The Federation of Greek American Educators Cut the Vasilopita

January 25, 2022

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY – In the presence of distinguished guests, the vasilopita was cut by the Federation of Greek American Educators in the community hall at St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Washington Heights on January 23.

Presiding priest of the community, and also the Deputy Director of the Department of Greek Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Fr. Gregory Stamkopoulos, spoke to The National Herald and shared his personal best wishes and thanks: “My personal joy and that of the Parish Council of St. Spyridon is great today, because the Federation of Greek American Educators, in collaboration with the Greek Education Department of the Holy Archdiocese of America, cuts the vasilopita for 2022, in the beautiful and open church in Washington Heights. Congratulations are due to the organizer of the event, Ms. Stella Kokolis, who is the president of the Federation and a member of the High Council for Greek Education of our Holy Archdiocese and of course tirelessly for half a century actively supports Greek education in America, as well as and to the teachers of Greek, who make a great contribution to the Greek community. I also thank the president of the High Council of Greek Education, Mrs. Athena Kromidas, but also the director of the Department of Greek Education, Dr. Anastasios Koularmanis, for everything that has been taking place in Greek education for two years now, with the air of renewal and creativity in all fields… We are grateful to Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, for the hope he brought to the Archdiocese of America and his unwavering pastoral care. I wish everyone a good, healthy, fertile, and fruitful 2022 and the Archdiocese’s centennial to be a new creative beginning for our Greek education.”

The traditional vasilopita was cut by the Federation of Greek American Educators in the community hall at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Washington Heights, NY, on January 23. Photo: TNH/ Despina Afentouli

Federation of Greek American Educators President Stella Kokolis also spoke with TNH and wished everyone and all teachers the best for a happy new year, with health. At the same time, she said that the Federation has been following the cutting of the vasilopita tradition for a number of years and while in the last two years due to the pandemic, the event took place online on an international level, this year it was decided to again cut the traditional vasilopita in person with a limited number of people at the St. Spyridon community, for two reasons: “First, because Fr. Gregory became the presiding priest of the community, and he is a pillar of Greek education and he is a man who collaborates with the teachers, with the Federation and […] together with Dr. Anastasios Koularmanis, they perfectly manage the Education Department at the Holy Archdiocese of America. The second reason is that St. Spyridon was the first parish, after St. Nicholas that I attended when I first came to America, in the 1960s-70s. I went regularly, because we met [in the communities of St. Spyridon or St. Eleftherios], in the presence of all the Greek day and afternoon schools, with the late teacher Synefakis of that era, on education issues, with the then-‘Athena’ association… After 50 years, we cut the vasilopita again at St. Spyridon… a historic church with icons by great artists.”

It should be noted that during the cutting of the vasilopita, Kokolis dedicated a piece to Christ, to the community of St. Spyridon, and then to those present and not, expressing heartfelt wishes specifically: to Archbishop Elpidophoros, Fr. Stamkopoulos, Dr. Koularmanis, Athena Kromidas, Meropi Kyriakou, Vasiliki Filiotis, Demetra Savopolis, Dimitra Pylarinou, Secretary General for Hellenes Abroad and Public Diplomacy Giannis Chrysoulakis, to the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Dr. Eleni Griva, to the Deputy Minister of Education and Religion Zetta Makri, Deputy Minister of Tourism Sofia Zacharaki, Maria Vaxevanidou, TNH and all the media, all the priests, all the school principals, students and teachers, Dr. George Melikokis, Demosthenes Triantafillou, Adriana Filiotis, Timoleon Kokkinos, Stavroula Tsoutsa, Katerina Bliatzas, and to all those present.

During the online portion of the event, representatives of teachers from Greece and Florida shared greetings and best wishes and Secretary General Chrysoulakis praised the work of teachers and announced upcoming training programs planned for the future.

Finally, Head of the Press Office of the Greek Consulate in New York Maria Vaxevanidou referred to the importance of teachers’ work, not only in teaching the Greek language, but also the transmission of universal values ​​from Greece to the world.


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