New York.- By Catherine Tsounis
“Real Leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination and vision”- Astoria Walk Dedicated in Honor of Peter F. Vallone, Sr. Old-fashioned festivals free to public are becoming rare. Greek Orthodox Church festivals are being replaced by Taverna Nights with a $65+ fee. The 46th Annual Festival of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Flushing was held on Thursday, October 5th to Sunday, October 8th Columbus weekend. Admission was free. Attractions included souvlaki, gyro, pastries and loukoumades, a flea market, games, Church tours, Greek folk dancing performances by the schools, live Greek music and vendors. People attended, making it one of the most popular New York City festivals. A fabulous raffle of cars was offered. Sotirios Georgiou served as Festival Chairperson for the 12th year. The Clergy are Rev. Protopresbyter who is celebrating his 40th Anniversary Ministry in January, 2018, Rev. Presbyter Aristidis Grains and Rev. Presbyter Andreas Houpos. Mrs. Athena Kromidas is the Principal of the William Spyropoulos School. Mr. George Kanellopoulos is Principal of the Arete and Stephen Cherpelis Greek Afternoon School.
The 111th Police Precinct expanded uniform and plain clothes officers. The October 1st Las Vegas shooting, at country music festival killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500 near the Mandalay Bay Hotel-Casino, was a shadow over the week. P.O. Luigi Galano, P.O. John Erdman, Cpt. Isom and Lt. Sean Dolphin under Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector William McBride supervised with vigilance and professionalism excellent police surveillance. Street barriers closed 196th Street and Northern Blvd. Young and old walked with ease enjoying great summer weather. Church organizers with determination and vision made the Festival an outstanding New York City event.
Vendors Irene Tsiaris and Babis Sampelidis fashion unique jewelry, accessories, home décor in their “Glass Creations By Irene” business in display. “Our mission is to promote Greek-American art to the Greater American Public,” explained Irene.
“My energy is reflected in my icon painting on rocks. We form from spontaneous experiences and encounters with our environment.” These artists have created a powerful and moving collection of pieces showing their understanding of the art and culture of the world. The local vendors and banks have enjoyable displays. For more informations, contact email@example.com.
Second generation graduates of the William Spyropoulos School and Arete and Stephen Cherpelis Greek Afternoon School played an active role in 2017.Sotirios Georgiou, a graduate of the William Spyropoulos School is serving over 12 years as Festival chairperson. His easy-going personality with a smile makes every festival special. “We are strong, working together,” he said. It is an honor to serve the church in such a way.”. His children, the third generation are playing an active role. For more information, visit www.stnicholasflushing.org.
Dr. Maria Teresa Sakatis Ioannou, a second-generation graduate has her three children, the third generation, enrolled at the William Spyropoulos School. Her parents, the late John Sakatis of Kos, Greece and Myrna Sakatis were devoted to church and school. Dr. Ioannou is carrying on a family tradition. “I graduated 27 years ago.,” she explained. “I see my children continue the legacy of this wonderful school. When I come to drop off and pick up my kids, I feel as if I am visiting my second home.” Dr. Ioannou has “Vida Dental Spa” at 11-01 154th St. Whitestone, N.Y.
Christopher Fillos, a second-generation graduate, can be seen cooking souvlakia for four days. His parents, Sotiria and Theodore Fillos have been helping in food preparation for many years. They are from Karpenisi, Greece. A strong, active group from their organization Evrytanon Amerikis “To Karpenisi” aids St. Nicholas church every year in all church events. The prefecture of Evrytania and its main town Karpenisi is known for its natural, mountainous beauty in central Greece. Historically, it has been a passageway through Greece for invaders. The Karpenisiotes are tough, determined, focused individuals. They are all united with one purpose: loyalty to family and friends by maintaining strong ties to the Greek language, culture and Orthodox religion.
Stephen Cherpelis, Dikaiophylax Archon ( Defender of the Faith) of the Greek Orthodox Church and founder of the Areti and Stephen Cherpelis Greek Afternoon School of St. Nicholas Church,is from Karpenisi. President Demosthenes Triantafillou of the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” thanked Mr. Cherpelis for his generous $500 donation to their Sept. 24th Testimonial for this writer. Mr. Cherpelis “admires and respects the work of Hellenism and Paideia (education) of Prometheus and their honoree.” Every year he plays an active role selling Festival raffles, contributing to its enormous success.
The congregation of the Greek Orthodox Shrine Church of St. Nicholas in 1971 was the first community organization to sponsor an ethnic festival in the New York metropolitan area. In 46 years, a growing circle of New Yorkers come to enjoy themselves. For more information, visit www.stnicholasflushing.org.