NEO magazine - December 2021

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Renovated George & Margo Behrakis Wing at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts “Echoes of the Past" a Movie on the Kalavryta Massacre by the Nazis The Hellenic Initiative Raises 2M for Greece at NYC Gala

The most influential Greek since ? t a e r G e h t r e d n a x Ale A reappraisal of

Chaos: the Greek Supercar! Leadership 100 Conference to Convene in Florida

Spyros P. Skouras




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NEO Magazine is published monthly by Neocorp Media Inc. P.O. Box 560105 College Point, NY 11356 Phone: (718) 554-0308 e-Fax: (718) 878-4448 Check our website

OUR SPECIAL PLACE I was talking to my barber the other day, an older Italian man who cut your hair with no frills (I have little hair to cut), and who told me that when he was a young man on Christmas they would always go to church, and then go home and go through the ceremony of the holiday.

And every Sunday back in Italy he would go to church, even as a young man, and then after church spend time talking to people and socializing, visiting, sharing coffee and pastry, making the day special because it was special: Sunday was not only a day to stop and reflect, but a day to connect with your friends and family, catch up, make new friends, maybe even meet the person you might spend the rest of your life with. “Now,” he said, in his Italian accent, brushing my hair off my shoulders, “it’s just another day.” Which is a shame, because we could all use a time to stop and reflect and connect in these turbulent times we live in—maybe now more than ever. Young people seem to think church is just proselytizing—you must do this and you must not do that—but church is not just a reminder of what the good and just life is. It’s a ls o a re assu r anc e t hat su ch a l i fe is possible—that we are the angels of our better nature—and that this pursuit is not a lonely journey: we can share it with others, who are trying to do the same thing.

the bishop who was conducting the service tried to outshout the thunder to reassure us. I remember going to Sunday school in the chapel of our church in Chicago and hearing the Presvytera say how much she loved us all every Sunday. I remember being an altar boy with Father Tito at Kimisis in Brooklyn and talking wrestling one minute with my fellow altar boys and the next minute watching in wonder at the splendor and ceremony of the church on Easter-and all the pious old ladies trying to slip past me to get their antidero first.

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I remember going back to Greece, to the little churches in the mountains, where the men stood to one side—my papoudes and uncles and cousins in their special stasidia—and the women on the other side in theirs—my yiayiades and thies and girl cousins in their new skirts and satin shoes—and then afterwards walking around in the churchyard with the platanos hundreds of years old and thinking what a special place this was and how we were special being there: every Sunday we were a favored of God and the saints were practically family. In fact, I had an uncle who was a priest back in Chios and he would open up the church for us and show us the empty fruit jars kept behind the altar that now contained the relics of the saints, who were there to help us if we needed them.

West Palm Beach, Florida Desk Vassilios Kukorinis

Religion wasn’t dogma for those of us who were fortunate to live through those years: it was a comfort in our lives, a special ceremony of connecting with others, and our little bit of Heaven. I hope all of you can experience it this year.

I went to church religiously with my papoudes Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. back in Greece—I remember one stormy Easter night when thunder was crashing outside and


PUBLISHED MONTHLY IN NEW YORK Editor in Chief: Dimitri C. Michalakis Western Region Desk - Los Angeles Alexander Mizan

Baltimore Desk Georgia Vavas Photo/Fashion New York: ETA Press Los Angeles: Nick Dimitrokalis (951) 764-5737 Graphic Design Adrian Salescu Athens Desk Konstantinos Rhompotis (01130) 210 51 42 446 (01130) 6937 02 39 94

Art of Ancient Greece, Rome and the Byzantine Empire George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing, Level 2 Opens December at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston be documented, cleaned and (1964), an early conserved before going on i m p o r t a n t view. painting by the artist that is a Anchored by the Museum’s promised gift to beloved 13-foot statue of the Museum, is Juno, an immersive gallery joined by three d e d i c ate d to go d s and bronzes and two goddesses recreates the original plasters atmosphere of an ancient o n l o n g - t e r m temple. It introduces the loan from the Cy Olympians through their T w o m b l y myths and explores how Foundation. they were worshipped by the ancient Greeks and Romans. “ T h e M F A’ s Greek, Roman A Byzantine gallery - the and Byzantine first of its kind in New collections are England - showcas es a foundational to ge o g r aph i c a l ly d ive rs e this Museum,” collection of works ranging said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham from the era of Emperor Gund Director. “These new galleries will bring Constantine the Great in the to life the richness of Classical art, providing 4th century to the fall of contemporary perspectives on the era’s Constantinople in 1453. A profound legacy. Original interpretation will highlight of the space, which allow us to have conversations across time and i s m o d e l e d o n e a r l y geography, exploring themes that remain B y z a n t i n e c h u r c h central to our society today, including architecture, is the 15th- democrac y, religion, philosophy and c e n t u r y M o n o p o l i literature.” Altarpiece, on view for the George and Margo Behrakis in front of the building first time after undergoing a Bringing to life the richness of the Greek, that houses the Art of the Ancient World wing, which three-year conser vation Roman and Byzantine worlds, these five the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has named in their honor treatment. galleries provide fresh perspectives on an era that provided inspiration for our own modern Fine newly transformed galleries at the heart The Romans combined likeness, character society. The new spaces will complete a of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston George D. and social status to create images that are renovated suite of 12 Classical galleries and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the compellingly human, inventing portraiture as transformed since 2009 - most recently, “Daily we know it today. In a gallery focused Life in Ancient Greece” in 2017. The MFA will Ancient World, invite visitors to on Roman portraiture, visitors will offer free admission on opening day, explore nearly 550 objects from one of encounter the faces of emperors and December 18, to celebrate the debut of the five the finest and most comprehensive those of everyday individuals. new galleries and the reopening of seven collections of Classical art in the world. galleries in the Behrakis Wing for Art of the The new galleries open December 18 Early Greek art, dating from the end of Ancient World that have been closed for the and will align with the Museum’s longthe 10th through 5th centuries BC, is a past two years to accommodate construction. standing mission to bring art and major strength of the MFA’s collection. people together, and to encourage Filled with natural light, a gallery One of the nation’s oldest art museums, the i n q u i r y, u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d dedicated to this formative period Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), was appreciation of visual language. A includes the frieze blocks from the 6th- founded on February 4, 1870. The Museum popular destination for school groups, century Temple of Athena at Assos in opened its doors to the public on July 4, 1876 new interpretation will engage a wider Turkey, a rare example of Greek temple the nation’s centennial - at its original location range of students, many of whom have architecture in a U.S. art museum. in Copley Square. Over the next several different learning styles, backgrounds decades, the MFA’s collection and visitation and experiences - making the objects A gallery of modern and contemporary grew exponentially, and in 1909, the Museum more accessible to the next generation works located within the wing - the moved to its current home on Huntington of museumgoers. Narratives throughout the galleries will examine first such space in a major U.S. art museum - Avenue. Today, the MFA houses a global contemporary issues through the lens of the explores the reception of ancient art by 20th- collection encompassing nearly 500,000 past, asking questions about what it means to and 21st-century artists. The first of the works of art, from ancient to contemporary, be an enlightened citizen, what role religion multiyear rotations features the works of the and welcomes approximately 1.2 million plays within society, and why the mythical modern master Cy Twombly (1928–2011), an visitors each year to celebrate the human world is an enduring source of fascination - alumnus of the School of the Museum of Fine experience through art as well as innovative then and now. Additionally, every object will Arts, who drew inspiration from Greek and exhibitions and programs. Roman art, myths and poetry. Il Parnasso 28


Indeed, it is hard to even imagine anything more humble than the Lord's Nativity. Almighty God is being born in the cave with the cattle! God came down to the world to save men and decided from the very beginning to be unworthy of being with men! It was already mentioned in the beginning that for most of us Christmas is associated with being with the family in the church and at home, joy, peace, love. We enjoy those moments of happiness and wish that they will last forever. We a l l c a m e t o t h e Nativity Lent and Christmas is approaching fast. We just celebrated The Entrance into the Temple, then St. Catherine comes, then St. Andrew, St. Sabbas, St. by Archpriest, Dr. Mikhail Kapchits* N i c h o l a s , S t . Spyridon – the feasts are jumping one after another as if the Holy Theotokos and the saints are handing us to each other like bricks in order to finally place us in the designed tower (or rather Cave) of the Christ's Nativity. Our heart is longing to greet the Incarnating Christ: Christ is being born – glorify Him! We are all excited about the coming celebration: solemn services, joyful gatherings at home, family, relatives, guests, vacations... A lot of plans, a lot of care, a lot of joyful noise! We are all so excited that sometimes we just forget that only “one thing is needful” (Luke 10, 42). One thing “which shall not be taken away from” us. And this is the peaceful spirit inside us, clean heart that God desires to see! The story that I am about to tell appears to have nothing to do with Christmas. Nevertheless, I find it quite relevant. One of the Church Fathers said that there were two neighboring bishops who had an altercation with each other. One was rich and the other was more lowly. The rich one sought to do the other a mischief. The lowly bishop heard of this and, knowing what he was going to do, said to his clergy: 'We shall triumph, by the grace of Christ'. They said to him: 'My lord, who could possibly prevail against that one?' He said to them: 'Wait, and you shall see'. He bided his time and when his fellow bishop was celebrating a feast in honor of some holy martyrs, he gathered his clergy and said to them: 'Follow me, and we shall triumph'. They said to themselves: 'What can he be going to do?' He came to the other bishop, and when he came by in the procession, the visiting bishop fell at his feet together with the clergy, saying: 'Forgive us; we are your lordship's humble servants'. The other was amazed and a stab of remorse went through his soul. God gave him a change of heart, and he now grasped his colleague's feet, saying: 'It is you who are my lord and father'. From that time on, there was a strong bond of love between them. The lowly bishop said to his clergy: 'Did I not tell you that we should triumph, by the grace of God'! When there is any ill feeling between you, do you likewise-and triumph'. The elder also said that a humble man has more glory than the emperor himself; for he is only praised in his presence, whereas a humble man is praised and said to be blessed both in and out of his presence. This famous story from the “Spiritual Meadow” written by John Moschos didn't come to my mind just because it is about two bishops fighting. It is probably true that bishops sometimes like to argue. But look how much love, humility and peace we can find in this story! Humble, quiet, remorseful, peaceful spirit makes us real witnesses of the Christ's coming into the world. 30


Unfortunately, life sometimes brings tension in the families, among friends, in school and work environment, even in the Church. The story above clearly indicates what to do if this happens: When there is any ill feeling between you, do you likewise-and triumph. Triumph ye, children, by listening to your parents! Triumph ye, spouses, by asking forgiveness from each other! Triumph ye, friends, by yielding to e ach ot her! Venerable elder Makarios from the Optina Desert said: “whenever there is humility and love, the Lord covers everything”. Let the humble, peaceful spirit of Christmas enlighten our hearts! Wishing you all b l e s s e d N a t i v i t y, d e a r readers! *) Archpr iest, Dr. Mikhail Kapchits is the Rector of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, in Bayonne NJ and a b o a r d - c e r t i f i e d p hy s i c i a n specializing in cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology.

