The Pan-Rhodian Society of New York Treasurer Thalia Tzortzis-Vlepakis, Vice President Kalliopi Ziangos, and President Nikos Kartalis with Fr. George Kazoulis at the cutting of the Vasilopita, the lucky coin was in the piece cut for the Society. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)
ISLAND PARK, NY – The Pan-Rhodian Society of New York – Apollon Chapter 3 held its ‘Artoklasia’ and cutting of the Vasilopita at Kimisis Tis Theotokou/Panaghia of Island Park Greek Orthodox Church on February 11. The community’s presiding priest Fr. George Kazoulis is a native of Rhodes and noted his great joy at presiding over the services for the Society since previous Pan-Rhodian had been held at Astoria communities on Sundays.
He thanked the Society, its president, Nikos Kartalis, and the members who traveled a bit further than usual to participate in the annual event, and wished them health and all the best to continue their efforts. Fr. Kazoulis also noted the presence of past president of the Society Kostas Manoloukos among the many Rhodians in attendance as well as the many Cypriots, pointing out that “the Rhodians and Cypriots are the same, we are siblings, we speak the same language with the same accent.”
“I wanted to express my thanks because it is a great thing to see the love of your compatriots, that they want to make this offering, and when they asked how many tables to save, I suggested two, maybe three, it will be difficult to fill them, and in the end I see the church is full of Rhodian compatriots, and it looks like we will need more tables than those that were reserved,” Fr. Kazoulis said.
He pointed out that the Board was elected just before the difficult times when the pandemic hit but remained undaunted throughout and continues its efforts. “I am proud to be a member of this Society,” Fr. Kazoulis added.
Following the services, the reception and cutting of the vasilopita was held in the community’s hall. Pan-Rhodian Society of New York President Nikos Kartalis thanked Fr. Kazoulis and named him an honorary member of the Society. Kartalis also thanked all the members for their support at the event and all the Omogenia for their support of Rhodes following the wildfires last year. He mentioned that upcoming events would soon be announced and presented the Society’s scholarship to this year’s recipient Athanasios Gioupas, a student at Queens College, CUNY.
Past president of the Society Kostas Manoloukos shared the greetings of His Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos of New Jersey, also a Rhodes native, who sent his blessings and best wishes for the New Year.
The lucky coin was found in the piece cut for the Pan-Rhodian Society and Fr. Kazoulis presented the Society with an icon of the Virgin Mary and Child.
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