NEW YORK– The 66th National Convention of the Federation of Sterea Hellas USA and Canada (OSEAK) was held in Nafpaktos and exceeded all expectations. The well-attended convention began on Friday, July 29 with a tour of the Rio-Antirrio Bridge and ended Tuesday, August 2.
On Sunday, July 31 elections were held for the Federation. Constantine Katsanos from New Jersey was reelected Supreme President, George Apostolopoulos from Charlotte, NC- vice president, Dimitris Paliouras from New York- secretary, Bob Kotsalos from Pennsylvania- treasurer, and youth officer Giorgos Seretis from New York. Alongside them, leaders John Nikolopoulos for New York and Dimitris Kozonis for Chicago were also elected.
After a meeting with Panagiotis Loukopoulos, Mayor of Lepanto, the Federation and the Nafpaktos Brotherhood decided to offer $2,000 each to strengthen the Community Market of the Municipality of Nafpaktos, which recently moved to the city center and distributes food and clothing to the residents affected by the economic crisis.
The convention sessions took place at Nafpaktos Hotel in Gribovo, Nafpaktos Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31. Video provided by the local media and the rich photography sent by the official photographer of the convention- owner of Papstudio- as well as Polichronis Koloutsos from npress.grdemonstrate the love of expatriates for the homeland and their pride in their heritage.
Attending the convention, His Eminence Metropolitan Ierotheos of Nafpaktos and St. Vlasios, and Lepanto mayor Loukopoulos, praised the expatriates and praised their generosity.
Loukopoulos speaking at the convention pointed out that Nafpaktos gives great thanks to emigrants of the Roumeliotis and the Federation of Central Greece America and Canada for two main reasons, the first being the choice of Nafpaktos as the convention venue and the second for their timeless contribution to the homeland.
“We have to thank our benefactors. Unlike the common Rumeli saying “there is no one as ungrateful as those who receive the help of benefactors,” said the Mayor and noted that expatriates generously helped Rumeli recover after the Greek Civil War.
Among the works that bear the stamp of expatriates are squares, schools, roads, aqueducts, churches, and libraries, the Mayor said, observing that “they did everything and selflessly to help our country.”
The president of the Federation Costas Katsanos opened the convention and welcomed all, noting that the number of delegates and observers exceeded all expectations.
Vasilis Seretis- president of the Nafpaktos Brotherhood, who along with George Seretis- president of the Eleftheriani Society, led the organizing committee spoke to the National Herald, remarked on the success of the convention: “We made the best decision two years ago in Cleveland, OH to hold the convention in the homeland. The fact that we have 65 delegates, while previous conventions never exceeded 40 is the proof.”
“The official Federation dinner which took place on Saturday night in the Xenia Hotel garden, “was a great success. We expected 450 people and eventually about a thousand of our compatriots from America, Canada, Athens and other Greek cities attended,” said Seretis.
During the dinner, Petros Galatoulas- President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, who attended the convention and offered his greetings, received an award.
On Sunday morning, the Lepanto Metropolitan, His Eminence Ierotheos presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. Demetrios and celebrated the Artoklasia for the health of the Roumelioton of America, impressing the congregation with his words on the generosity and love of expatriates.
The newly elected OSEAK President leads the dancing at the official dinner-dance on Saturday, July 30 in Nafpaktos. Photo by Arpi Pap, courtesy of OSEAK
The same afternoon a beach party was held for the young people in Chiliadou beach.
On Monday, delegates boarded the bus for a guided tour of Galaxidi, Delphi, Distomo, in Karpenisi- Moni Proussos and Thermo. Vasilis Seretis observed what a remarkable time everyone had, enjoying their time at the convention and seeing the wonderful sites of Greece.