Billy’s Christmas Gift

By Dimitri C. Michalakis The first American Christmas I experienced was in Chicago in the ‘60s, when Kennedy was president, Chubby Checker was doing the Twist, Marilyn Monroe was the resident sex symbol, and Greece still had a king and queen. We had just moved from Montreal, Canada and were renting the top floor of a house on South Lotus Avenue, which had a fireplace (with bricks painted white and which we never used), and where the landlord drove a Cadillac that he washed and polished every weekend, and his son drove a Thunderbird that he washed and polished every weekend, and the landlord’s cousin was Carol Lawrence, the singer and actress, who was married to Robert Goulet, a singer and heartthrob of the time, and the landlord’s daughter had once shown us a snapshot of her visiting Carol Lawrence and Robert Goulet in their dressing room backstage after a show, and they were both wearing white bathrobes. In Canada, despite all that snow, I don’t remember celebrating Christmas with much ceremony—or the island in Greece where I had lived with my grandparents when I was little—except once somebody came around to the blue-washed walls of my grandmother’s taratsa around the holidays and said to her, “Kale, na sta vrontixome?”—Lady, should we sing to you? And then he started drumming on a jug with a skin and singing New Year’s carols—Antiminia, antihronia!--with his mouth gaping open and his gold teeth flashing. 32


Now in Chicago, in America, we were getting the full taste of an American Christmas—where at night whole streets turned into a blaze of Christmas lights, red and green and yellow, and some houses had silver Christmas trees in t h e w i n d ow t h at changed colors with a revolving wheel, and recordings playing Christmas carols over the street sung by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and Gene Autry. And on TV there were C h r i s t m a s commercials showing a rosy-cheeked Santa Claus chugging bottles of Coca-Cola after sneaking down the chimney and distributing his presents, or sledding down snowy slopes and giggling on a Norelco shaver. And Mitch Miller had a Christmas show, with all his guys wearing gloves and mittens as they sang, even though they were in a studio; and Andy Williams had a Christmas show wearing his gloves and scarf, even though he was in a studio; but our favorite was Perry Como in a studio, resting on a studio sleigh powdered with studio snow and wearing his gloves and scarf, while he sang Christmas carols between commercials for recipes stirred with melted Kraft caramels. And since we were Americans now, and Americans had Christmas trees, my father decided one bone-chilling night that we should also get a Christmas tree, too, and since we couldn’t afford a silver tree in the window with the revolving lights, we should buy a real one and put it in the bay window where his desk was. So we all bundled up and got into the white Impala with the red stripe and red vinyl seats, and waited for the heat to come on, while we stared at the lights glowing on the dashboard like candles, before my father gave the engine a few final grunts and swung the red steering wheel around so we could putter down South Central Avenue, past the golf course to Columbus Park.

blared from speakers, and a barrel on the sidewalk blazed with a fire where the tree salesmen stopped to warm their hands from the brutal Chicago winter. Including my friend Billy from school—who was just a kid—but during the holidays he worked selling trees (Billy was always working), when he wasn’t skipping doing his homework and being sent to the principal’s office, and the principal was my father, but Chris never took offense, cause he liked my father and liked their visits, and my father liked him, and they had lunch together regularly and a nice chat about Billy’s ambitions when he grew up: he wanted to be a garbage man. “Just a garbage man?” said my father. “What’s wrong with being a garbage man?” said Billy, grinning through his two front bunny teeth. “Don’t they have to pick up your garbage?” As usual, Billy made sense. And now he was selling Christmas trees, wearing a hat with fur ears like a bear, gloves like a hockey player, and boots flapped open like a fisherman. “I’ll show you the best tree in the house,” he told us, grinning through his bunny teeth, before he tramped away in his boots and with his big gloves dangling like some kid with mittens. And first he pulled out a tree and stumped down and it looked as fat as Jackie Gleason. “That’s a nice tree,” he said. “It’s fat,” said my sister, who was a moody teenager. “We don’t want a fat tree,” said my mother. “We don’t have any ornaments yet.” “You want a nice tree?” said Billy. “We want a nice tree,” said my father. “Okay,” said Billy, with a shrug, “I’ll show you to the best tree in the house.” “I want to go home…” said my sister, who was a moody teenager. But we followed Billy and he led us to a tree that he pulled out and stumped down and it looked taller than our whole house. “Billy, we don’t live in the Empire State Building,” said my father. “Where do you live?” said Billy, peeking under the fur visor of his hat.

The park is where they sold the trees in the “Not in the Empire State Building,” said my parking lot, strung with makeshift lights on father. poles, and where the cars were jammed in a traffic of ‘60s car fins, and Christmas carols So Billy thought about it under his visor.

“I’ll show you to the best tree in the house,” he “We don’t want your tree,” said my mother. said. “I’ll give it to you for nothing,” Billy told my “You said that already,” said my sister. father. “Show us the best tree in the house,” said my “We don’t want it for nothing,” said my father. father. “It’s your tree,” said my sister. “I’ll show you the best tree in the house,” said “It’s my gift to you,” said Billy. “What am I Billy. going to do with a tree?” And we followed him again—until he brought us to a tree that seemed to be standing We knew his father worked as a long-distance miraculously all by itself like it was growing truck driver and was never home, his mother out of the ground—only it was on a makeshift had died long ago, and his brother had joined wooden platform--and it wasn’t too fat, and it the Army and was stationed in Germany. wasn’t too tall, and it looked like the very “So you decorate it for yourself,” said my model of a Christmas tree. mother. “It’s the best tree in the house,” said Billy, and he didn’t need to pull it out and stump it down “I got no ornaments,” said Billy with a manly shrug. cause it was perfect just the way it was. “Why didn’t you show us this before?” said my So we accepted his gift, but paid him for the tree, as our gift to him, and since it was our first mother. American Christmas and had no decorations, “Cause I cut it down myself,” said Billy, with a we went to Goldblatt’s department store downtown to buy all our Christmas lights and manly shrug at my sister. ornaments, and then we invited Billy to come over and decorate the tree with us, which he “So it’s your tree,” said my sister. did very officially wearing a sweater vest and “I can give it to anybody I want,” said Billy, tie and bringing us a Christmas-green carton of egg nog as a present. with another manly shrug to her.

“Yeah, it’s the best tree in the house,” said Billy, when we finished decorating it and were sitting around in our socks staring at our first American Christmas tree, thanks to Billy, who poured us the egg nog like a bartender, cause he said he might also become a bartender when he grew up. So Chris packed up the tree for us, he tied it all up, and carried it to the Impala, with me carrying the point like a spear, and he tied it on top of the car, and we drove home with our tree on the roof, passing all the houses with their blazing lights, and blaring Christmas music, and when we got it home it filled the whole house with its smell, and we sat there staring at it, because Chris sold us a stand, but we had no ornaments yet, and we sat there staring at a tree in our house, which we decided to put in the dining room, cause my father’s desk at the bay window was too heavy to move. “Our first Christmas in America,” said my father. As we sat and listened to the record of Perry Como singing Christmas carols, and my mother made my father fraskomilia, but my sister made hot chocolate for the rest of us, and we all sat there in our socks and stared at our American Christmas tree.

strategy στρατηγική

Endy Zemenides is the Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), a national advocacy organization for the Greek American community. To learn more about HALC, visit

COAL FOR CHRISTMAS By Endy Zemenides This past April, the United States Commission on Inte r nat i ona l R el i g i ous Fre e d om (USCIRF) released its Annual Report documenting developments during 2020. Among its many recommendations to the State Department, USCIRF pushed for Turkey to be placed on the State Department’s Special Watch List (SWL) based on the Erdogan government’s perpetration or toleration of severe violations of religious rights. USCIRF cited the conversion of Hagia Sophia and planned conversion of the Chora Museum as evidence of “a troubling trajectory” for religious freedoms in Turkey. It also recommended that the US government “Raise in all meetings with Turkish government officials and press at the highest levels for the reopening of the Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary and for full compliance with European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rulings on freedom of religion or belief.” The USCIRF report and the commission’s recommendations were part of a positive policy backdrop for His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s trip to the United States this past fall. Combined with early moves by the Biden Administration – including making recognition of the Armenian Genocide the official policy of the United States, consistent criticism of Turkey by the State Department spokesperson – it was reasonable to expect that the latest Patriarchal visit to Washington, D.C. would result in a strong U.S. stance on behalf of the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church in Turkey.

record. Fair enough, but here is what we DO opening the Theological School of Halki…” know: Yet from neither official nor unofficial GOA channels did we witness any public pushback (1) After His All Holiness left Washington, but against the State Department’s egregious while he was still in the United States, the ignoring of USCIRF on Turkey. Biden Administration leaked the list of invitees to its much ballyhooed “Summit for There will be those that insist that much is achieved behind closed doors and that Democracy”. Turkey failed to make the cut. Erdogan does not respond well to public There was an opportunity here to at least have pressure. But as the case of Pastor Brunson a n A d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f f i c i a l g o o n proved, only substantial public pressure works background/off the record with White House when it comes to Turkey. or State Department correspondents and let it be known that Turkey’s treatment of the On November 16, President Biden sent Ecumenical Patriarch was one of the reasons Archbishop Elpidophoros a letter, thanking Turkey was off the list. This didn’t happen. him for sharing his “perspective on combating climate change and ending the COVID-19 (2) Shortly after His All Holiness returned to the For any Orthodox Christian in America, the Biden P h a n a r, t h e S t a t e Administration’s refusal to heed USCIRF’s well documented Department made its recommendation is an indisputable failure to uphold its designation of Countries professed commitment to human rights. of Particular Concern (CPC) and Special Watch List Countries (SWL). Turkey was not included under either designation, despite the re c om m e n d at i on of USCIRF.

