BOSTON — The Maliotis Cultural Center of Hellenic College -Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, located at 50 Goddard Avenue in Brookline, MA, recently opened the new Reverend Dr. George Karahalios Library and Lounge. This unique space was made possible by the generous donation of Presbytera Calypso “Lee” Karahalios, in memory of her husband, the late Reverend Dr. George Karahalios.
Presbytera Lee said “it is an honor to be able to help, even a little, the Maliotis Cultural Center, in which my husband and I have been closely connected for over 50 years.” Fr. George Karahalios formerly served as a Philosophy professor, Vice President, and Provost of Hellenic College Holy Cross and the Chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston. While studying in Heidelberg, Germany, he served as the Auxiliary Chaplain for the United States Army for the Greek Orthodox members of the military and civilian personnel. Fr. George of blessed memory was one of the most prominent and learned priests not only of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America bout of the Orthodox Church in general. He served very diligently parishes in New England and he build the new nave of Saints Constantine and Helen and community center in Andover Massachusetts.
Mr. George Cantonis President Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Presbytera Calypso Karahalios. (Photo: HCHC)
The Maliotis Center the last few months has been renovated completely due to the constant efforts of the President of HCHC Mr. George Cantonis and its Director Chrysoula Kourkountis. The visitors who know the Center from before they are ecstatic when they enter the Center today with its renew appearance and reorganization.
Presbytera Lee was born in Paros, Greece, before she emigrated to the United States as a young girl. Her immigrant experience shaped her into a person who embraces new cultures and peoples and still maintains a close connection with her Greek roots and traditions. She was an administrative assistant and an active member in the communities where her husband served, offering her talents in the choir and chanting, in leadership positions in the Philoptochos Society, and creating and publishing popular Greek cookbooks.
Presbytera Lee says she has “vivid memories from the conversations I had with Kostas and Mary Maliotis, as we shared common desires such as the transmission of the Greek spirit in the Omogeneia and that both of us, who did not have biological children, saw the children of the Greek Omogeneia as our own children”. This sense of familial kinship is certainly felt by the students and friends who now enjoy the Karahalios Library. They say the space “is very homey”.
Painted in a deep burgundy and furnished with comfortable leather sofas and exquisite oil paintings, this warm and inviting space is open to the whole community as well as Hellenic College Holy Cross students and staff, to relax while reading or chatting, while enjoying the cozy atmosphere and beautiful view.
Presbytera Calypso Karahalios enjoys a cup of Greek coffee in the library dedicated to her late husband Rev. Dr. George Karahalios. (Photo by HCHC)
It is one of the centerpieces of the Maliotis Cultural Center, being situated just off the main atrium. This library has a large collection of Greek and English books and magazines for both adults and children. This library also is home to board games like chess and backgammon that can be used by all its visitors. Since its creation, it has become a hangout space for all ages and is used by a wide range of visitors who come to read, study, visit with friends, play games, listen to music on the Bluetooth speakers, and have a Greek coffee, frappe or Greek pastries.
Presbytera Lee has witnessed the positive transformation of the Maliotis Cultural Center, beginning with the library she sponsored. She said “I often visit this place now and I am moved that at its door I see the name of my husband who passionately loved our theological school and our Hellenic college. My heart is filled with optimism watching the children from Hellenic College and the Theological School gather here to socialize, to talk about their dreams, and when the bells ring from the chapel of our school, to go to church and tell me “We will light a candle on your behalf”.
She also said “I especially enjoy the conversations I have with them when they ask me to tell them stories from my life when I left my homeland in Greece to come to America at a young age – but if you ask me who I am, I will say that I am Greek”.
Presbytera Lee admires the Maliotis Cultural Center’s growth and attributes much of the success to the leadership of its new director, Chrysoula Kourkounti: “It is my special pleasure to see Chrysoula in her new professional role as the director of our cultural center who, with hard work and a lot of passion, tries day and night not only to upgrade our cultural center to meet the needs of the whole Omogeneia, larger Community, but to embrace and actively participate in the life of the children of the Greek community as if they were her own children.”
Young men and women play checkers in the lounge and library of Fr. George Karahalios. (Photo: HCHC)
Presvytera Calypso’s sponsorships were not limited to the library. Her love for Hellenism and the Omogeneia inspired her to generously help additional efforts towards the goal of the complete renovation of the Maliotis Center.
The Maliotis Cultural Center is now home to a host of many activities and events including shared intercollegiate cultural events, academic events, business luncheons, HCHC classes, Hellenic Dance practices, public lectures, conferences, museum exhibits, private movie screenings, and musical performances.
Presbytera Karahalios emphasizes, “In this space that opens its doors hospitably to the whole Greek community, I feel that it is not just a community under our Archdiocese, but a family. I am blessed and happy being a member of this family.”