New York.- By Catherine Tsounis
Pleasant Temperatures Made the 2018 Columbus Day weekend Festival of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Flushing a great success. There was something for everyone: Children’s games, Greek/Cypriot cuisine; Loucoumades (small fried donuts in honey), Car raffle, church tours, Greek folk dancing groups, vendors and a flea market. The Festival was held Thursday through Sunday, October 4th to 7th. Live Greek music with singers was a big draw. Free admission. Political and Community leaders attended. Sotirios Georgiou, Festival Chairperson and Co-Chairman Larry Hatzoglou organized an exceptional event. The Clergy are Rev. Protopresbyter Paul Palesty, Rev. Presbyter Aristidis Garinis and Rev. Presbyter Andreas Houpos.
The Festival Chairpersons worked closely with 111th Police Precinct Commanding Officer: Captain John Hall and Community Affairs Officer John Erdman provided safety for all. Police Lines closed streets from 196 St. and Northern Blvd. to 44th Ave. The counter terrorism unit was present with a Sargent and overtime police officers.
Assemblyman Braunstein who I personally interviewed, said “The Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church Annual Greek Festival is a longstanding tradition in Northeast Queens. It gives everyone in the community an opportunity to come together and celebrate Greek culture. Thank you to Rev. Fr. Paul C. Palesty and all of the volunteers who work so hard to put together this event every year.”
The first generation is being replaced by the second and third generations who want to give their children the same childhood. A young group is taking their places as workers and participants. Everyone wants to remember his/her roots: a time of patriotism, perpetuating traditional European values and loyalty to their Greek Orthodox Christian faith, language and culture.
Graduates of the schools were playing a major role. Vita Dental spa is operated by Dr. Maria Sakatis Ioannou, a graduate of William Spyropoulos School. At the Festival, Dr. Sakatis Ioannou recalled her late father John Sakatis of Kos. “My father made sure we had no debts before he passed away (at 63)”, she said. “I began my career without student loans. We send our four children to William Spyropoulos School to learn Greek language, culture and Greek Orthodoxy.” Dr. Sakatis Ioannou believes starting the school year with teeth whitening, that can make he/she ten years younger. Visit https://www.facebook.com/VidaDentalSpa.
Olga Papadopoulos, Crisoula Douroudakis, Barbara Preponis and Demi Fyrce, graduates of the Greek Schools or members of the PTA helped Katherine Vandris and Paul Christos baptized their son, Luke, at St. Nicholas Church. “Father
‘We have 400 students in the William Spyropoulos School,” said Principal Mary Tzallas. Stephen Cherpelis, Dikaiophylax Archon (Defender of the Faith) of the Greek Orthodox Church and founder of the Areti and Stephen Cherpelis Greek Afternoon School of St. Nicholas Church describes the school’s transformation into “the Hellenic Orthodox Life Academy. It is an After-school enrichment program, Monday through Saturdays. The Program will include: Homework Help; Byzantine and Folk Music Choirs; Drama; Greek Folk Dancing; Cooking; Arts and Crafts, Physical Education and Christian Orthodox Life Session.” For more information, contact 718 357-4200.
“The Boy Scouts are raising money by selling popcorn and cotton candy, “said parent Heidi Moustakas, who was part of the Atlantic Bank booth. “ Our branch is across from St. Nicholas church. We serve the needs of the community. Come and visit us!”
Icons painted on stone by Greek Art corner continue to show the latest trends in iconography. reek Art Corner is an online shop that sales in the majority Greek Wedding and Christening gifts, accessories and favors. Also, we are selling a Greek Art Culture and Culture gifts for all occasions. We are a newly established Gallery-Shop based in the New York and New Jersey area. All the items here made by us with passion and love and are 100% Hand Made. Every item is special and unique. There is no machine involved only hands. Visit https://greekartcorner.com/about-us/
Demi Fyrce and her partner Dani Leigh and associates Maggie Neuwald, Graham Stolkdale, James Johnson and Anneya Marie had a Peekaboo Circus are that entertained children. Demi Fyrce is a graduate of the Greek Schools of St. Nicholas. Her circus children’s corner thriiled young and old. Ms. Fyrce explained “Bring the Circus to your event with gravity defying acts including but not limited to Aerial Silks, Duo Trapeze, stilts, fire performers, Spanish Web, Lyra along with a multitude of other entertaining talents.
Our acts have been featured in numerous NYC club venues as well as a multitude of private corporate events and charity balls. Contact us in order for us to customize the perfect entertainment package for your price point and needs.”2 All interested, contact PeekabooCircus@gmail.com.
Gyro and souvlaki barbecued in front of the spectators was a magnet. “I received a special request for gyro,” said a person. Tsatsiki makes the sandwich. Athenaeus, in describing eating habits in different regions, wrote about the importance of kandaulos, a creamy accompanying sauce. Kandaulos was also found in references as being based on a particularly expensive type of cheese produced from mixed donkey and mare milk (half and half). Later the particular cheese was replaced by goat cheese, and later on, the soft goat cheese put in the souvlaki pita was replaced by low-cost yogurt that eventually became tzatziki.1
Andy Tsiolas and Christopher Fillos can be seen cooking souvlakia for four days. Their parents, Sotiria and Theodore Fillos have been helping in food preparation for many years. They are from Karpenisi, Greece. A strong, active group from their organization Evrytanon Amerikis “To Karpenisi” aids St. Nicholas church every year in all church events.
Andreas George’s research “In the Footsteps of Saint Nicholas” book explains “The most significant event in the history of St. Nicholas Church in Flushing occurred on December 5, 1972 when Archbishop Iakovos was instrumental in arranging to have relics of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy transferred . . . to New York City. Today, an icon of St. Nicholas can be found in every Orthodox Church and in millions of homes in Greece, Cyprus, Russia and in the Balkan countries…They considered him as the defender of the faith (Canon of Faith) and the pillar and strength of the Church,” (Chapter 12, p. 68).
“Through My Eyes: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Flushing, New York 1987-2014”, is an excellent book,” said Rev. Paul Palesty. “It describes an important part of our history with newspapers and legal documents. It is in our school library for all to borrow.” The book was written by this writer. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan with Aram Ciamician, Parish Council Chair of the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs, Bayside, New York organized a Pilgrimage to Armenia in late August 2018. We visited Armenian monastery in the Eastern Karvachar district Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, built between the 9th and 13th century. A fresco of St. Nicholas Patriarch Thaumaturgist, is being restored after damages by invaders. “We are Orthodox,” said Garush, our guide. “We worship St. Nicholas too.” I was a few miles from the Azerbaijan war zone border. An Armenian majority live with the daily threat of war by the Azaris, when they decide to join the Republic of Armenia. I was amazed how St. Nicholas is alive and well on the borders of Asia by an Ancient people who are determined to keep Christianity alive. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Festival was a major event in Queens, New York 2018 that has culture, language and tradition for all.