For any Orthodox Christian in America, t h e B i d e n Administration’s refusal to heed USCIRF’s well d o c u m e n t e d recommendation is an Alas, anyone who hoped for such a strong indisputable failure to stance would have been disappointed. His All uphold its professed commitment to human Holiness was certainly welcomed with the rights. honor befitting his status and his record as a world leader – a meeting with President Biden Equally troubling was the Greek Orthodox in the Oval Office, a meeting with Secretary of Archdiocese of America’s failure to use the State Antony Blinken, a meeting with several opportunity afforded it by USCIRF and Congressional leaders. And while the images deliver a victory on its professed top priority – and the tweets of appreciation were all the religious freedom of the Mother Church. impressive, the chance for progress on the USCIRF found the State Department’s failure religious freedom front passed by with a to designate Turkey a SWL so outrageous that whimper. it issued a Turkey country update on December 3, declaring that “In 2021, religious Many will protest, claiming that we don’t know freedom conditions in Turkey have remained what was said behind closed doors or off the poor…Little effort has been made to address key religious freedom issues, including [r]e38



pandemic.” This was a tone-deaf letter, with nary a mention of the challenges faced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This was the diplomatic equivalent of coal for Christmas. After Turkevi-gate, maybe we can’t expect more from the Archbishop than to celebrate even this lackluster letter for its public relations value, but Orthodox Christians of America MUST demand that the Biden Administration act on the recommendations of USCIRF. If not, the very existence of a Patriarchate devoted to climate change, ending COVID or a “just and more peaceful world” is in doubt.

The Hellenic Initiative Raises More Than $2M To Aid Greece At Ninth Annual NYC Gala Titled “Moving Forward Toget her” t he e vent highlighted stories of Greek resilience in the face of adversity. Since its founding, THI has distributed USD $18 million for grants providing crisis relief to u n d e r s e r v e d communities in Greece and supporting entrepreneurial development programs.

Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, is honored with the Prometheus Award, by Andrew N. Liveris, The Hellenic Initiative Chairman The Hellenic Initiative (THI) raised a spectacular USD $2 million+ at its Ninth Annual Fundraising Gala that took place in New York on Saturday, December 4, 2021. THI is the leading nonprofit uniting the Greek diaspora and philhellenes internationally and raises awareness and capital for Greece. Held at Cipriani Wall Street, the Gala was back in person and streamed online to an international audience after last year’s virtualonly event.

Peter Diamandis, Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, offers special remarks at The Hellenic Initiative Gala

The Gala focused on THI’s successful job creation efforts and the ways in which THI is helping to shape the new Greece. Funds raised will provide continued pandemic crisis relief and help foster Greek economic recovery opp or tunit ies af ter mont hs of f is ca l challenges. 40


“We are humbled by the outpouring of love and support that continues to propel THI forward,” THI Executive Director Peter Poulos added. “This Ninth Annual New York

Jo h n s o n & Jo h n s o n Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky was honore d du r i ng t he Michael G. Psaros, event. From 1983 to The Hellenic Initiative 1984, Mr. Gorsky was Executive Committee stationed in Drama, member, offers Greece as part of his military service and an interview learned to speak Greek. A philhellene, Mr. Gorsky was instrumental in developing a Gala was a huge success, raising $2 million, relationship between THI and Johnson & celebrating our reunion and paying tribute to o u r G r e e k f r o nt l i n e Johnson, which has been heroes. None of this an essential hiring partner would have been possible f o r T H I ’s s u c c e s s f u l without our Board of ReGeneration program Directors, our THI dream s i n c e t h e p r o g r a m’s team of dedicated staff, inception in 2014. and the thousands of donors across the globe.” “Johnson & Johnson’s ongoing support of the A r c h b i s h o p Regeneration program is Elpidophoros, the head of an extraordinary all Greek Orthodox in the commitment,” THI Board Americas, opened the Chairman Andrew N. evening’s presentation Liveris said. “Much more with a moment of prayer. than an internship p r o g r a m , i t o f f e r s Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board Sakis Rouvas, one of mentoring, training and and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, Greece’s most popular employment to young offers remarks to The Hellenic recording artists, graduates at international Initiative Gala attendees performed for a very companies and community service opportunities with NGO enthusiastic crowd. partners. It is all part of our holistic vision to build a modern Greece by providing guidance Princess Tatiana of Greece co-hosted the event and career development opportunities for and introduced compelling and emotional v i d e o s t h a t h i g h l i g h t e d T H I ’s n e w young Greeks.” programmatic work including: “Greeks have always come together to aid those in less fortunate situations,” THI Board • Rebuilding the bee farm industry devastated President and Gibson Dunn Partner George P. by last summer’s wildfires in Laconia, Stamas said. “This was true of immigrants Messenia and Evia. who left the homeland at the beginning of the last century and continues today. The spirit of • Launch of a tree planting campaign. philotimo (φιλότιμο) — interpreted as helping others and pride in community — is • Donation of trucks to the Greek Fire Service alive and well. We’re proud to be the catalyst recognizing the service and sacrifices endured that helps the diaspora continue this proud during the wildfires. tradition.”

She pointed out that during the G r e e k wildfires THI ran an o n l i n e fundraiser which, in less than 60 days, raised $700,000 from 4,200 Tatiana Blatnik, The Hellenic Initiative Chair and International i n d i v i d u a l donors in 47 Ambassador, offers remarks and a presentation of THI's Programs countries.

Health Zoe Raptis; Ambassador Maria Founded in 2012, THI is a global, nonprofit, Theofili, Permanent Representative of Greece secular institution mobilizing the Greek to the United Nations; Consul General of diaspora and philhellene community to Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras; support sustainable economic recovery and Consul of Greece Dimitris Papageorgiou; renewal for the Greek people. THI's programs Consul General of Cyprus Michalis Firillas; address crisis relief through strong nonprofit Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis; John organizations and build entrepreneurial skills Koudounis; Michael Psaros; Mike Manatos; in a new generation of business leaders. Since Dennis Mehiel; and Father Alex Karloutsos 2012, THI has committed or distributed more who narrated a video highlighting ancient than $6.5 million in direct crisis relief and Greek heroes, heroes of 1821 in this $ 1 1 . 4 m i l l i o n i n e c o n o m i c a n d bicentennial year of independence, and entrepreneurial development. Last year's frontline workers protecting Greece against virtual-only Gala raised more than $1.6 the pandemic and wildfires. Greek musical artist Sakis Rouvas delivering the evening's entertainment A silent auction of worldclass art, accessories and experiences donated by Greeks around the world contributed more than $100,000 to the total funds raised.

THI Executive Committee member Michael Psaros introduced keynote speaker Peter Diamandis, entrepreneur, philanthropist and X-Prize founder. Mr. Diamandis delivered remarks about climate change and a new XPrize competition exploring technology that will detect deadly forest fires at the moment of t r a n s m i s s i o n a n d The Most Successful Global Greek extinguish them in ten Diaspora Fundraising Event Held minutes before they In Person and Streamed To have a chance to spread. An International Audience!

Th e f a mo us Jimmy Vali Band million. For more information their website is featuring renown jazz Officials from Greece guitarist and composer and the Greek American Spiros Exaras, provided PHOTOS BY community attended, including Ambassador entertainment and the evening ended with an Mindala Design / Johnny Angelillo of Greece to the United States Alexandra exuberant celebration of Greek dancing. Papadopoulou; Greek Deputy Minister of

Leadership 100 Conference Commemorates the th 100 Anniversary of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

Dr. George D. Yancopoulos The 31st Annual Leadership 100 Conference will convene February 10-13, 2022, at The Ritz-Carlton Naples in Naples, Florida. Argyris Vassiliou Chairman, Leadership 100 announced that this year’s conference will be dedicated to the Centennial of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. “We are honored to begin the centennial celebrations with our Thursday Forum speakers who will reflect on the history and progress of ou r A rc h d i o c e s e .” A r c h b i s h o p Elpidophoros of America will share his thoughts and visions for the Archdiocese and the Church in Amer ica and worldwide.

Marianne and Dean Metropoulos

the theme from a historical perspective. Other featured speakers will include George Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, President and Chief Scientific Officer at Regeneron and Christos Kyratsous, PhD, Vice President of Research, Infectious Diseases and Vi r a l Ve c t o r Te c h n o l o g i e s a t Regeneron, who have spearheaded the invention of life-saving anti-body therapeutics to combat the Covid-19 pandemic; Marianne and Dean Metropoulos, who produced Cliffs of Freedom, a historical drama romance that Christos Kyratsous, Ph.D. transpires during Greece’s Revolutionary War, based on and inspired by a Michael’s Home, a facility and a ministry to novel written by Marianne, who the aging and infirm; and Theo Nicolakis, The keynote address also co-wrote the screenplay Chief Information Officer of the Department Dr. Alexander Kitroeff will be delivered by Dr. (with a showing of the film); of Information Technologies at the Greek Alexander Kitroeff, Professor, Department of Bishop Andonios, Director of St. Michael’s Orthodox Archdiocese will speak on History, Haverford College, who will address Home, will present the plans for the new St. Modernizing Archdiocesan Technology and Digital Transformation. 42


Theo Nicolakis In addition, Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, will speak on his ne w ly app ointed p osition as t he Proïst amenos (presiding Pr iest) and Archiepiscopal Vicar of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center. The Opening Forum with Theo Nicolakis will be on Thursday, February 10, followed by Dr. Kitroeff ’s presentation. A Luncheon and Forum will follow with the address by Bishop

Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas

Bishop Andonios of Phasiane

Andonios. The Welcome Reception will take The Saturday, February 12 events will include place on Thursday evening. a Brunch and Special Forum led by Marianne and Dean Metropoulos, Golf and Tennis On Friday, Februar y 11, Fr. Andreas Tournaments and Awards, and a Walk/Run Vithoulkas will speak at breakfast followed by event. The Grand Banquet at which the the Archbishop’s Lecture. The General Archbishop lakovos Leadership 100 Award for Assembly will take place following the Excellence will be presented will take place on Lecture. A Luncheon and Forum will be Saturday evening. The Hierarchical Divine a d d re ss e d by D rs . Yanc op ou l o s and Liturgy will be celebrated on Sunday, February Kyratsous, which will conclude the daytime 13 at Saint Katherine Church in Naples. events. The Glendi will be held Friday evening.

“Echoes of The Past”: a Movie on the Kalavryta Massacre Perpetrated by the Nazis

and in time, this beautiful piece of work was created. My own father is 90 years old. Not to add to the pressure, but I promised myself that I would make this film before he passed. My father watched the film for the first time last week on Amazon Prime. It was a painful and emotional experience for him, but he was happy the history is remembered. Demetrios Katsantonis. From its very inception back in 2015, the project’s raison d’etre was to make the Kalavryta Massacre known outside Greece, immortalize in celluloid the horrible events of that fateful day, and keep the memory alive. What happened in Kalavryta is something that humanity should never forget or let go of. The past and its echoes, after all, are always with us since we are - both individually and collectively- products of history, and, unless we face that fact, we are bound to keep repeating the same mistakes

and give birth to the same tragedies ad infinitum. A country’s, as well as a society’s present, is always defined by the interpretation of its past.

