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General News

St. Demetrios Community in Astoria Honored Tom Kourkoumelis

NEW YORK – The community of St. Demetrios in Astoria honored businessman Tom Kourkoumelis on November 6 at Terrace on the Park during the celebration of its 95th anniversary and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of its school.

In a special event, attended by members of the Community of all ages, everyone focused on the need for St. Demetrios to move forward, building on the fundamental principles of Hellenism as well as the solid foundations built by previous generations.

“What we have today is the result of toil and hard work in the most difficult times for the Greek-American community,” said Parish Council President Stephan Thomatos.

“At the moment we have about 500 children in the day school and 200 in the afternoon school. We hope to see more participation in the future, but we need everyone’s support. Not just financial support. We want you to support our efforts with your presence,” he added.

The community of St. Demetrios in Astoria honored businessman Tom Kourkoumelis on November 6 at Terrace on the Park during the celebration of its 95th anniversary and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of its school. (Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos)

Presiding priest of the community Fr. Anargyros Stavropoulos shared the same sentiments, noting that, from whatever rank and position, all members of St. Demetrios share the same responsibility.

“These celebrations also bring us many responsibilities, from the youngest to the oldest, from the priest to the president of the Parish Council to the members of the various ministries,” said Fr. Stavropoulos.

For his part, Consul of Greece in New York Dimitrios Papageorgiou expressed his optimism for the future of the Greek-American community, inviting, once again, all Greek-Americans to come without hesitation to the Consulate General to take care of their affairs.

“This is the reason why we are here. To remind you that there is a motherland that thinks of you and always stands by you. That is why we invite you to come to the Consulate, to process your affairs, your children’s, your grandchildren’s. Let’s register another 100 Greeks a day if we can because they are the future,” said Consul Papageorgiou.

Among those present were Secretary General of Interior and Organization for the Hellenic Republic Michalis Stavrianoudakis, Head of the Greek Press Office Mary Vaxevanidou, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of America Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, and many members of the St. Demetrios community.

Dances performed by the students of the St. Demetrios School gave a special color to the celebration.

Dances performed by the students of the St. Demetrios School gave a special color to the celebration. (Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos)

Honoree Tom (Athanasios) Kourkoumelis, one of the regular benefactors of the community, also received a proclamation in his honor from the New York State Senate during the event. In his remarks, he initially referred to the special importance that Astoria has for him, adding that one of the reasons it is considered a center of Hellenism abroad is because of St. Demetrios.

“Those of you who know me, know that I love Astoria,” Kourkoumelis said. “That is where my businesses are, that is where I grew up, where I spent most of the years of my life. All the Greeks of America, and generally, at some point will pass through Astoria, whether to shop at Greek businesses or have a coffee or to eat at a Greek restaurant.”

He continued, “Astoria is the heart of the Greek diaspora and everyone knows it. But the reason that Astoria became the center of Hellenism – and will remain the center of Hellenism – is because it has a strong community, that of St. Demetrios, a community, truly first in Greek letters and Greek education. Our Orthodox Church, our language, and our history are what unite us and what we must continue to teach the next generations, if we want to preserve Hellenism in this country,” said Kourkoumelis.

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