AHEPA celebrated its 100th anniversary at its annual convention
Special guest speakers included US Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Greek Minister of National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
In his address, the Archbishop said, “As you celebrate and remember your first century of mission and purpose, allow me to recall something very special to me about AHEPA. When our spiritual fathers and mothers – who made the journey across the great ocean to this wounded land, and were excluded, denied and even persecuted as immigrants – AHEPA stood up for their rights. And not just to confront prejudice against Greeks, but prejudice against anyone. You should be so proud of the founding principles of this sacred brotherhood; for you uphold the traditions of what is best in Hellas and what is best in America. (Read full remarks)
Remarks were also delivered by Marios Lysiotis, Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States; Alexandra Papadopoulou, Ambassador of Greece to the United States; Jimmy Kokotas, Supreme President of AHEPA; Nicholas Karacostas, Chairman of the AHEPA Board of Directors; Kathy Bizoukas, Grand President of the Daughters of Penelope; Carl R. Hollister, president of AHEPA Housing; Paulette Poulos, CEO of L100; Basil Mossaidis, Executive Director of AHEPA; Maria Ana Pantelous, Grand President of the Maids of Athena; and Timothy Noitsis, supreme president of the Sons of Pericles.
Mike Emanuel, Fox News’ Washington correspondent, was the emcee.
Your Excellency Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Minister of National Defense of the Hellenic Republic,
Honorable United States Congressman Gus Bilirakis,
Dear friend and Supreme President of AHEPA, Jimmy Kokotas,
Grand President of the Daughters of Penelope, Kathy Bizoukas,
Beloved brothers and sisters of AHEPA and the Daughters of Penelope,
Distinguished guests and dear friends,
In this wonderful year of anniversaries – 100 years for AHEPA and 100 years for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – I am delighted to be with you in this celebration of noble deeds and brotherhood.
It is impossible in the time allotted – and, perhaps, impossible even if permitted all day and all night – to list what the American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association means to the Homogeneia, in this country and across the sea.
AHEPA is and has been – for a century – a liaison agent throughout the Western Hemisphere for the interests of Hellenes everywhere.
You are a powerful force that has held our community together – for the sake of the culture, language and interests of Greece, Cyprus and our Ecumenical Patriarchate. With the Church, Clergy and Hierarchy, and in every parish, AHEPA has been a partner, a yoke companion, helping to advance the cause of Hellenism and Orthodoxy through the decades.
You should all be very proud of this moment, just as many of you were proud to be present a few weeks ago in New York for the Clergy-Laity Centennial Congress of our Sacred Archdiocese. There we dedicated St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, a true national ministry of our Church, to which AHEPA was one of the first enthusiastic donors of $1 million. May the Lord bless you forever for your ready and generous spirit.
But AHEPA shows its support and commitment in so many different ways. It’s really not possible to recount all of your accomplishments, especially at the local level. AHEPA works hand in hand with our communities and supports the ministries of the Church.
And not only here, but your work in Greece – in particular the holding of the Supreme Convention in Athens last year for the bicentenary of Greece – is constructive, positive and, above all, affirming the close links between the diaspora and the homelands. from Greece, Cyprus, and the holy remains in Asia Minor and even in Slavic lands. You are the connective tissue that binds us together in a holistic community.
As you celebrate and remember your first century of mission and purpose, let me remind you of something very special to me about AHEPA.
When our spiritual fathers and mothers – who crossed the great ocean to this wounded land, and were excluded, denied and even persecuted as immigrants – AHEPA stood up for their rights. And not just to confront prejudice against Greeks, but prejudice against anyone.
You should be so proud of the founding principles of this sacred brotherhood; for you uphold the traditions of the best in Hellas and the best in America.
We all understand that we live in polarized times. Prejudices always raise their ugly head. But AHEPA is still there to be a voice that celebrates the dignity of all, because you understand what it means to be Greek. What it means to be children of Athens and children of Jerusalem. What it means to embrace the majestic columns of the Parthenon, as well as the grand vaults and celestial dome of Hagia Sophia.
Especially in these days when we mourn the loss of the Great Church, AHEPA understands what it is to speak boldly in the name of justice, in the name of peace, and in the name of righteousness.
I thank you all and congratulate you on your passion and commitment.
Let’s make the next hundred years the best future for ourselves and for generations to come.
Together – AHEPA and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – let us give our community the spiritual, cultural and, in the fullest sense of the Greek πόλις, political food that the Omogeneia deserves and that the world desperately needs. need.
May the Good Lord bless you all!