On December 13, 1943 German soldiers executed close to peo1200 people in the Greek town of Kalavryta. It’s a grim 78-year anniversary of one of the darkest moments in modern Greek history. Now, a powerful new film brings those events to life. Echoes Of The Past, starring the late Max Von Sydow, is one of the most expensive Greek films ever made and opened at the top box office spot in Greece back in November. It’s now available on Amazon Prime, Vudu, and various VOD platforms in the US. We discussed the project and the passionate odyssey to bring it to the screen with writer/producer Dimitrios Katsantonis and executive producer Tom Souleles. 44


What was the g e n e s i s o f t h e In dramatizing such a major historical event project? How did it what were the challenges in writing the script? The narrative device of the German lawyer come to be? investigating re paration claim s i s Tom Souleles: My particularly interesting. parents are both from a small village Katsantonis: Almost any historical event is o u t s i d e o f plagued by the aptly named “fog of war’ - not Kalavryta. I grew up one account is the same as the next - and as a hearing the story of writer, you are called to navigate those what the Nazis did oftentimes treacherous waters and produce a to t he i n no c e nt body of work that stays true to the core of the people of Kalavryta event. It's a fragile balancing act that almost and the nearby communities in 1943. When always leaves some people unhappy. Another my own kids were old enough, my wife and I challenge particularly with independent visited Kalavryta, so that our kids could see the filmmaking is to write a script that can be shot history themselves. This trip occurred eight within a realistic budget especially when part years ago in the summer of 2013. When my wife and I returned home to Commandant Chicago, we decided we Tenner who wanted this story told organized both for those still alive the massacre who remember the event, and for the next generations to understand the horrors of war and fascism. I was fortunate to meet Dimitrios Katsantonis,

of the film is a period piece - ergo costly to recreate accurately. Having the dual role of writer/producer meant that from the project's inception, I was writing the story with a provisional budget in mind, trying not to stray from the bounds financial reality dictated while at the same time staying true to the narrative needs of the screenplay. When I started working on the script the issue of war reparations was very topical in Greece. So, instead of a straightforward historical film, I thought it would make far more sense to embrace a story that could also touch the present and highlight how important the past remains even in the context of a European Union almost a century later. To have a German lawyer travel to Kalavryta, the place of the tragedy, to investigate the facts at the core of the legal claim lodged by the victims and, while on the job, to embark on a personal journey of self-discovery gave the story a degree of poignancy universal in its reach. Max Von Sydow gives a powerful, nuanced performance. How did you get such a legendary actor to join the project? Katsantonis: I wrote the character of Nikolaos Andreou with Max von Sydow in mind. So, once the financing of the film was in place I contacted his London-based agent and sent her the script. It was about two weeks later when I got the call from her informing me that Max loved the script and he was eager to be involved in such an important story. I was on cloud nine for the rest of that day. Talking about Max, I will never forget the day he visited the museum in Kalavryta. He was so genuinely overwhelmed by the tragedy he could hardly contain his tears. He was very committed to the project from the very beginning and always thought that Echoes of the Past was a film he would be proud to have in his filmography. It’s so unfortunate, to say the least, that he never got to see the film. He passed away a month before the first cut was finished. Director Nicholas Dimitropoulos’ vision is both sweeping and intimate. How did he come aboard the project? Katsantonis: Echoes of the Past couldn't have asked for a better director than Nicholas. We were introduced by a common acquaintance while I was still in Los Angeles pitching the project to various production companies. After he read the script and we spoke on the phone, I had no doubt that he was the right man for the job. His commitment, dedication, and empathy along with his unquestionable talent proved to be the ideal combination. Was this an international co-production with Greece? I see there are several presenters including EPT, Cosmote TV, and the Greek Film Centre. How involved were Greek media companies in getting the film produced? Katsantonis: Although the project started with Tom and I in the US, the production was

all Greek. I brought the project to Greece in 2017 with about 40% of the budget in place and, after a brief negotiation period, Foss Productions, led by CEO Stelios Cotionis, became the main production company on record. EKOME (the Greek Production Fund) was the first to jump on board shortly after that followed by Cosmote TV, ERT, and the Greek Film Centre. The role of all these companies was purely financial. That being said, Echoes of the Past being an expensive production - at one point we had 600 extras working in the historical part - their involvement was no less important.

won't argue the facts. I always felt that the Austrian and his role in the tragedy - real or manufactured - provided a glimmer of hope that, even in the darkest hour, humanity survived the madness of war. The film inspired by true events instead of based on true events, an important distinction - has a lot of fictional characters. Moreover, and since histor y often comes to us with onedimensional characters, mythology building even around historical figures is paramount in creating a nuanced story able to move the audience and to stir their feelings and emotions. A film is not meant to author history or be interpreted as an academic In bringing such a tragic chapter of history to treatise. life, were there any memorable moments during shooting that gave you pause to The film opened #1 at the Greek box office in connect with the real events? November. That must have been truly validating. In general how have Greek Katsantonis: When we were shooting the audiences responded to the film? school scene, we constructed an exact replica of the school at the old Athens airport. I was Katsantonis: Yes, it certainly was: two straight standing inside the school next to the SFX weeks at number one, beating a blockbuster people and their pyro equipment. The women like the Eternals, doing a little over 40,000 and children were locked inside one of the tickets in our first week despite the pandemic. classrooms, and I distinctly remember how it Both critics and audiences, by and large, felt when the pyro equipment was turned on to responded positively to the film. In our replicate the conditions at the time. The international premiere at TIFF (Thessaloniki intense heat and thick smoke made one feel he International Film Festival), we received the was standing in the middle of a nightmare Youth Audience Award. Word of mouth come to life. Dante's inferno came to mind as remains strong and we expect great rental the screams and the cries of the trapped numbers from Premium VOD too. women and children tore through the s t r u c tu re . I c a n ' t e v e n imagine how it must have felt back on that fateful, tragic Max von Sydow at day, but I do remember Kapi Hill where the myself looking at the main mass execution took door and longing for the place bone-chilling, sharp cold of winter on my face. I wished I could be anywhere but there. As the fire and the smoke became more and more intense in tandem with the lamentations of all those women, I found myself battling a suffocating feeling of utter consternation. Without wanting to Although the film is now available on Prime sound too melodramatic, I always felt an Video, are there any plans to screen it in immense burden of responsibility throughout North America and elsewhere? Both for my time working on the film, but that day it hit Greek and non-Greek audiences? home like no other. Katsantonis: The film is available in the States on all the major cable platforms (VOD) as well The film has engendered some controversy, notably from the current residents of as Amazon Prime and VUDU. Although our Kalavryta who claim it takes some liberties original plans did include a limited theatrical with the facts surrounding the massacre. How release, the pandemic made those plans obsolete. In terms of distribution, the film will have the producers responded to that? soon be released (VOD) in Brazil, LATMA, Katsantonis: The main point of contention and the UK. Our LA-based sales agent, House was the character of the Austrian soldier in the of Film, is currently in negotiations with a film. Despite a number of eye-witness number of distributors in various territories so accounts - the Jewish Holocaust Museum expect more release dates to be announced holds fourteen in its archives - some believe soon. very strongly that the Austrian was the product of German propaganda and that the We have also submitted the film to various women and children escaped the burning international festivals – so, fingers crossed, building on their own (which they did since there will be full cinema screenings in those the Austrian is alleged to have opened only venues. one of the five doors). I am not a historian so I NEWS & NOTES DECEMBER 2021



by Ilias Chrissochoidis, Ph.D. In the long and distinguished history of Greek presence in America, no individual can match the breadth, depth, and duration of influence of Spyros P. Skouras (1893–1971), whose 50th death anniversary we commemorate this year. Arriving in the US in 1910, Spyros and his two brothers soon became leaders in the nascent motion picture industry, controlling the second largest chain of movie theaters in the country. Despite losing their assets in the 1929 crash, they quickly rebuilt their empire during the 1930s topping the ranks of America’s highest paid executives. After masterminding the merger of Fox and Twentieth Century film companies in 1935, Spyros was elected president of the corporation in 1942. During his twenty-year tenure, he oversaw Twentieth Century-Fox’s growth into the second largest film company in the world and was among the pillars of Hollywood’s golden age. As such, he was influencing a global audience of 250 million, an achievement no other Greek had attained since Alexander the Great!

The most influential Greek since t? Alexander the Grea A reappraisal of

Spyros P. Skouras



Spyros Skouras and Archbishop Iakovos with President Kennedy

AMERICAN DREAM Spyros P. Skouras was born on March 28, 1893, in Skourohorion, a few miles outside Olympia, to a family of farmers and herders. Life in rural Greece was harsh and vulnerable to natural disasters. One such, in 1907, destroyed the family’s crops and forced them to take emergency measures. As his older brother, Konstantinos, sailed to America to find work, Spyros was sent to a local monastery until the age of thirteen and then to the port of Patras, where he worked as an office boy while studying English and accounting. It was there that he first saw a movie.

Skouras Brothers' reunion at the dedication of Saint Sophia Cathedral in LA (from left: Spyros, Charles, and George)

Having found a stable job at a major hotel in St. Louis, Konstantinos (now Charles) brought Spyros to America in 1910. He was followed by their younger brother George ten months

Skouras accompanies newly elected Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras to Constantinople

later. The Skouras brothers worked long hours at the city’s premium hotels, earning respect, making friends, and saving money. Impressed by the new film industry, they were eager to start their own business. At the first opportunity, they acquired a local movie theater, which they named “Olympia.” It was the beginning of the Skouras Brothers empire. Hard drive, ceaseless effort, but also brotherly solidarity soon led to success. By 1923, Skouras Brothers were the top theater op erators in St. L ouis. Among their innovations were the hiring of female ushers, the introduction of Children’s Matinees, of jazz and large symphonic orchestras on the stage, of the famous precision-dancers “Missouri Rockettes,” and of the now ubiquitous in-house confectioneries. Their crowning achievement was the luxurious Ambassador Building and Theater (1925).

