Constantinople.- The AHEPA delegation that tours Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, as part of the 78th Annual AHEPA Family Excursion, arrived on Thursday, April 20 in Constantinople, where it was received by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The delegation visited the Theological School at Halki, and attend services for Pascha at the St George’s Patriarchal Church.
The AHEPA delegation visited on Tuesday Thessaloniki and with Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis. The AHEPA delegation briefed Kalantzis on the association’s activities and on their visit to Thessaloniki. Earlier in the day, the AHEPA presidium was received by Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos who was also briefed on AHEPA’s activities.
On Wednesday, the group toured the AHEPA Hospital where Supreme President James presented a $50,000 contribution to hospital administrators.
Before Thessaloniki, the delegation had visited Cyprus.
“Our visit to Cyprus was a productive and emotional one for our entire delegation,” said Supreme President Gus J. James, II, a native of Cyprus, who along with his wife, Mary, found his grandmother’s gravesite in occupied Cyprus. “I believe Cyprus is always an eye-opening experience for our members and their families even if it is their second or third time visiting it.”
The delegation toured the “Green Line” and ventured north through occupied Cyprus reaching Apostolos Andreas monastery. It was the second time James returned to the occupied area. In 2001, he accompanied then Supreme President Johnny N. Economy on a groundbreaking goodwill visit to the occupied area where he located his father’s gravesite.
On April 14, AHEPA hosted a reception honoring the Republic of Cyprus with the AHEPA Spirit of Hellenism Award and Mr. George Paraskevaides with the AHEPA Philanthropy Award.
“In keeping with our goal for the excursion, we wanted to honor the Republic of Cyprus for its contributions to Hellenism and its ability to perpetuate the principles and values of Hellenism through very challenging periods of the island’s history,” said James. “And George Paraskevaides’ philanthropic contributions to society are immense and carry meaning to people’s everyday lives. His honor is long overdue.”
Moreover, the delegation met with American Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus Ronald L. Schlicher, who hosted the delegation for a reception; Nicosia Mayor Michael Zampelas, and attended Palm Sunday services with the Bishop of Kykkos.