Greenport, NY.- By Catherine Tsounis
The double-headed eagle, the Byzantine imperial symbol, was transformed into a symbol of the Orthodox Church and hierarchy under Ottoman rule. It remains as the symbol of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The Saints Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church of Greenport, New York is directly under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
A procession to Bless the Long Island Waters at Greenport, New York by Metropolitan Paisios of St. Irene Chrysovalantou of the Ecumenical Patriarchate took place on Saturday, September 19th morning during the Maritime Festival. The procession and parade included: Southold Supervisor Scott Russell; Southold Judge William Price; Greenport Mayor David Nyce, Rev. Constantine and Presvitera Kyriaki Ballas with the community of Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church of Greenport; Rev. Demetrios and Presvitera Panetos of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Brooklyn, members of the monastic order of Sts. Irene Chrysovalantou of Astoria with parishioners, leading Suffolk County political figures; the ROTC; local churches; civic organizations; an antique car contingent and others.
Spectators were from the local area, Astoria, Brooklyn, Flushing and Whitestone. The ROTC contingent made an impression on all during this time of the Iraq War. Small town America is patriotic sending their dedicated young men and women into the military. Watching young person between the ages of sixteen to twenty march for their country reminds one that the very young are engaged in fighting war in the Middle East. was the largest contingent of marchers.
The Blessing of the Waters by Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church is the main attraction at the Maritime Festival,” said Rev. Gerasimos Ballas. “A unique bilingual Greek/English religious ceremony was performed by Metropolitan Paisios. This year our young men and women dived for the cross in Greenport Harbor. The swimmer who retrieved the cross thrown by Metropolitan Paisios was Christian Angelson. The other divers were Konstantina Leodis, Bobby Geroulamos, Eleni M. Lampeas, Stavros P. Lampeas and Antonis Potamitis. All divers were blessed by Metropolitan Paisios.”
“With the Cross we move on,” said Metropolitan Paisios. “We celebrate the Blessing of the Waters by The Saints Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church at the borders of Long Island.” Greenport was a village in a difficult economic position in the 1970’s. Vikentios, Bishop of Apameia, of St. Irene Chrysovalantou Church and Monastery in Astoria, was instrumental in the purchasing of a Presbyterian Protestant Church. Southold Judge William Price recalls “attending the same church when it was Presbyterian as a child. Father Gerasimos is my friend. The Greek Orthodox Church makes the village of Greenport a better place to live.”
“The town was planning to demolish the church and build apartments,” said Bishop Vikentios in a previous interview. “We came at night to see the Church with a flashlight. No lights! We made a decision. We bought the church. Our decision helped in the rebirth of Greenport. We created the Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church. A parade was created that led to the harbor, where the religious ritual of the blessing of the waters was performed. This unique custom gave birth to the Greenport Maritime Festival.” According to Rev. Ballas, “the Maritime Museum joined in 1990 and added to the Procession and parade. This is a very spiritual day for me and my congregation.” For more information, call Father Gerasimos of Saints Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church at (631) 477-1801.