Skouras with Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt

Built at a cost of over $6 million it became one the thick of action, tirelessly touring the of St. Louis’ architectural landmarks. countr y, coordinating 1700 chapters, consulting with government agencies, and, After negotiating the largest merger in film most crucial, visiting Europe to secure the lift history, between First National Pictures, the of the British naval blockade of Greece. “It […] Stanley Company of America and Warner became my greatest purpose in life to lift the Brothers, Spyros moved to New York in 1929 blockade so that food and medical supplies as general manager of Warner’s 550 theaters. could get into Greece.” The GWRA “became He took with him his younger brother George. the most successful and outstanding example Two years later he would switch to Paramount of all foreign relief agencies because we raised and in 1932 he would take responsibility for over $40,000,000 in cash.” The total cost of aid the 564-strong chain of National Theatres. sent to Greece during WWII was over $200 The Skouras Brothers continued to have a million. common bank account. In May 1945, Skouras toured the war-ravaged In 1935, Skouras was instrumental in the Greek countryside. His widely reported negotiations that led to the historic merger of findings were influential in pressing the US the Twentieth Centur y and Fox Film government to continue its aid to Greece in Corporation into one of the leading film the postwar era. He was also influential in the companies in the world. Seven years later he would be elected Tw e n t i e t h C e n t u r y - F o x ’s “I would like to be remembered most for second and longest serving having brought CinemaScope to the Motion president.

Picture industry, at a time when it was sorely

Skouras described his business needed, and [for] my efforts to having the US philosophy as follows: “Our help lift the blockade in Greece thus saving 3 habit throughout these years million Greeks from death by starvation.” was hard work and concentrated effort in order to win the cooperation of our associates and persuade them to work equally hard. […] One American government’s decision to propose of our policies was that of participation. We Archbishop At henagoras as t he ne w knew we could win co-operation by sharing E c u m e n i c a l P a t r i a r c h i n 1 9 4 9 a n d our profits with our managers. We were also accompanied the new leader of the Greek aggressive in our insistence for good Orthodox Church to Constantinople aboard operation. We insisted upon the finest run President Truman’s personal airplane. As he theaters in every respect and the finest recounted, “Immediately, I became greatly management. […] in our management of the affected by Athenagoras’ magnetic personality theaters we felt that the highest aim of the and manner. […] He has had a tremendous theater was to be the hub of civic activity. We influence on my life and work. […] He used to were the first to permit collections in the come see films with me and then he asked why theaters for causes like that of the Red Cross. I didn’t make some religious films for all of the We have followed this policy throughout our people to see. His influence caused me to produce The Song of Bernadette [1943], A careers.” Man called Peter [1955], and The Robe [1953]. Indeed, with the US entering WWII, the It also encouraged me to show family type of Skouras New York theaters were “the first to motion pictures like The Sound of Music b e c om e i s s u i ng a ge nt s for Tre a s u r y [1965].” Department War Bonds. By setting the pattern for movie houses throughout the nation they Skouras’ inspiring leadership of the GWRA were instrumental in selling hundreds of turned him into a legend. As the most millions of dollars worth of war and victory prominent American of Greek descent, he worked tirelessly to promote peace and bonds to the public.” prosperity in war-devastated Greece. He used his close links with the US government to help GWRA: THE OMOGENEIA OXI Greece’s interests, contain the Cyprus crisis, The galvanizing effect of Greece’s victory over and maintain stability in the Eastern Italy in late 1940 led to the creation of the most Mediterranean. He was instrumental in influential Diaspora organization, the Greek War Relief Association (GWRA), under the auspices of Archbishop Athenagoras. The daunting task of its coordination was offered to Spyros Skouras, who would serve as its President until 1946. Using the latest advertisement techniques, and recruiting prominent American citizens and Hollywood celebrities, the GWRA managed to convey a powerful message on the urgency of saving the cradle of Western civilization from annihilation. Skouras was in

Skouras with President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Caramanlis COVER STORY DECEMBER 2021


backlot into the futuristic Century City, the dwindling revenue and certainly because of largest construction project in Los Angeles’ the company’s latest gamble. In an effort to fill history. the company’s coffers, Skouras had upgraded the production of Cleopatra into TCF’s most AMERICAN CITIZEN AND expensive film ever. A cascade of delays, a lifePHILANTHROPIST threatening illness of Elizabeth Taylor, and the most notorious erotic scandal in Hollywood As President of a multinational corporation annals led to financial hemorrhage, protests with offices in five continents, Skouras was from stockholders, and eventually to Skouras’ travelling an average of 150,000 miles every resignation. Despite his enforced resignation y e a r. T h e s e t ou r s m a d e h i m d e e p l y from the presidency of TCF, Skouras knowledgeable of international affairs and his remained Honorary Chairman of the Board of views valuable to the US government. Few Directors, continuing his association with the Americans citizens of his generation had company until 1969. Skouras with President Truman access to the White House under six different administrations, from the FDR to the Nixon A ship-owner for some years, Skouras establishing Greece as a modern tourist presidencies. Skouras also served in several resolved to modernize America’s commercial destination thanks to the spectacular footage Presidential committees as one of the nation’s fleet, introducing the first almost fully of Greek monuments and landscapes in the most respectful businessmen. President automated ships in the country. In 1965, he TCF films Boy on a Dolphin, It Happened in Eisenhower confided “I have not only a real proposed to the US government a colossal Athens, and The 300 Spartans. In December affection for Spyros Skouras, I have found him $250 million plan to construct 16 special 1964, TCF would release the film that defined to be a most public-spirited citizen devoted to freighters each carrying 50 barges that would modern Greece in the world’s imagination, our country and fully as ready to work for be lifted off and on without the mother ship America’s welfare as any native-born citizen of ever docking at the harbor, thus slashing Zorba the Greek. my acquaintance.” shipping costs and time. The plan was shelved following strong opposition from New York’s In America, too, Spyros In September 1959, powerful dock worker unions. became a source of Skouras captured inspiration and financial i n t e r n a t i o n a l Having lost his brothers Charles and George of support for the Greek attention by calling heart attack, in 1954 and 1964, respectively, Orthodox community. In the Soviet Union Spyros Skouras died of the same cause on 1952, his brother Charles’ “ t h e g r e a t e s t August 16, 1971. “A grand man has passed dream to build a church in corporation, the away today,” G . P. Livanos wrote to his widow. Los Angeles became reality. greatest capitalistic “With him a[n] era passed away which Although he bore much of firm, the greatest encompassed the ideals of American the cost for the $2 million m o n o p o l y t h e democracy and success. The American story Cathedral of Saint Sophia, an w o r l d h a s e v e r was never told any better than by Spyros P. architectural treasure of the known” before an Skouras”. city, Spyros and George also Skouras with George C. Marshall a m u s e d contributed funds towards its Khrushchev during completion. (Fun fact: Its a Hollywood luncheon. pipe organ came from a local movie theater.) A FILM INDUSTRY LEADER

The success of the Greek War Relief Association and his prominent place in New York’s business elite turned Skouras into one of America’s most sought-after fundraisers. Until his death, he would invest much of his free time in dozens of philanthropic activities, raising millions of dollars for educational, cultural, ethnic, and medical causes. A member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s Board of Directors and a personal friend of Dimitri Mitropoulos, Skouras pioneered the spread of classical music to Skouras with Archbishop & President general audiences through a series of concerts Makarios of Cyprus at the Roxy movie theater in 1950 and 1951.

Skouras was elected President of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation (TCF) in April 1942. During his twenty year-tenure the c omp any g re w i nt o a mu lt i n at i on a l corporation, paying its stock holders millions of dollars in dividends, and enriching the art of motion picture with dozen classic films. In addition, TCF pioneered religious-themed films and tackled taboo social issues, such as racism, anti-semitism, and mental illness. Among the film stars that TCF created in the 1950s were Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. Skouras’ support was critical for Monroe’s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n f r o m a s t a r l e t i n t o LATER YEARS Hollywood’s biggest star. A lifelong Republican, Skouras belonged in In 1953, Skouras earned worldwide fame as the progressive wing of the party, feverishly the man who implemented the second supporting the Presidential candidacies of revolution in film history, the widescreen Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller. In 1964, format. In the course of nine months, TCF he rebuked Barry Goldwater’s radicalism by managed to acquire the rights of the new voting for his Democrat friend Lyndon B. CinemaScope technique, adopt it for its Johnson. forthcoming blockbuster The Robe, and, most crucial, convincing thousands of movie In 1962, Skouras celebrated twenty years at the exhibitors to switch to the new format. The helm of TCF, a period that saw the growth of estimated cost of implementing Cinemascope the company into a multinational corporation was close to $250 million. Another Skouras and a leader in the entertainment industry. legacy was the development of TCF’s studio Trouble was looming, however, partly due to 50


Sources Spyros P. Skouras’ Memoirs (1893–1953), compiled/edited by Ilias Chrissochoidis (Stanford, 2013): Web portal at Stanford University: Youtube channel: uA

Ilias Chrissochoidis ( is a Stanfordbased research historian, author, and composer. He has pioneered research on Skouras’ life and humanitarian achievements, and has made numerous archival discoveries on modern Greek history.

Zarifa Ghafari and Danialle Karmanos

(L to R) Mike Manatos, Andy Manatos, Metropolitan Emanuel, Michael Psaros, Father Alexander Karloutsos

2021 OXI COURAGE AWARDS Showcase Strength and Depth of Human Spirit At the 11th Annual Oxi Courage Awards, the 2021 honorees – jailed leader of Cuba’s anti-government protests and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and one of Afghanistan’s first female and youngest mayor Zarifa Ghafari – joined an impressive list of individuals who showcase uncommon courage in the midst of unbearable heartbreak, chaos and persecution. Previous honorees have gone on to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (twice in three years) and have been featured by the President at the State of the Union address, among other accolades.

Dean Metropoulos and Anamely Ramos

The spiritual head of the second largest Christian Church in the world, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who exists under constant threat, was awarded this year’s Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award and joins a distinguished list of past honorees such as the late civil rights crusader Congressman John Lewis, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and the former president of Israel Shimon Peres. Each year, this special awards ceremony meets the moment and appeals to the best of the human spirit and condition while celebrating the noble Greek character and courage demonstrated during World War II.

Oxi Courage Awards 52


Nicholas Logothetis

Ambassador of Greece to the US Alexandra Papadopoulou

Theodore Bozonelis Five proud Greek-American veterans (L to R): Stephen Cherpelis, Efthemios J. “Tim” Bentas, Lt General Andrew Poppas, Peter Vergados and John Calamos

OXI Day Foundation Honors Greek-American Heroes with Service Awards

Anastasia Stratakis

At the majestic National WWII Memorial in our nation’s capital, the Washington Oxi Day Foundation honored Efthemios J. “Tim” Bentas, Stephen Cherpelis and Peter Vergados with its annual Service Awards for courageously risking their lives in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. On the sunny afternoon of October 28th, amid a quintet’s military medley and the Memorial’s 50 fountains, an audience of international and American dignitaries witnessed the presentation of the Vasilios S. Haseotes Service Award to WWII Veteran Bentas by Zacharie Haseotes Vinios; the presentation of the Calamos Service Award to Vietnam Veteran Vergados by decorated Vietnam Veteran John Calamos; and the presentation of the Oxi Service Award to Korean Veteran Cherpelis by Greek Defense Attaché Col. Panagiotis Vlachopoulos. At this hallowed ground in line with the US Capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, prior to the award presentations, the highest-ranking Greek American in the American military, and Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt General Andrew Poppas, delivered an inspirational keynote address. Participants included Defense Attachés representing 14 different countries from around the world, including: Cyprus, Germany, France and the UK; Belguim and Romania; Norway and the Netherlands; Australia and New Zealand; South Africa and South Korea.

