NEW YORK.- By Catherine Tsounis
Wonderful autumn weather attracted New Yorkers to the four day Festival from October 7th to 10th of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Flushing, New York. Greek and Cypriot cuisine, a Greek Cafenio and Loucoumades attracted persons. Imported Greek products, a fabulous flea market, games, a Raffle drawing daily and vendors of various goods were offered. Prominent persons who attended included: City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Assemblyman Mark Weprin; Assemblyman Mike Giannaris; Peter Boudouvas, candidate for the State Assembly District 26 and other prominent members of the community. Festival Chairman is Larry Hotzoglou. Chris Pantazis is President of the Parish Council. Rev. Paul Palesty is the protopresbyter (leading pastor) of St. Nicholas Church, which is the largest Greek community outside of Athens, Greece.
Assemblyman Mike Giannaris said, “the Festival is a success, helping the community in its expansion plans. Father Paul always makes sure the Festival runs smoothly. Assemblyman Giannaris is the first Greek American Assemblyman in Albany. Assemblyman Mark Weprin said “the transformation of the school building is miraculous.” He has a unique relationship with the Greek-American community of Northeastern Queens. Assemblyman Weprin put up school crossing signs with Tony Barsamian, former William Spyropoulos P.T.A. president. He helped the Festival in its operation during the years, tighter police security at Benjamin Cardozo High School, getting permits for the preschool program and other community projects
Peter Boudouvas, 26 A.D. Candidate received a warm reception from the community that has his signs posted on their lawns. Mr. Boudouvas served on Senator Frank Padavan’s staff for the past four years, helping to solve many of northeast Queens’ most pressing problems. He is a 35 year resident of Queens, a homeowners and parishioner of St. Nicholas Church. “ I will provide constituent services in the tradition of Senator Padavan,” he said. For more information, visit his website at www.26AD.com
Mrs. Athena Kromidas, the principal of the William Spyropoulos Day School praised the youth for “donating their services at the Games. Our P.T.A. organized a hugely successful Cafenio. We are united and moving ahead to expand our school. Our children are happy to be in school and are all smiling. The William Spyropoulos School is one of the top ten best non-public schools in N.Y.C. We have 500 students in our school, with a waiting list. There are over 70 students in Doulaveras preschool program. Four hundred students attend the Greek Afternoon School under principal George Kanellopoulos.”
Rev. Paul Palesty (Palestidis) is the second generation Greek-American priest, who is the leader of this unique expansion project. His parents were from the island of Chios and Pontus on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. He is a scholar, fluent in his ancestral Greek language. He has excellent communication with Greek and English speaking parishioners. “We are upset about the bombing of the Greek Patriarch ate in Turkey,” he explained. The residence of Patriarch Bartholomew (the Greek Pope) in Istanbul was shattered during the days of the Festival.
“The first phase of our expansion plan is nearly completed,” explained Father Paul.” The parish council and school parents renovated the school building with central air conditioning, fire sprinkling system and removal of all asbestos. The tiles and walls are all new in the school building. In the old school gymnasium, a new floor, cafeteria and hall were created. Six new classrooms were built on the ground level floor. An ingenious utilization of space was created.”
Father Paul said the church and school expansion project “is a seven and a half million project. We have two and a half million in commitments. I would like to thank the following persons: Parish Council President Chris Pantazis; Building Committee Chairman Manny Kratsios with members James Mihalios and Gus Mallios; Fundraising Chairmen Chris Stratakis and Stephen Cherpelis and community members. All these persons played a significant role in this hugely successful expansion project.” This miraculous flourishing of the community has been influenced by the guidance of a deeply religious man, Very Rev. Paul Palesty.