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Archbishop Demetrios Convenes Productive Relief Coordination Meeting

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  • Mar 31, 2012

    ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS CONVENES COORDINATION MEETING OF GREEK-AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE RELIEF EFFORTS FOR THE PEOPLE OF GREECE

    NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios presided yesterday over a meeting of seventeen leaders and representatives of Greek-American organizations, federations and associations for the coordination of action and exchange of information regarding the relief efforts and immediate economic assistance to the suffering people in Greece. The two-hour meeting, held at the Headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in Manhattan, was also attended by the Consul General of Greece in New York George Iliopoulos and the Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sofianou.

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    With the crisis and the suffering facing the people in Greece still unfolding and given the willingness of the Omogeneia to offer real and tangible assistance to our brethren there, many relevant new ideas and actions were presented for an effective coordination of all efforts between the various Greek-American organizations and the Archdiocese.

    Archbishop Demetrios reported to the participants on the actions of the Archdiocese and the status of the Relief Fund for the People of Greece of the Archdiocese, which, as he said, had collected to that moment $200,000 from the collections of the parishes, the offerings through the internet and other funds directly sent to the Archdiocese, emphasizing that the fundraising effort continues to be under way. The Archbishop also said that the National Philoptochos, the philanthropic arm of the Archdiocese, has already sent through International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a $25,000 emergency donation for immediate assistance for needy families in Greece.

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    His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios explained that during these hard times, the enormous task of providing relief to those in need, falls for the most part on the Church of Greece which provides on a daily basis food rations, operates soup kitchens, offers clothing and shelter and has recently announced the creation of special pharmacies for the needy. The Archbishop added that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America intends to direct most of its help through the Church of Greece, to support these specific philanthropic endeavors.

    The Archbishop said he has called His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece to discuss the whole issue of support and following their discussion he intends to visit him in Athens in the near future.

    During his visit there, Archbishop Demetrios will have the opportunity to be informed in more detail about the assistance programs for the needy operated by the Archdiocese of Athens, the Metropolises of Greece and the local parishes of the Church of Greece. He will present to Archbishop Ieronymos the first installment from the Relief Fund for the People of Greece of the Archdiocese in order for the funds to be used for these specific assistance programs of the Archdiocese of Athens.

    His Eminence added that His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, has been assigned the responsibility of coordination of the relief efforts between the Archdiocese and the Greek-American organizations.

    During the meeting, all the officials and representatives of the organizations and federations spoke and reported on the initiatives they have already undertaken or are planning in the immediate future. The views and ideas presented, were not only related to the immediate and urgent need of support for those suffering in Greece, but touched upon relevant issues such as immigration policy, offers of employment in Greece and the U.S., visas for new scientists and young professionals, internships and short term employment, tourism, investments, access to capital for small businesses, medical and pharmaceutical care, etc. There was special interest for the experiences of several organizations that have already started initiatives for Greece and have either distributed food and clothing or sent relief funds to philanthropic entities in Greece.

    All the participants expressed their satisfaction and praise for the initiative of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to convene this coordination meeting, and agreed that it is very important to be on the same page and plan jointly. They all expressed their willingness to work together in a spirit of unity, with the Archdiocese as the coordinator of this endeavor.

    The following representatives took part in the meeting: Jimmy Kokotas – AHEPA, Nick Larigakis – American Hellenic Institute, Andrew Manatos – National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, Peter Papanicolaou – Cyprus Federation of America, Dimitrios Filios – Pan-Arcadian Federation of America, George Kalyvas – Pan-Messenian Federation of USA & Canada, Nicholas Poulis – Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of New Jersey and Chian Federation, Elias Tsekerides – Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, Kostas Kellas – Hellenic American Bankers Association, Michael Theodorobeakos – Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, Stamatis Ghikas – Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, Stella Kokolis – Hellenic American Teachers Federation of the USA, Michael Hartofilis – Hellenic Lawyers Association, Dr. Nikolaos Mezitis – Hellenic Medical Society of New York, Stelios Taketzis – Hellenic Relief Foundation, George Stamas – National Hellenic Society and George Antoniou, Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of New Jersey.

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    pressoffice@goarch.org
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