February 28th, 2013. Cherry Hill, New Jersey. – Last week, St. Thomas Greek Orthodox church was the scene of a revived Greek-American tradition. Hosted by AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) Camden Chapter #69, 3 new members were inducted in to the Washington DC based organization. The ceremony included sabers, Oaths, banners and gavels all illuminated by a candle light ritual that dates itself back to the beginning of the 20th century and the foundation of the organization.
AHEPA is a service organization founded on July 26, 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia. Its mission is to support Greek-American charities, causes, and communities. It works closely with the Greek Orthodox Church. Its affiliate women’s organization, the Daughters of Penelope, was founded in 1929. It supports two youth groups, the Sons of Pericles (established in 1926) and the Maids of Athena (1930).
AHEPA was founded as a fraternity in Atlanta, Georgia in July 1922 following growing attacks on Greek Americans and Greek American businesses by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and others. Its initial mission was to promote the image of Greeks in America, assist them with citizenship and to fight against KKK attacks. With the full assimilation of Greek Americans, its mission evolved toward philanthropy, education, and promoting and preserving the Hellenic identity of the Greek Americans.
Led by a knock at the door, the Captain of the guard (dressed in jewels and medal of the organization and carrying a saber) escorted the 3 new members into the AHEPA ROOM, where they swore oaths, acknowledged the traditions and philosophy of the organization and then gathered for a photograph with their new brothers that embraced them in to the AHEPA family.
The meeting saw brother chapters 445, Thermopylae of Delaware County (Broomall-Upper Darby) and The Hercules-Spartan Chapter of Philadelphia gather as guests of the Camden chapter. Each chapter received a new member in to it’s family in effect, growing the nations largest Hellenic organization in the world.
One of the most important and fun events the AHEPA sponsors every year, is it’s annual community track meet. America’s oldest community track is hosted in May. This year, the event has been moved to Drexel Hill middle school, just down the street from Upper Darby h.s. and invites all it’s youth of the community to attend and participate in this annual free event that celebrates the traditions of first Olympics.
SATURDAY, MAY 11TH 2013 12:00 PM
DREXEL HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL, 3001 STATE ROAD. DREXEL HILL PA 19026
RAIN DATE: SATURDAY MAY 25TH 2013 12:00 PM
UPPER DARBY HIGH SCHOOL 601 NORTH LANSDOWN AVE, UPPER DARBY PA. 19082
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: DEMETRI CONSTANTINIDIS
Order of Ahepa Thermopylae Chapter 445
8331 Lansdowne Ave, Upper Darby, Pa. 19062