John Calamos presents the Calamos Service Award to Peter J. Vergados

Col. Panagiotis Vlachopoulos presents the Oxi Service Award to Stephen Cherpelis

Zacharie Vinios presents the Vasilios S. Haseotes Service Award to Efthemios J. "Tim" Bentas NEWS & NOTES DECEMBER 2021


A safe and its riches: A century-old mystery Dr. Agis Tsouros, who discovered it at the age of eight, talks to NEO By Kelly Fanarioti Influenced by childrens' fairy tales with h i d d e n treasures, and motivated by his i nt r i ns i c curiosity for everything, the eight-year-old A g i s w a s Dr. Agis Tsouros enchante d by the view of the safe he found in the old mansion bought by his parents in Chroussa, Syros in 1962. He spent the whole day and night in the small stone house where it was located, trying to open it, but in vain. The years passed, Agis grew up, studied Medicine at the University of Athens, and then went to Britain for postgraduate studies. His career has been spectacular: he became Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Wellbeing at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. But he still wanted to open the safe. "I wanted to open it, to find the treasure, and to bring the silence of the forgotten hiding place to an end. Endless summers I felt the discovery fever and tried to open it by using improvised ways. Unconquered, the safe kept me interested, as if it were telling me ‘Stay – do not give up.’ Half a century went by. The safe was there as I had left it, as if it were waiting for me. And five years ago, I felt that the time had come to open it”. When the locksmith who opened it, kneeling in front of it, loosening up the steel door, he cried out loud--“It’s full!”--Agis Tsouros felt, as he confesses, very thrilled and justified. “The safe had not tricked me. At that moment, I had no idea that the safe belonged to a very prominent and rich family of Syros in the 19th century. It was a treasure of a different kind: enigmatic, unusual and eccentric. The safe presented itself with a mixture of heterogeneous objects that looked like the dispersed pieces of a puzzle I once again was required to solve. The findings tell the story of one of the most important families of Syros in the 19th and early 20th centuries: the family of Athanasios Ladopoulos and Olga Vafiadaki, w it h s i g n i f i c ant me rchant , b an k i ng , manufacturing and shipowning activities and important local and national political profiles.” 56


There is no doubt that one of the most notable "During the 1910s and early 1920s, Olga lived d o c u m e nt s fou n d i n t h e s afe i s t h e mainly in Athens and abroad. Bibis lived manufacturer’s instructions for opening and almost permanently abroad, and together closing the safe with the with his uncle secret combination, which Konstantinos, they are an was no other than the old almost permanent name of the island: presence in the S.Y.R.A. photographs of the travel adventures of the family. It seems that the safe was Rare documents, personal locked for the last time correspondence, amateur af t e r 1 9 2 6 , a lt h ou g h photographs, wellmembers of the family travelled postcards, guns, continued visiting ancient coins, medals and Chroussa for many years a wide variety of personal afterwards. The house of objects offer a guided tour Chroussa was inhabited into a sometimes very by Smaragda, who was personal treasure of married to a doctor called another era. Anargirou. My family bought the house from Olga Vafiadaki, daughter Smaragda Anargirou in of Dimitrios Vafiadakis 1 9 6 0 , " A g i s Ts o u r o s (Mayor of Ermoupolis, explains. during whose term the majestic town hall was The various and built), and Athanasios Ladopoulos got married in the late 1800s. numerous findings of the safe cover the period Athanasios was the son of Elpidoforos from 1860 until the early 1900s, and they relate Ladopoulos, merchant and banker, from the to the family of Olga Vafiadaki and her father northern province of Macedonia and whose D i m it r i o s , t he f am i ly of At hanas i o s siblings were Emmanouil, Aristotelis, Ladopoulos from his father Elpidoforos, the Konstantinos, Maria, Anastasia, Eleni and family of Athanasios and their children, Ifigenia. In 1895, together with his brothers, especially Bibis and his uncle Konstantinos. they created a textile factory in Ermoupolis called Ladopoulos Brothers, and he was the The oldest documents in the safe concern director. Olga Vafiadaki’s father Dimitrios and his wife Smaragda. They are about the purchase of During that p erio d, the fac tor y was houses and land in some of the most considered one of the most representative of prestigious locations of Ermoupolis such as its kind. In fact, it was not accidental that the Agios Nikolaos and Vaporia. The eight newspaper Helios in 1904 described it as “the registered shares of the Hellenic Steamship most advanced of the textile factories of the Company (the first of its kind founded in East”. And in 1900, Olga bought the house in Greece) each had a face value of 500 drachmas, Chroussa, where Agis Tsouros discovered the belonged to family members and are safe. especially well-designed documents. Athanasios and Olga had four children: Elpidoforos (Bibis), Smaragda, Anna and Dimitris. Around 1908, Olga and Athanasios split up, and Athanasios died young in 1915. Olga and her children continued to spend time at their house in Chroussa, where Konstantinos, Athanasios’s brother, also seemed to have spent time.

Inside the safe there was a collection of coins from ancient Greece-Athens, Amphipolis and Peloponnese--the Ptolemaic kings, several Roman emperors, including Vespasianus, Diocletianus and Septimius Severus, as well as Byzantine emperors Justinian and Leo IV. In addition, there were several more recent silver Greek and European coins, mainly from the 19th century. There were also impressive Greek military medals and a silver and a bronze commemorative medal from the 1889 Exposition Universelle de Paris. According to Dr. Tsouros, an unexpected discovery in the safe was a wo o den b ox wit h 50 negatives of photos, and two albums containing about 10 postcards, some written and some not. "The photos show beautifullydressed women and elegant men posing with luxury cars and magnificent landscapes in the lakes and mountains of Switzerland. And of course, there were some truly unique photos of Chroussa and the members of the family relaxing in the shade of trees in the garden of the house or the neighbouring estate of Dimitrios Vafiadakis. The amateur photographs offer us a public but also a private glimpse of the family tastes and their personal impression of things near and far." The exhibition was first held in 2018 in Hermoupolis on the island of Syros, and a year later it was held at the Cultural Centre of the National Bank of Greece in Thessaloniki.

Andy Manatos Receives Phidippides Award for Passionate Advocacy of Hellenism PHOTO: GANP/ DIMITRIOS PANAGOS

Hellenic Public Radio – COSMOS FM presented its p r e s t i g i o u s Phidippides Award for Passionate Advocacy of Hellenism to Andy Manatos at their 26th annual Gala in New Yo r k C i t y o n December 2. Previous recipients of this award have included: Archbishop Elpidophoros, Senator Paul Sarbanes, Congressman John Brademas and a number of Greek-American community leaders with whom the Manatos family has had the pleasure of working, many for decades, including: Andrew Athens, Merkourios Angeliades, John and Margo Catsimatidis, Dimitrios & Georgia Kaloidis, Dennis Mehiel, Nikos Mouyiaris, Constantine Papadakis, Michael Psaros, Ted Spyropoulos and Kyriakos Tsakopoulos, among others.

There was a more than enthusiastic response to the exhibition in both cities, Dr Tsouros said, and several visitors suggested that this story should be turned into a book and even made into a movie.

Presently the exhibition is being held at the Cyclades Gallery for the second time in Hermoupolis, until the end of 2021 and next year in Athens. Visitors on Syros will have the opportunity to listen to Dr. Tsouros telling this amazing story and how his childhood dream turned into reality. Talking with Dr. Tsouros, I could not help but ask him his views about the pandemic which has killed more than 6 million people globally. As a leading expert with world-wide recognition, Dr Tsouros pointed out that the Covid -19 pandemic could be considered as a dress rehearsal of the many threats to the health and wellbeing humanity will be facing in the future, which are mainly related to climate change. “We should not forget that the pandemic showed how fragile our societies are and how the most socially and economically vulnerable people paid the worst price. We must invest in modern public health systems in the same way we invest in the defence of our country purchasing expensive weapons even if they may never be needed. A viable and healthy tomorrow for all of us requires strong political will, good preparedness and response systems, anticipatory and visionary policies and emphasis on social solidarity and equity."

Speakers applauded Hellenic Public Radio’s 34 years of broadcasting and preservation of Hellenism in the US along with Andy Manatos’ lifetime dedication to promoting Hellenism and Orthodoxy with our country’s most powerful. These speakers included keynote speaker Father Alexander Karloutsos, the Ambassador of Greece to the US Alexandra Papadopoulou, president of PSEKA Philip Christopher, GAEPIS Chairman Stelios Taketzis, Gala Chairman Mike Manatos and master of ceremonies Michael Stratis. Other honored guests included Consul Generals of Greece and Cyprus in New York, Konstantinos Koutras and Michalis Firillas, respectively, and representing Archbishop Elpidophoros who was out of the country, was Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Father Andreas Vithoulkas. Also in attendance were many other community leaders with whom the Manatos family has had the privilege of working in promoting Hellenism and Orthodox in the United States.



Chaos: A Creative, Hot, Amazing, Outstanding, Supercar But his passion and drive to push the boundaries of his ideas never left him - and a year later he started designing a very advanced project by the global car industry\s standards.

Spyros Panopoulos, the creator of the Greek supercar, talks to NEO By Kelly Fanarioti

Spyros Panopoulos, creator of Chaos When in his early childhood, he discovered his passion for speed and cars, Spyros Panopoulos could not have imagined that a few decades later he would have become the creator of the first supercar made in Greece.

was that I won world records in consecutive acceleration races in the years 2017, 2017, 2018, and 2019. I was breaking my records every year, and in this way, I proved that that my spare-parts were of an excellent quality” he added.

