Greek America This Week - February 10, 2003

Archbishop Spyridon Foundation
Inaugurated in New York City

The official inauguration of the Archbishop Spyridon Foundation for Hellenic Education and Culture took place in New York, on February 1, 2003, with the participation of former Archbishop of America Spyridon, prominent politicians and over 1500 members of the Greek-American community.

Top: A $100.000 check is presented to Montreal's Socrates School. Below: Margo Catsimatides. Archbishop Spyridon, Fannie Petallides and Justine Frangouli-Argyris.

The Foundation which bears the name of the former Archbishop of America, Spyridon, has as its basic goal to fulfill his vision of advancing Hellenic Education and Culture in the whole world of the Greek Diaspora.

According to the Foundation's official press release, "Now that emigration from Greece has come to an end and that conditions in the lands that received Greek immigrants have changed, it becomes imperative, now more than ever, that we preserve our Hellenic culture through all possible means."

The Foundation bears the name and seal of Archbishop Spyridon who throughout his ministry in Italy and in America considered the preservation of the Greek language and culture as a top priority. Archbishop Spyridon served as Archbishop in America for three years, before a bitterly contested power struggle and movement to remove him led to his ultimate resignation.

The Socrates School of Montreal received $100,000 in what was the Foundation's first gift. The money is intended to fund tuition for pupils from lower-income families. Similar gifts and programs are planned for the future.

The inauguration event was introduced by Dr. William Tenet, distinguished cardiologist and head of the Kyrinia Center for Cardiovascular Diseases in New York. Tenet is also the brother of CIA Director George Tenet.

The crowd of 1500 people enthusiastically received Archbishop Spyridon, crying AXIOS (Worthy), as he stood up to give his speech. During his address to the people, His Eminence stressed:

"The source of inspiration for setting up our Foundation was last year's visit to the Montreal Hellenic Community Greek Day School "Socrates" which is indeed an educational model for all Greek schools outside Greece. John Catsimatidis' idea to create a new platform to promote our cultural heritage immediately touched the hearts of us all. It is truly humbling to have such friends as the men and women who have banded together to offer yet another creative means dedicated to the active preservation and enhancement of HELLINIKI PAIDEIA, the legacy of our rich Greek Orthodox Tradition."

Speeches on Archbishop Spyridon Foundation's goals were delivered by Dr. John Rassias, professor at Dartmouth College and chairman of the commission which wrote "The Future of the Greek Language and Culture in the United States: Survival in The Diaspora" ("The Rassias Report").

John Catsimatidis, president of the Foundation also spoke about the role the community will play in the overall effectiveness of the foundation.

Former National Philoptochos President Eve Condakes, author of Spyridon's biography and journalist Justine Frangouli-Argyris and Georgia Kaloidis, chairman of the Organizing Committee also spoke at the event.

There was also a book signing of Archbishop Spyridon's biography "The Lonely Path of Integrity." Justine Frangouli-Argyris signed over 500 copies and the $10,000 dollars collected that night were donated to the Archbishop Spyridon Foundation.

[ Greek America This Week - February 10, 2003 (#30) - p. 1 ]