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Holy Cross Whitestone Community Celebrates 49th Anniversary

WHITESTONE, NY – Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Whitestone celebrated its 49th anniversary with a luncheon following the Divine Liturgy on March 3. His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos presided over the liturgy along with the community’s presiding priest Fr. Nicolaos Paros, assisted by Fr. Nicholas Soteropoulos.

The well-attended luncheon was held in the community’s Vasilios and Athanasia Kartsonis Hall and began with a blessing by Bishop Athenagoras.

Holy Cross Parish Council President Nick Livaditis gave the welcoming remarks, noting that the event honored the community and Fr. Paros. “In our 49 years as a parish we have had many wonderful priests serve the body of Christ here, Fr. Nick is special, not only is he a dedicated spiritual father to all of us, but he is a tireless advocate for our community, especially our young people,” Livaditis said. “He leads by example, his door is always open, and he is very often the first one here and the last one to leave. It has been a great honor to serve as Parish Council President with him. I pray that he and Presvytera serve many more years here in Whitestone.”

Standing, left to right: Effie Karalekas, Margie Demetriou, and Holy Cross Whitestone Parish Council President Nick Livaditis. Seated, left to right: Fr. Nicholas Soteropoulos, the community’s presiding priest Fr. Nicholas Paros, His Grace Bishop Athenagoras, Efstathios Valiotis and his wife Stamatiki. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Livaditis then thanked the members of the luncheon committee who worked tirelessly for the success of the event, and the kitchen staff, among others, who helped make the event possible. He looked forward to seeing everyone at next year’s gala for the 50th anniversary of the community.

Fr. Paros then shared his greetings, thanking the Lord that so many beloved families could gather to celebrate the community’s progress, pointing out his great joy seeing the familiar faces from his first parish in Astoria who continue to honor and love him. He thanked His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros for his love and blessings and thanked His Grace Bishop Athenagoras and his mother for attending the celebration.

Fr. Paros then noted the progress on the iconography of the church which will begin in the summer with the dome and the Evangelists. He then thanked Effie Karalekas for her efforts organizing the luncheon and for her efforts on the Journal Committee with Niovi Philippou, and all those who helped make the event possible through giving their time and donations, the Parish Council, the volunteers, and supporters. He noted the significance of education, maintaining and passing down the Greek language, faith, and traditions with the Greek Afternoon School and the Holy Cross Stars Academy that in a short time has become well-known in the area. Fr. Paros also noted the efforts to expand the schools and the youth and community programs as well.

His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos during the Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Whitestone on March 3. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

“I am extremely grateful for all of you, from the original builders of this beautiful community 49 years ago to all those who continue to work so hard today, thank you, I am honored and blessed to be a part of such a beautiful family, Presvytera Maria, [daughter] Polyxeni, and I are committed and excited to be a part of this community and together with our dedicated and faithful Parish Council, Philoptochos Society, and all our organizations we will continue to work as one body with one purpose, to continue to grow this amazing parish, we are all here because of the love we have for Christ and His church,” said Fr. Paros who then urged all those present to donate to the community’s school ministry.

Bishop Athenagoras noted his great joy attending the celebration and conveying the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros. He wished a bright and blessed future for the community and many blessed years for Fr. Paros who, he said, has a great priestly heart to embrace all.

Efstathios Valiotis also praised Fr. Paros and wished him all the best, noting that the community has a bright future.


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