The 43- year - old creator of Chaos, which is a car that he designed and built by himself The mind-blowing acceleration times he entirely, has attracted the strong interest of car achieved in these races, earned him global lovers world-wide. fame. And certainly, it is not accidental that his social media followers exceed two million. “Many years ago, I started making car spareparts just as a hobby. The more I spent time on this, the more it became a passion for me, and some years later I began making spare-parts for racing cars, which I was selling abroad,” he told NEO, remembering his first steps in the automotive field. When the quality of the spare-parts he was designing and making from scratch was disputed by certain American experts, not only was he not discouraged, but he tried to find ways to convince them that his spareparts were of superb quality and had nothing to envy from the those made by the established manufacturers. So, he went for it. He bought a Mitsubishi ENO and he built it from scratch, with spare-parts that were entirely made by him, “The result



“My goal was not to build a car. Chaos is the result of the technology I would like to launch and demonstrate that it really works, as I built this car using 3-D printing. It is the technology of the future.” The car will be shown to the public in March next year, in the presence of members of the Greek Government, who, he says, have been on his side from the start of his project. “The car will be launched in two editions - one w it h 2 0 0 0 a n d t h e ot h e r w it h 3 0 0 0 horsepower. Although very similar in appearance, each of the cars was built with different spare-parts. The first edition will be sold for 5 million euro and the second for 12.5 million euro”, he says and adds that his target potential buyers are those who are into car racing, and who are the only ones who could drive them, or wealthy car collectors who may wish to add a super car in their collection. “Before embarking on my project to build Chaos, I was wondering who would be able to afford such a car. As my initiative was becoming widely known and photos of the car were being published in the international press, I received more 1000 emails expressing interest in my car. It does not mean of course that those who sent messages will also buy it, but it definitely shows that there is a lot of interest for the car out there,” he said, adding that he has already prepared a sale contract with a man from Dubai who wants to buy the car.

His plans for the future beyond selling Chaos include building an electric car and a hydrogen fuel cell car, which are currently under development with a view to going into mass production in early 2023. “Greece is my base and it will remain so. This is something that I do not only wish for myself but also I intend to bring back to Greece several compatriots from abroad who work in the car field. To date I have not found a single person who turned down my invitation.” Amongst the many appreciation messages praising his supercar creation, he also receives from time-to-time messages from inspired children who would wish to follow his example. In fact, there have been cases, he confesses to NEO, of parents of young people who contacted him to say that thanks to his inspiring example their children have set professional targets for themselves. “These are the most touching messages for me, because I am aware how difficult it is in Greece for young people to pursue their creative dreams. If my example could inspire and motivate even one person, to try to fulfill their dream, this would make me very happy”, he concludes.

At a Show in New York

Music has always been the backbone of Haroula Rose’s creative world, but her journey took a different note when she discovered her passion for storytelling. From musician to filmmaker to musician to…well, with creativity in her system, she started to see the bigger picture, and her filmmaking career was born. A native of Chicago, Haroula holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago. The LA based writer, filmmaker, producer, and musician, who also divides her time between Nashville, always wanted to tell stories. Initially she thought journalism may have been her calling, but, at the time, she was working in various aspects of theater and film. She found that type of storytelling more congruent with her light speed. She wanted to visually capture the light and shadows of telling stories. “Being a filmmaker”, she believes, “allows a lot of creative muscles to be flexed, from writing to casting to filming to editing to the music and sound, etc. All the details coming together to form a whole is something I deeply enjoy.”

by Athena Efter

She knows it can be challenging at times, but it’s worth it. She enjoys all genres of filmmaking that revolve around a compelling character or story, and circumstances that draw you in. Music videos and short films are fun for her, less costly, and provide an ideal way to explore a different style, theme, or people. Notable shorts include As they Slept and Lost & Found. Still she finds herself most drawn to human stories to which people can connect, providing a mirror about how we can reflect, empathize with each other, and find ways to be inspired.

Photo by Moises not Moses



Her first feature film Once Upon A River is just that – a human story. It is an odyssey story, told from the perspective of a heroine’s journey. As Haroula puts it, “Much like Huck Finn, Margo Crane is someone who takes her boat on the river to find someone…ultimately to find herself. It is a very intriguing set of characters and unique plot based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell.” Drawn to the beauty of the story itself and seeing its cinematic value, Haroula was inspired to make this film. She knew that musically it would be a unifying project for her, being able to collaborate with colleagues in the music world and connect her visual art to music, which was her first creative love. She co-wrote one of the songs and produced the soundtrack with

original songs from Grammy Award winners, along with old gems, and a score with her longtime collaborator, Zac Rae, at the composer’s helm. The film, released in 2020, won 19 awards at over 40 festivals around the world, including some sold out screenings. It’s available on DVD and streaming. Richard Roper of the Chicago Sun-Times touts it as “Beautiful. Shocking. Moving. Haunting. Lovely. Lasting.” With music at the core of her soul, she’s taking the time to focus on her music career right now. Her new LP “Catch the Light” is a series of nine songs that were recorded throughout 2020, with musicians she admires and has longed to work with for some time. She was inspired to write and to record these songs as we were all forced to stay inside during the pandemic: “Each song is about internal life being illuminating in some way, the way you can watch light move in your life, along the walls, across someone’s face, the cycle of day and night, how you recall the light in a m e m o r y, t h e n a t u r e o f l i g h t a n d darkness…how they need one another to exist. Catching light also refers to what you do in cinema, since it’s all about how you cast your light and how that can play such a major role in the tone.” Both a talented filmmaker and musician, she admits that she will always be a musician first. With her films, she is able to also use her music skills collaboratively on set: “Film and music compliment each other.” As a performer, both onstage in music and in acting, Haroula wants to provide a sense of trust with her cast. She’s always ready to improvise when a situation calls for it with her crew. And as any filmmaker knows not everything goes as planned. The beauty is often found in the magic of a moment that can be challenging if it needs to be altered, yet still remain effective in evoking the intended message and theme of the film.

On Set for OUAR with John Ashton

So what does Haroula prefer? Filmmaking or We look forward to seeing much more of what music? Her answer to that is both! She will Haroula can do onscreen and onstage as a always continue to put out albums and go on musician, but for now we really look forward tour, and keep finding human stories she can to her new LP, Catch the Light”, which she’s present onscreen that also allow for the type of very excited about. No Depression magazine creative union where music is a focal point. describes her singing as “the spirit of a gypsy She doesn’t feel the urge to choose. Though a soul, always searching for meaning or a seed of film can take longer, from the preproduction to postproduction stage, a song can be written in a day and recorded o v e r n i g h t . I t ’s a different process but equally as rewarding for her as an artist. She is excited to get started on her next two films, which will have bigger budgets. She’s also been lucky enough to actor, On set with my lead receive grants and rna ce lan De di na Ke fellowships for many of her projects.

dio r Stu sisto working e R t le a rowell, shvil In Na Rodney Cmy film with song for on a

truth in each fleeting moment. Her voice is at once intimate and solacing, its gentle reflections betraying a subtle, plaintive sway that enriches moments of guitar-driven folk with the pathos of classic country.” Her new LP will be released in both vinyl form and digitally in 2022. Keep an eye out for her coming to your city or town as she goes on tour with new album, while juggling several film projects at the same time. Many of Haroulas’ songs can also be heard in several films and series including How I Met Your Mother, American Horror Story, and Still Alice. When it comes to casting light and shadows, Haroula certainly flips the switch from going behind the scenes to being part of the scene, always bringing her dynamic creativity and vision to the forefront.



In Memoriam Prof. Dan Georgakas The Greek American Community and the American Hel lenic Inst itute de eply mourns the passing of Dan Georgakas. He passed away on November 23, 2021.

America. Dan’s death is a huge loss to me personally, to AHI’s community as well as to the Greek American c om mu n it y,” s ai d A H I President Nick Larigakis. “He was deeply committed to the issues of social justice and Hellenism. He understood the need for opportunity and inclusion in a democracy and devoted his life to making that happen in the U.S. His legacy is clear: A nation is better for his life and work.”

Professor Georgakas was the editor of the American Hellenic I n s t i t u t e F o u n d a t i o n’s American Journal of Contemporary Hellenic Issues, a forum for commentary and scholarship on issues of vital Prof. Dan Georgakas importance to Greek speaking at the AHI Americans. “Its purpose,” Prof. Foundation's Future Georgakas stressed, “was to of Hellenism in America foster creative thinking on Professor Georgakas also conference in 2015. political issues that affect a c t i v e l y prom ot e d t h e Greece, Cyprus, and the Greek diaspora.” To teaching of Hellenism, Greek culture and that end he sought the work from authors who language through his writings, poems, and have a special interest in promoting discourse lectures. “We believe key factors in enriching in the Hellenic Diaspora and hearing from American policies are the activities of the emerging as well as established scholars and Greek community and its allies, and we seek to activists. empower them in whatever way we can. We think it is especially important to work with “We are eternally grateful for Dan’s assistance Greek Americans still at the onset of their in AHI Foundation’s work. We also travelled careers. In all our endeavors, we advocate the t he count r y toget her for t he annua l need for a commitment to the principle of conferences on the Future of Hellenism in Rule by Law coupled with a commitment to

rendering an authentic historic record stripped of ethnocentric bias,” Professor Georgakas wrote in his Introduction of the 2015 Spring issue of the American Journal of Contemporary Hellenic Issues. Additionally, Professor Georgakas served as the Director of the Greek American Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College, consulting editor of Cineaste film quarterly, and a biweekly columnist for The National Herald. In 2015, Dan Georgakas: A Diaspora Rebel, a fifty-minute documentary biopic was produced for Greek National Television. It has since been screened in the United States and Europe. Profe s s or G e or g a k a s w i l l a l w ay s b e remembered fondly by the American Hellenic Institute and its members as an exceptional individual who worked diligently to promote Hellenic ideals and values. His knowledge was extensive and his love for Hellenism was endless. “We were honored to present him with the Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award in 2011,” Larigakis added. “Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with his wife and the Georgakas family. May his memory be eternal.”

Book: Islam and Nationalism in Modern Greece, 1821-1940 Author Stefanos Katsikas is Associate Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies and Assistant Instructional Professor at the University of Chicago

Drawing from a wide range of archival and secondary Greek, Bulgarian, Ottoman, and Turkish sources, Islam and Nationalism in Modern Greece, 1821-1940 by Prof. Stefanos Katsikas explores the way in which the Muslim populations of Greece were ruled by state authorities from the time of Greece's political emancipation from the Ottoman Empire in the 1820s until the country's entrance into the Second World War, in October 1940. The book examines how state rule influenced the development of the Muslim population's collective identity as a minority and affected Muslim relations with the Greek authorities and Orthodox Christians. Greece was the first country in the Balkans to become an independent state and a pi one e r i n experimenting with minority issues. Greece's ruling framework and many state administrative measures and patterns would serve as templates in other Christian Orthodox Balkan states with Muslim minorities (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Cyprus). Mu s l i m r e l i g i o u s officials were empowered with authority which they did not have in Ottoman times, and aspects of the Islamic law (Sharia) were incorporated into the state legal system to be used for Muslim family and property affairs. Religion remained a defining element in the political, social, and 66


cultural life of the post-Ottoman Balkans; Stefanos Katsikas explores the role religious nationalism and public institutions have played in the development and preservation of religious and ethnic identity. Religion remains a key element of individual and collective identity but only as long as there are strong institutions and the political framework to support and maintain religious diversity. The book is available on Oxford University Press, Amazon and major bookstores. Stefanos Katsikas is Associate Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies and Assistant Instructional Professor at the University of Chicago. He holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) at University College London (UCL). His research interests lie in the field of modern and contemporary history of Southeastern Europe, especially in the study of democratization, regional security, and minority-state relations. He is the author of Negotiating Diplomacy in the New Europe: Foreign Policy in the Post-Communist Bulgaria (2011), which received a Scouloudi publication award from the Institute of Historical Research in London. Katsikas is also the editor of Bulgaria and Europe: Shifting Identities (2010); and co-editor of State Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire, Greece and Turkey: Orthodox and Muslims (1830-1945) (2012).

