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Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Attends Blue Dream Gala of Church of The Hamptons (Video)

August 27, 2019
Vasilis Voultsos

SOUTHAMPTON, NY – Each year the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, invites members of the Greek and non-Greek community alike to experience a taste of Greece and support a noble cause at its annual Blue Dream Summer Gala.

This year’s edition was held on August 24 with Presidential candidate Joseph Biden in attendance, and once again it was a resounding success.

Blue Dream has come to be considered one of the leading cultural and philanthropic events of the Hamptons and of the New York Metropolitan Area’s Greek-American community, a tasteful and well-run celebration of Hellenism and America attended by leading lights of the political, academic, and business worlds. This year’s event focused generating awareness and support for the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

Video by Kostas Bej/TNH

Ripples of enthusiasm began to spread through the crowd when Joe Biden, the front runner in the race for the democratic nomination for President, took the stage.

Biden spoke of his long and warm relationship with the Greek-American community. “I want to thank you for the hospitality you’ve shown me, but more importantly, for the education you have afforded me, and I mean that sincerely. When I ran for U.S. Senate in Delaware the strongest support I had was from a relatively small but, overwhelmingly organized, Greek community. And I am honored to have the opportunity to meet with his Eminence Elpidophoros tonight and I look forward to working with him in any way I can be helpful, either in office or out of office.”

About Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the former Vice President said, “of course I have cherished each of the moments I have been blessed with to be in the company of His All Holiness – it is one of the great honors of my life, to spend time with his All Holiness both in Turkey and here. I have met an awful lot of famous leaders – Church leaders – but he was and is the most Christ-like person I have ever met. He is absolutely incredible. The closest man to him – a man of forgiveness and joy – that I have met was not a religious figure. It was Nelson Mandela. The ideas of decency and honor are so much a part of him.”

Biden also revealed to the audience that he is an Archon of the Greek Orthodox Church, which he considers one of the great honors of his career. Regarding the current political climate Biden said, “I have travelled the country over the past few months and I have an overarching message. I don’t think it’s about Republicans, Democrats or independents. I think we are in a battle for the soul of our nation. I think we are in a battle of who we are. A battle that defines our values and the basic rights we all share. Every generation has to earn democracy.”

After Joe Biden’s final comments Master of Ceremonies Rosanna Scotto presented special guest Archbishop Elpidophoros, who offered the benediction for the evening. “I am so delighted and honored to share this important charitable gala with you. I am grateful and proud that the Greek Orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary is providing this offer annually to the wider community,” said the Archbishop.

The Archbishop also offered thanks to the organizers and benefactors of the festivities, particularly to Presbytera Xanthi Karloutsos and her daughters, Presbytera Anastasia Lazarakis and Olga Palladino, and finally to Father Alexander Karloutsos and Father Constantine Lazarakis.

The event itself sparkled and shined as every little detail was meticulously taken care of, from the umbrellas and the lanterns lighting the street leading to the elegant venue of “The Muses” –adjacent to the church – to the scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, the enticing cocktails, the savory dinner, and the impeccable service. The evening was most memorable.

In the indoor, high-ceilinged hall in which the opening reception took place, a fundraising silent auction was in the works. The lots available for auction were divided into categories including, travel, Broadway shows, art by Despina Zografos and Larry Stene, fine dining in New York and the Hamptons, and various other items, including a custom-made Parka, valued at $2,000; Laiik Sandals, valued at $250; and a racquet signed by the Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas, with an opening bid of $500.

After the reception an outdoor dinner was served in the fragrant Hamptons air, under a peaked white canvas tent. Floral and fruit arrangements, including centerpieces of orange trees, baskets of lemons, and bouquets of yellow roses, created an elegant chic summer vibe.

In the reception hall The National Herald talked with current congressional and former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis. “It’s a real privilege and honor to be among so many Greek Americans and friends of Greek Americans to support Father Alex, as well as a good cause, which is the hospital here on Long Island, particularly all the work they are doing in cancer prevention and research. I am very honored to be here again. I’ve been coming to this event for the last at least five years, and there is always a wonderful group of individuals who are philanthropic and willing to support such amazing causes,” said Malliotakis.

Bob Chaloner and Howard Lorber, representing Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, the Gala’s beneficiary, took to the stage to receive the Blue Dream Summer Gala’s award from the Archbishop and Catsimatidis. Thankful for the award and the donation to the hospital Lorber said, “you are doing wonderful work and it is with your help that we can continue to grow and build facilities such as the cancer center.”

Noted businessman and Blue Dream Gala Co-Chair John Catsimatidis told TNH, “It’s a beautiful evening. Father Alex has done a tremendous job at the church. We are raising over 200,000 thousand dollars as a contribution to the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital…as Greeks we live within the broader community and we support the community.”

Businessman and philanthropist Michael Psarros, also talking to TNH, eloquently summed up the importance of the event saying, “tonight is an extraordinary event. There is no other parish in North America that holds an event like this – an event held by the parish to give back philanthropically to the community in which it resides. This is the brilliance of Archdiocesan Vicar Fr. Alex Karloutsos. Think about what happened here tonight. A group of people teamed together in this elegant evening, not just Greeks but non-Greeks as well – like politicians, including the former VP of the U.S., and, as a result, this parish is going to present a check to the hospital for $200,000. This is what Hellenism is about and shows extraordinary vision, philoxenia, and philanthropy.”

As is done every year, seventy percent of the proceeds will go to the designated charity and the remaining 30 percent will stay in the community to offer support to the parish’s other philanthropic endeavors. The Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, in addition to serving the spiritual, educational, and cultural needs of its congregants, has made philanthropy in the broader community among its top priorities. On an ongoing basis, the Church supports a variety of local, national, and international charities and nonprofits.

The Stony Brook Southampton Hospital aspires to provide a higher level of care for residents and visitors of the East End of Long Island. The extraordinary new Phillips Family Cancer Center in Southampton has recently opened its doors and is providing leading edge cancer treatment and support services. Not far from where the Gala attendees sat Saturday evening, a new state of the art Community Hospital will rise on the campus of Stony Brook Southampton. An innovative new Satellite Emergency Department will be also be constructed in East Hampton, providing lifesaving care.

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