New York.- A newly appointed and elected Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America convened for its Fall Meeting in New York at the Hilton Hotel on Friday, October 20, 2006. Archbishop Demetrios of America presided at the Council Meeting at which most of the Hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod were also in attendance.
The joint session of the Archdiocesan Council and the National Philoptochos Board began with a short prayer service at the conclusion of which Archbishop Demetrios delivered his Opening Address. He thanked the Council and the National Philoptochos members for their desire to volunteer their service to the Church reminding them that their appointment “is not merely an honor, but a privileged duty that has to be rightly performed.” Reading from a passage of the Book of Revelation (3:8), the Archbishop emphasized the words “I have set upon you an open door,” exhorting the Archdiocesan Council and the National Philoptochos Board to be the “open door” community and accomplish tremendous achievements.
Archbishop Demetrios spoke about the recent gathering of the Eparchial Synod. He also noted that the Faith Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism initiative has received to date $10 million in actual contributions and $32 million in monetary pledges, with the most recent actual contribution of $500,000 having been offered by an anonymous donor. He then announced that the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate-Order of Saint Andrew in America will honor Archon Nicholas J. Bouras with the Athenagoras Human Rights Award. Mr. Nicholas Bouras is a member of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council and a well-deserving generous benefactor of the Church.
After conferring the Affirmation of Office to the Council, Archbishop Demetrios welcomed twenty-one new members to the Council and nominated the following to serve on the Executive Committee: Michael Jaharis (vice chairman), Nicholas Bouras (treasurer), Catherine Bouffides-Walsh (secretary), Peter Kikis, George Behrakis, George Vourvoulias, Anthony Stefanis, George Matthews and Dr. Elenie Huszagh. Emanuel G. Demos serves as legal counsel. In addition, the Archbishop recommended that the four past presidents of the Council — Andrew Athens, John Catsimatidis, Demitri Moschos and Alex Spanos — participate in the committee in an advisory capacity “to enhance the work of the Executive Committee.”
In his brief comments, the re-elected Vice Chairman, Mr. Michael Jaharis pledged to address one of the major weakness indicated by the recent SWOT data (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) namely, the lack of understanding of the faith by the Greek Orthodox faithful.
Also presenting were the Administration Committee Chairman, Anthony Stefanis who spoke on the responsibility of the members of the Council urging them to meet on a regular basis, and Rev. Fr. Frank Marangos on committee responsibilities and the next procedural steps of the SWOT analysis process. The Finance Committee Chairman, George Vourvoulias, also discussed the meetings that have been held at various Metropolises to provide information concerning the new financial funding strategy for the Archdiocese budget. The Council was recessed to allow the Standing Committees to meet and discuss the recent progress of the institutions and ministries of the Archdiocese.