NEW YORK – The community’s professional organizations held their annual joint cutting of the vasilopita with His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros presiding over the blessing and the vasilopita cutting on January 23 in a crowded Chiotes Hall at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan.
The Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce (HACC), Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Leadership 100, AHEPA, Hellenic-American Association for Professionals in Finance (HABA), Hellenic-American Cultural Foundation (HACF), Hellenic Lawyers Association (HLA), Hellenic Medical Society of New York (HMSNY), Hellenic Professional Women (HPW), National Hellenic Society (NHS), East Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA), Pan Gregorian Enterprises of Metro NY and LI, and Greek Young Professional Organizations hosted the well-attended event.
Nancy Papaioannou, HACC Advisory Board Co-Chair, gave the welcoming remarks and served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. She thanked everyone for attending and observing one of the most beautiful traditions of our Greek culture and religion. She then introduced HACC Executive Board Chairman and Advisory Board Co-Chair Clay Maitland who explained the tradition of the Vasilopita.
Papaioannou then introduced the representatives of each of the organizations to share their best wishes for the New Year beginning with HACC President Athas Ioannou, and followed by Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Maria Pappas, and Leadership 100 Executive Director Paulette Poulos who noted the importance of the Greek Orthodox faith to the community.
AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas wished all the best for 2023 and pointed out that we can accomplish anything when we are united. HABA Treasures Costas Kellas looked forward to more joint events with all the organizations, while HLA President George Zapantis also echoed the message of unity and wished everyone good health and a happy New Year. HACF Chairman Nicholas Kourides noted how “this is a special opportunity to wish everyone health and prosperity in the New Year” and mentioned HACF’s events which highlight the cultural achievements of Greece.
HMSNY President Dr. Antonis Gasparis spoke in Greek and wished everyone health above all and all the best in 2023 for the Greek community.
HPW Second Vice President Kalliopi Ziangos thanked everyone for coming and for supporting events that bring us all together to celebrate our Greek culture.
EMBCA President Lou Katsos noted that “united no one can stop us” adding that “it’s fantastic that you’re all here and that tells me going forward we will absolutely be united.”
Federation of Cypriot-American Organizations (FCAO) Board member Despina Axiotakis, representing FCAO President Kyriacos Papastylianou, wished everyone a happy New Year and asked that everyone keep Cyprus in their prayers.
Nikos Bardis, representing Pan Gregorian Enterprises, also shared his greetings and best wishes in Greek, pointing out that Pan Gregorian will always be on the Greek community’s side.
John Papaspanos, representing the HACC Young Professionals, thanked all those for attending and looked forward to meeting everyone at upcoming events. Konstantine Ouranitsas, National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA) chairman, also shared his best wishes for 2023. Papaioannou noted that a representative of NHS could not attend but they sent their best wishes as well.
Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral Fr. Chrysostomos Gilbert wished everyone a happy New Year and introduced His Eminence who then shared his greetings, reminding everyone that the tradition of the Vasilopita unites us all in the same way that the ingredients are united in the Vasilopita, each piece containing the same ingredients that make up the whole pita. He also noted what unites us all, including our faith, Greek culture and civilization, defending the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, the support of the homeland of Greece, keeping peace in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and the solution of the unjust occupation of more than a third of the island nation. He wished everyone a blessed and happy New Year and then blessed and cut the Vasilopita along with Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Konstantinou who also shared warm wishes for the New Year in Greek since in a few days we would all be celebrating the Greek Letters on January 30. He congratulated the leaders, representatives, and members of the organizations who welcomed him when he arrived at the end of August with love and ready to work together and seeing everyone present and united looked forward to working with everyone to maintain our Greek heritage and show our pride in being Hellenes. Konstantinou noted Greece’s need for a strong and even stronger Greek-American community to meet the challenges facing us and to hold our flag high. He concluded with best wishes for the New Year with health, prosperity, and love to all and their families.
Among those present were Consul of Greece Dimitris Papageorgiou, Consulate General Department of Economic & Commercial Affairs Head Nikolaos Thomopoulos, Cultural Attache and Public Relations Officer Evelyn Kanellea, Public Diplomacy Office Head Mary Vaxevanidou, Rhode Island State Senator Lou Raptakis, American Friends of the Jewish Museum in Greece President Solomon Asser, AHEPA District 6 Governor Dean Moskos, Dr. Lorraine Chrisomalis-Valasiadis, Dr. Stella Lymberis, Dr. George Liakeas, Fox5 Meteorologist Nick Gregory, and Gyro World owner Dimitris Petridis.