Deptford, NJ – It may not be a written motto, but when it comes to philanthropy and honoring the members of the Greek-American community, this organization is a leader. Established in 1938 by Greek Immigrants, the Society of Epirotes of Philadelphia “The Omonia”, has built an organization that quietly “puts its money where its mouth is”. On Sunday morning some 30 members joined together first at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Philadelphia to remember and honor those fellow members that have passed on before them.
Following church services, the group got together at Adelphia Restaurant (at their annual fall meeting). There, they honored two long time members of the community and reaffirming their philanthropic conviction to Hellenism, committing thousands of dollars to Greek education and helping the children of Greece. It’s a vision that is both local and global.
Each year, Greek schools across the Delaware Valley, received a grant, awarded to the schools program for continuing with their Greek language program. The $500 dollar check is given at the annual Society of Epirotes annual dance to a representative of each church Greek school. The fund goes a long way in today’s age, where many educational programs are looking for new avenues to pursue to upgrade their programs. In addition, their efforts to help back in the motherland, are never far from their hearts.
In Amfithea Ioannina (northwestern Greece), on the shores of Lake Pamvotis, at the foot of Mitsikeli is built the monastery of Our Lady Dourahani. It is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. The monastery operates a boarding-school and home for orphans. Food and other supplies are purchased by “The Omonia”, annually to help feed the children of the monastery. This past year, two member, Kostas Kravaris and Ria Stamoulis traveled to the monastery where they got to meet with the children and leadership. Through local food markets, they purchased $1000 dollars worth of food supplies for the monastery. During the general meeting, “The Omonia” voted to double the supplies of food to $2,000 dollars, reconfirming their philanthropic efforts in Greece.
Also at the annual meeting, the Society of Epirotes of Philadelphia “The Omonia” handed out to awards for community service. They acknowledged the long time contributions of George Agatsiotis and Dr. George Ahtaridis.
George Agatsiotis is a long time member of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church. He was recognized for his continued commitment to the organization ( Epirotes of Philadelphia) and recognized for his years of service to the Greek American community at large. “George is a man of few words and many actions. He leads by example”, said Vasilis Keisoglou, current President of the Society of Epirotes. In addition to his years of service behind the scenes at many functions, George has spent years servicing the homeless in the Delaware County area. Each year, along with St. Demetrios church, he works the food lines and is often seen on the front line making the drive over to the homeless shelters.
Dr. George Ahtaridis is a staple name in the community. He too was present, along with his wife and recognized for his years of donated service to the community and for playing a key leadership role. For more than a quarter century, Dr. Ahtaridis has held many positions in the Greek-American community. He has been involved with festivals, parades and conferences, helping to preserve and perpetuate Hellenism in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
Moved by the presentation about the monastery, Dr. Ahtaridis also announced that he would make a donation of 500 dollars to the monastery. The monastery which houses some 100 children had sent a thank you letter for last years efforts. The new announcement will certainly be a pleasant surprise.
Following a group picture and lunch, the Society of Epirotes of Philadelphia “Omonia” announced the scheduling of it’s annual dance, “Tsipourovradia” for Saturday March 5, 2016 at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church in Upper Darby. Details will be posted on Cosmos Philly as soon as musicians and times are secured.