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Church

St. Philip Parish in Nashua, NH Hampshire Celebrates Name Day

November 16, 2022

NASHUA – Saint Philip Greek Orthodox parish in Nashua, NH celebrated the feast day of its patron saint on Sunday November 13 with an ‘artoklasia’ service, a luncheon, and the beginning of celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary as a united parish.

In the city of Nashua the pioneer Greek immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century had established two communities, St. Nicholas and the Annunciation, in the same neighborhood, but they were divided due to the political rivalry between the parties of Venizelos and the King in Greece.

In 1972, ‘a miracle’ happened and the two parishes were united into one unified parish under the name of St. Philip with its first priest Fr. Soterios Alexopoulos, who served the parish diligently for 25 years. Fr. Soterios is retired today. Under his pastorship the parish of St. Philip flourished, with big congregations during the Liturgy as well as very strong Greek and Catechetical Schools directed by the late presbytera Eleni Alexopoulos, a graduate of the St. Basil’s Academy in Garrison New York when St. Basil was also a teacher’s college.

From the luncheon at the community center in which the entire congregation participated. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

The city of Nashua is about 45 miles from Boston, right on the border of the states Massachusetts and New Hampshire with an advanced economy due to high tech industry and no sales tax. It has one of the biggest shopping centers of New England the Pheasant Lane Mall.

On Sunday, November 13, the parish honored Daniel and Bette Gioffre with the 2022 St. Philip Appreciation Award. Fr. Nicholas Levingston presented them with an icon of St. Philip. Mr. Gioffre assists every Sunday the priest in the sanctuary. Bette served as Sunday School director for a number of years.

It should be noted Fr. Livingston thanked the writer of this article for volunteering his chanting services to the parish on Sundays and major Feast days.

Dr. Samuel Koutsoulakos delivers his speech about the history of St. Philip’s. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

Fr. Livingston announced to the congregation that he has been transferred to the Annunciation parish in Woburn, Massachusetts after two years of pastorship at St. Philip’s. According to a letter of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston dated November 9, 2022 to the parish council,  he wrote that “your beloved priest, Fr. Nicholas Livingston, recently requested reassignment. While I am sure you are saddened with his decision, your best wishes surely accompany him as he assumes new responsibilities.”

Fr. Livingston’s last Liturgy at St. Philip’s will be Sunday November 27.

A luncheon followed in the community center on November 13 for the entire congregation during which Dr. Samuel Koutsoulakos, one of the pillars of the parish, with many years of service and contributions to the parish, delivered an in depth and detailed retrospective speech about the parish. From the younger generation George Efthimiou, a member of the parish council Efthimiou also spoke.

The heads of the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee Theodora Malliaroudakis and Tina Miris informed the parish of the events that are in the process of being programmed.

A commemorative photo from the luncheon of St. Philip’s Feast Day and the starting of the activities of the Fiftieth anniversary. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

The Fiftieth Anniversary celebration began with the cutting of a cake.

Speaking to TNH about the St. Philip Appreciation Award, Mr. Daniel Gioffre, a professor at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, said that “it is very surprising but a good recognition. We are very happy to serve the community any way we can.”
He also said that, “we are affiliated with the parish since 2008. Our younger daughter Penelope was baptized here. Our oldest daughter was baptized in Cambridge at St. Mary’s Antiochian Church.”

Mr. Gioffre was converted to Orthodoxy in the year 2000. He said, “I was converted in 2000, and my wife four years later in 2004. All our family is Orthodox.”

Asked what attracted him to Orthodoxy, he said, “that is a good question. I didn’t know anybody in the Orthodox Church. I studied the history and read the Scriptures. It was a historical investigation.” He said, “I was born into a Roman Catholic family but we didn’t go to church very often; it was not a very serious part of our family lives. When I was a little a bit older, I became Protestant but I was dissatisfied with that for a number of reasons. We found our home in the Greek Orthodox Church and we have been there ever since. Actually, my grandmother – my mother’s mother from Belarus – was raised Orthodox.”

He concluded by saying that what he treasures most is, “the way of life, the Church’s spirituality, and the liturgical life of the Church.”

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