BROOKLYN – The Brooklyn community of the Three Hierarchs honored Greek businessman and philanthropist John Catsimatidis, with the Greek Heritage Award on January 29 in the community’s crowded event hall.
The ceremony took place after the Great Vespers service of the Three Hierarchs, which was presided over by the His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, assisted by the community’s presiding priest Archimandrite Eugene Pappas and a host of priests from the tristate area.
Archbishop Elpidophoros spoke about Catsimatidis as an extraordinary member of the Greek community with his great philanthropic contributions and love for the church.
As he said, “there was no better choice than the parish of the Three Hierarchs to award a man of value and honor like John Catsimatidis.
“He is a brilliant example of the American dream, to come to this country with almost nothing and with your hard work and effort to reach very high. I am particularly pleased that our Archdiocese has him at such a high position. It is a guarantee that Hellenism deserves a better future and a better Archdiocese, because we are hardworking, honest, sincere, and faithful people in our church.”
Catsimatidis, after receiving his award, warmly thanked the community of the Three Hierarchs for the great honor they bestowed on him, and spoke with pride and warmth about his Greek heritage and his Christian faith.
Special reference was made to the rebuilding of St. Nicholas at the World Trade Center, announcing for the first time a $10 million donation from the Alex and Faye Spanos Family Foundation of California, as well as another $7 million from other donations.
“Confidence and optimism have returned. A few days ago we paid $5 million to the contractor and we are confident that the church will be completed and inaugurated in September 2021,” said Catsimatidis.
The community’s presiding priest Fr. Eugene Pappas congratulated the honoree, saying that the choice of Catsimatidis for this year’s award was unanimous from the Council, as he was known for his ethics and his great contributions to the Church and the Diaspora.
Parish Council President John Eugenis welcomed the Archbishop on his first visit to the community, thanked the faithful who attended the celebration, and congratulated the honoree.
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras also congratulated Catsimatidis, whom he described as an exemplary family man, businessman, and Greek.
The faithful filled the Three Hierarchs Church hall in Brooklyn for the reception which followed the Great Vespers for the community’s namesake saints and also for the award presentation to John Catsimatidis. Photo: TNH/ Michalis Kakias
Consul General of Cyprus in New York Alexis Phedonos-Vadet referred to the contributions of the Three Hierarchs and the value of the Greek Letters.
Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York President Cleanthis Meimaroglou also congratulated the honoree and called for the active support and participation of the Greek Diaspora in the work carried out by the Federation.
In his speech, the Federation’s Parade Committee co-chair, Vasilios Gournelos, called for the financial aid of all the members of the Greek community to successfully organize the annual Greek Independence Parade on 5th Avenue, which will take place on March 29.
New Jersey Philoptochos President Eleni Constantinides and Executive Director of Leadership 100 Paulette Poulos also delivered greetings.
It should be noted that the event was hosted by AHEPA Supreme Vice President and member of the Three Hierarchs community Jimmy Kokotas.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros presided over the Great Vespers for the feast day of the Three Hierarchs at their namesake church in Brooklyn. Photo: TNH/ Michalis Kakias