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In Memoriam, Peter N. Marudas, respected political strategist and adviser to three Baltimore mayors and a U.S. senator By Jacques Kelly* Peter N. Marudas, recalled as an astute political strategist who worked calmly behind the scenes for three Baltimore mayors and a U.S. senator, died of heart failure Nov. 20 at his North Baltimore home. He was 84. Mr. Ma r u d a s , a m a i n s t ay of Ma r y l a n d’s Democratic political scene, worked to elect former U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes and was later his chief of staff. “He was a brilliant political analyst who was able to develop a great strategy,” said former U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. “He had an ethical personality and came out of the heritage of [President] Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and John Kennedy’s New Frontier.”

In 1967, late in the administration of Mayor Theodore R. McKeldin, he took a top job in the mayor’s office. Mr. McKeldin later With Senator Paul Sarbanes complimented him by saying, “If only I had Mr. Hettleman discussed how Mr. Marudas had him earlier in my career.” worked in a campaign: “He had a good Mr. Marudas was described in a 1972 Sun intuition and feel for people. He could talk to a profile: “If any reporter thrived in a job it was taxi driver or a restaurant diner. He had great Marudas. He quickly found something in instincts and judgment. He had soul and a feel common with everyone in City Hall and with for people.” He recalled Mr. Marudas’ ability to judge politics. “We’d sit in a room and you’d everyone who visited there.” hear from the pollsters and the campaign He forged a strong friendship with Mr. media people, and Peter always had a McKeldin’s successor, Thomas J. D’Alesandro distinctive and different viewpoint,” Mr. III, and held a similar trusted post as the Hettleman said. “He would add a dimension mayor’s confidant and No. 2 person.Friends born of his extensive knowledge of U.S. and Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said he mastered the Byzantine-like world of world history in ways that pollsters don’t recalled that Mr. Marudas was not well known Baltimore’s precinct politics. Mr. D’Alesandro, always understand. … He had a longer vision because he was not an elected official.“But speaking in a Sun article in 2001, said of Mr. of things than just beyond the moment.” Pete was a great public A f t e r M r. D’A l e s a n d r o servant. He believed strongly declined to run for reelection that government could help as mayor, Mr. Mar ud as people,” said Mr. Schmoke, became Mr. (Paul) Sarbanes’ who tapped Mr. Marudas for chief of staff. He had met Mr. his administration. Sarbanes as a reporter when the latter was executive Born in Detroit, he was the director of the Baltimore son of Nicholas P. Marudas, a Charter Revision small-business owner and Commission. salesperson, and Lula Leventis, a homemaker. He He was actively involved in was a 1955 Mackenzie High the campaign when Mr. School graduate and ran Sarbanes, then a state track at the school. delegate, successfully challenged veteran Mr. Marudas received a congressman George Fallon bachelor’s degree from the in the 1970 Democratic University of Michigan in Peter Marudas. (Photo: TNH/FILE) primary for the 4th District Ann Arbor in 1960 and a seat. master’s degree in journalism from the same school. Marudas: “He could read people. He could sense sincerity or baloney. He was almost like Mr. Marudas played a role six years later when He sp ent his chi ld ho o d summers in my alter ego. I sort of found in him somebody Mr. Sarbanes defeated former Sen. Joseph Baltimore, where an uncle operated a Light who thought like I thought. … And [he] never Tydings in the primary for the U.S. Senate and Street dry-cleaning business and another had a hidden agenda. You knew you were went on to win the seat from Republican incumbent J. Glenn Beall Jr. uncle had a Curtis Bay restaurant. getting a real honest critique.” Attracted to politics as a teen, Mr. Marudas watched Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee for president in 1952, campaign that year in Detroit. Mr. Marudas met his future wife, Irene K. Semerly, while they were students at Michigan. He moved to Baltimore and joined the staff of The Evening Sun in 1963. Mr. Marudas initially covered police in Howard and Carroll counties, and was soon assigned to cover Baltimore’s City Hall. 70


Kalman “Buzzy” Hettleman, with whom Mr. Marudas worked on three occasions, said, “He was lovable. If there was a Greek ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ it would be Peter. He was the most optimistic human being. He was always upbeat and he brought people along. “Peter was steeped in the culture of the people and nations. And, of course, he drew on the Greek traditions. But he was just a special human being. He brought out the best in everyone. People glowed and felt enriched by Peter. He did not have a polarizing bone in his body.”

U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, a son of the late senator, said: “Peter was without question my father’s most trusted adviser over a period of years. Whenever my father was to make a decision about his life’s trajectory, Peter was the first he consulted.” Mr. Sarbanes also said, “Peter was an indomitable spirit. An optimist, he saw the glass half full. He was deeply intellectual and had a knowledge of history wherein he could take current events and put them in a broad context.” continue on page 81

Christmas wishes and ...curses! And so is Christmas, as the song goes and we are about to wrap up this issue so that we can fly to the Swiss Alps, to a humble but luxurious nevertheless chalet, to spend the holidays with K i n g K o n s t a n t i n e , Ta k i Theodoracopulos, maybe Juan Carlos of Spain and a few other old friends. Many thanks to those of you who this year too responded generously and supported the magazine with ads and wishes. We are indebted forever, metaphorically speaking because I can guarantee you that you will never see a penny from us, we deal in hundred dollar bills and above… To those of you who didn't do their duty to Hellenism(!) and didn't contribute, my curse be upon you and

upon your families' members to the ages of ages: your wives to become presidents of Philoptochos! And then you will see how much it’s gonna cost you, certainly not the peanuts we are asking! Seriously now, may you all have a blessed Christmas and an acceptable New Year! Don't try to be real, it's impossible in our virtual lives, just try not to be fake. And don't live your life to the fullest, it can't happen, try leaving some moments the fullest and then it might be revealed to you that there is another way… And it isn't Broadway!

continued from page 70 A 2001 Sun article described Mr. Marudas’ style: “Kind, thoughtful, generous and politically astute. For nearly 35 years, Marudas has brought his particular, perhaps unique, political acumen to Baltimore, Maryland and national politics.” The article recalled Mr. Marudas’ manner of talking: “His conversation veers happily from local to national to international politics like a bumper car in an amusement park.” Mr. Marudas continued as chief of staff until 1988, w hen he j oine d Mr. S chmoke’s administration as intergovernmental liaison. In 1994 he returned to Sen. Sarbanes as chief of staff. Mr. Marudas retired in 2001. In addition to his wife of 59 years, a former Franklin High School teacher, survivors include two sons, Nicholas P. Marudas of Atlanta and Kyriakos P. Marudas of Baltimore; a brother, Thomas N. Marudas of Baltimore; and two grandchildren. *) This obituary was first published in the BALTIMORE SUN, on November 26, 2021

Spiros Exaras Releases Christmas Wish with the Magic of Christmas! Internationally acclaimed jazz artist Spiros Exaras brought joy to the world with his first ever original holiday single, The Magic of Christmas, released on December 1st, 2021. Known for his impressive fusion of different musical elements, notably in his GreekCuban collaboration with Elio Villafranca, “Old Waters New River” and in his signature Blue Note album “Phrygianics,” Spiros Exaras unites a stellar team of New York based musicians to share these two world-class pieces. In the title track, The Mag ic of Chr i stmas, Spiros’ resonant guitar sound meets with Don Braden’s distinctive sax, and Eugene Ruffolo’s smooth vocals to create what sounds like a future Christmas classic. The idea of this song arose when Spiros’ daughter was studying abroad and was unable to join the family in decorating the Christmas tree. With love and imagination, Spiros and Ileana decided to co-write a s ong e x pre ss i ng t he holiday cheer that magically unites people, no matter the distance. A jolly journey of two solos is followed by a line in Spiros Exaras’ native language, Greek. “Ding, dong! Christougenna pantou,’” (Christmas is everywhere), wishing a Merry Christmas from his home to the world. Indeed, The Magic of Christmas knows no borders.



The second track, Christmas Wish, also with lyrics by Ileana Exaras, is a heartfelt song about lending a hand to children who are less fortunate. It is a wish for a world where holiday joy is not a privilege for the few, but can spread to all people. Amanda Homi’s soulful voice along with Caryl Paisner’s stunning cello interpretation blend with Spiros’ dynamic arrangement to create a song that is both touching and hopeful.

executing guitar is compelling and beautiful.” A graduate of the Athens Conservatory of Music with degrees in classical guitar and composition, Spiros Exaras is an internationally acclaimed musician, regarded as a master of fusing musical cultures. In his native Greece, Spiros has been a featured player with the Greek National Radio Television Orchestra (ERT), the Orchestra of Colors, Kamerata Symphony Orchestra, as well as working with such acclaimed composers and singers as Yannis Markopoulos, Mario Fr an g ou l i s , A l k i s t i s Protopsalti, Evanthia Reboutsika, Elias Andriopoulos, Petros Gaitanos and Kostas Hatzis. Internationally, Spiros has played with such artists as Shirley Bassey, R a n d y B r e c k e r, Jo n Benitez, Hernan Romero, Matt Garrison, Ray Vega, Tessa Souter, J.D. Walter, and Joel Rosenblatt as well as Gr am my Aw ard winners, Dave Valentin, G e r a r d o Ve l e z a n d Arturo O’Farrill. Exaras also played the searing guitar solo on Mariah Carey’s platinum

The ‘Magic of Christmas’ is a joyful sleigh ride, hit, “My All.” a cheerful stroll through a sparkling city, and gift of heartwarming melodies that once His film and theater scoring includes opened, will bring smiles to all its listeners. Everything For a Reason, Niko’s Restaurant, Just Cause, the plays Gallathea, and The Hand Of Exaras’s work, Al Di Meola says, “The A n d He n , i n a d d it i o n t o nu m e ro u s sophistication and eloquence one can hear commercials. makes it clear to me that Spiros Exaras’s way of

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