Chicago, IL.- (GreekNewsOnline)
Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
New Jersey lawyer and long time AHEPA member George Horiates was elected new Supreme President of the largest Greek American organization, at the last day of the 97th Supreme Convention of the American Hellenic Progressive Association, that was held from July 1-6, in Chicago. Hundreds of delegates from around the United States Canada and Europe participated at the conference, that was concluded with Friday night’s grand banquet, attended by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
During the banquet, Supreme President George E. Loucas and Chairman of the Board Nicholas A. Karacostas gave Archbishop Elpidophoros the remaining amount of $286,000, that fulfils AHEPA’s pledge to contribute one million dollars for the reconstruction of St. Nicholas Shrine in Ground Zero.
“Since 1922, AHEPA has stood by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America thus creating the ‘Twin Pillars of Hellenism’ in America that we see today,” Loucas said. “We are deeply grateful to the AHEPA family; to our amazing grassroots network of districts, chapters, and dedicated members, all of who made this landmark donation a reality.”
Karacostas added, “We are proud to be the only secular organization to make and fulfill a one-million-dollar donation to this campaign. I echo the sentiments of Supreme President Loucas in convey our sincere appreciation to all our donors.”
Additionally, Loucas and Karacostas expressed confidence Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine will be rebuilt and both hope AHEPA’s fulfillment of its pledge will provide the springboard for the additional support the project needs.
THE NEW SUPREME LODGE
In addition to Supreme President George Horiates, members of the Supreme Lodge are: James Kokotas Vice President, James Stasios Supreme Secretary, and Savas Tsivikos Supreme Treasurer. Christos Argiriou was re-elected President of AHEPA Canada, Louis G. Atsaves and Chris G. Atsavess Supreme Athletics Director. Celia Kachmarski from Calgary, Canada was elected President of the Daughters of Penelope.
President of PSEKA Philip Christopher and the businessman and former treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council Michael Psaros were awarded the “Socrates Award” of the AHEPA.
George Horiates, 52, is a lawyer with offices at Pennsauken, NJ. He is married to Lisa Horiates and they have two children. He is the past president of the Hellenic Federation of Greater Philadelphia, of Panicarian Federation and the Parish of Saint Thomas in Cherry Hills.
During his remarks he thanked his family and he paid tribute to his immigrant parents and especially his maternal grandfather Nicholas, who was expressing to him back in 1972 his fear that the Greeks in America will lose their roots and will forget their language and history.
“No grandpa! We will never forget our roots and Hellenism”, George Horiates said at the banquet.
Archbishop Elpidophoros conveyed to the AHEPANS the greetings and blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
“You are dearly loved by him as your support for the Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, your longstanding witness of philanthropy, your commitment to Hellenic ideals, and your service to those in need exemplify the exhortation of the Apostle Paul: …whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).”
Your witness as the AHEPA family affirms that you not only think about these things, but you do these things!
He said the AHEPA Supreme Convention is a blessed opportunity for fellowship in the bonds that we share through our faith, our legacy, and our service. It is also an opportunity to affirm the great potential we have before us.
“In your service as members of AHEPA and in our service to God as His Church, we know that this love is not limited by distance. This is why I can convey and you can receive the love and blessings of our spiritual father, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. We share this love with our brothers and sisters throughout this nation and around the world. It is the love that unites us in Christ. It is the love that guides and inspires us to address the needs of our youth, the elderly, the orphan and widow, and all who need physical and spiritual healing. It is the love that leads us in gratitude to offer all that we are and have as a witness of our faith and for the glory of God.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros also mentioned the Independence Day celebrated on July 4, as a celebration of freedom.
“It honors the value of this ideal in providing a social and political environment where people can flourish and explore the potential of their God-created, human ability. As heirs of a noble Hellenic heritage that has cherished freedom and as the children of our Greek forbearers who sacrificed for independence, we know the value of freedom. We know that freedom is inseparably connected to the love of our fellow human beings and our love of God. We affirm that we have been called to freedom so that through love we can be servants of one another (Galatians 5:13); and because for freedom Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1), we are called to use this freedom, as you the AHEPA family do so admirably, so that others may experience this love.”
Elpidophoros pointed out that in 2022 both the Holy Archdiocese and the AHEPA family will celebrate centennial anniversaries in this nation of freedom and hope. “These anniversary events are certainly times of remembrance. We will reflect on a century of faith and service. We will mark great accomplishments; honor the memory of so many who offered so much, and give thanks to God for His many blessings. But we will also affirm that all that has been achieved has been through His love and the love we share. We will recognize that we are the benefactors of a legacy of love that has impacted innumerable lives. As we prepare for these commemorations, we share great joy in knowing that the Holy Archdiocese of America and the AHEPA family have worked together and shared this legacy.”
The Archbishop of America stressed that over the past century, the members of AHEPA have supported the sacred ministry of the Church through the establishment and growth of our parishes, through the support and leadership offered in our national programs and initiatives, and through the unwavering support for our beloved Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“The Church has continued to recognize in love and gratitude the vital work of AHEPA in education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and in so many other areas of service, as well as in advancing Hellenic ideals which inspire and enliven our common humanity and enhance our witness of our Orthodox faith. My hope and prayer is that this relationship will not only continue in the love that we share and that it will bear much fruit, but that it will also become even stronger as we prepare and commit for the work that is before us. Together, we can and will accomplish tremendous things that will reveal our love for God and our love for each other. Through our shared efforts in ministry and service, many more will experience God’s transforming love. Together, we will honor the legacy of love that has been given to us by our forbearers, and we will bring honor and glory to God for the great and marvelous works that we will see. May His blessings be upon you and the vital work and service of AHEPA and the AHEPA family.”