NEW YORK – The community’s professional organizations held their annual joint cutting of the vasilopita with His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros presiding on January 9 at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan. The event was held by six organizations, Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce (HACC), Hellenic Medical Society of New York (HMSNY), Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce (CUSCC), Hellenic Professional Women Inc. (HPW), Hellenic Lawyers Association (HLA), and HABA – Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance, and was as always a well-attended event.
Costas Kellas, HABA Treasurer and CUSCC Board member, gave the welcoming remarks, wished everyone a Happy New Year for 2020, and thanked all those who helped organize the event, including the Cathedral management for making the space available, Fr. John Vlahos, Dean of the Cathedral, and the members of the press for their annual coverage of the event. Mr. Kellas introduced the leaders and representatives of each organization, HACC President Markos Drakotos, HABA President Robert Savage, HLA President Chrisanthy N. Zapantis-Melis, HMSNY President Dr. Panagiotis Manolas, HPW President Maria Frantzis, and newly elected CUSCC President Maria Pappas, who each offered their best wishes for the New Year.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros noted what a pleasure it was to see the “best and brightest” of the community assembled to uphold the tradition of the vasilopita. He pointed out that no matter how old you are or how successful, everyone is excited by the prospect of finding the lucky coin in the vasilopita. His Eminence then offered his blessings for health, peace and a happy New Year.
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras also shared his best wishes for the New Year and noted that the future looks bright for the community and for Greece.
CUSCC President Maria Pappas added her best wishes for 2020 and also her hopes for progress and the completion of the St. Nicholas Shrine Church at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan which drew applause from all those present.
HACC President Markos Drakotos looked forward to working with all the professional organizations this year.
HLA President Chrisanthy N. Zapantis-Melis also looked forward to seeing everyone at future events.
HABA President Robert Savage said it was an honor to again be a part of the event which brings together the Hellenic professional organizations.
HMSNY President Panagiotis Manolas offered words of welcome to Archbishop Elpidophoros and noted that he and the HMSNY members love the annual vasilopita cutting as it brings together all the professional organizations. He also encouraged all the organizations to work together in a meaningful way this year and wished good luck to all in finding the flouri (coin).
His Eminence then blessed the vasilopita and cut the first pieces for the Ecumenical Patriarch, for Greece, Cyprus, and then the leaders of each organization. Consul General Koutras accepted the piece on behalf of Greece and Aristos Constantine, Trade Commissioner of Cyprus on behalf of Cyprus. Archbishop Elpidophoros lightheartedly remarked that he would need a list of all the names if he was to hand out the pieces to each person present.
The food was provided by Zenon Taverna and included traditional Greek and Cypriot favorites, pastitsio, keftedes, koupes, cheese and spinach pies, and for dessert, the famous dachtila- filled with nuts and dipped in syrup. Sam Catechis of Stellar Importing provided the wines at the event.
Also present were Maria Tzobanaki, Dr. George Liakeas, Dr. Stella Lymberis, Dr. Joanna Roufos, James DeMetro, Spiros Exaras, Fanny Trataros, Lou Katsos, Emmanuel Caravanos, Sophia Prountzos, Aphrodite Daniel, George Zapantis, Despina Axiotakis, Nicole Malliotakis who is currently running for Congress, and Michael Tannousis who is running to succeed Malliotakis as the representative from the 64th District in the New York State Assembly.