Pappas, the spiritual leader of the Church of the Ascension, speaking to the National Herald, congratulated Dimitra Baltzis on being named Educator of the Year by the newspaper.

“She is one of our school’s finest teachers, who has dedicated herself to the students for 17 years. She is multitalented, with many gifts, and deserves every distinction,” he said.

Triantafillou, through the National Herald, declared it a great honor for the school and the entire parish that Baltzis was honored.

“We are proud of the honor bestowed on her by the newspaper, which reflects all the educators of the Archdiocese and especially the Metropolis of New Jersey,” he added.

Peter Frangiskou, president of the Parish Council of the Ascension, also congratulated Baltzis, whose contribution, as he said, extends not only to the school but to the entire parish.


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