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The Greek Revolution of March 25, 1821 Nicholas Benachi of New Orleans Rhode Island State Senator Lou Raptakis Soterios Voulgaris, the Greek behind Bulgari

NYU Langone Health Expert

Dr. Stella Lymberis on coping with

the coronavirus pandemic




:: magazine FOUNDED IN 2005 BY Demetrios Rhompotis Dimitri Michalakis Kyprianos Bazenikas Publishing Committee Chairman Demetrios Rhompotis (718) 554-0308 Director of Operations Kyprianos Bazenikas Marketing & Advertising Director Tommy Harmantzis (347) 613-4163 ATHENS - GREECE Public Relations & Marketing Director Rita Despotidis 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

Cover story photo by ETA Press

Keeping the darkness at bay The streets are quiet, the shelves are bare, people wear blue masks and blue gloves, and even family and friends shy away from each other with apologies and make sure not to touch. It seems a different world we woke up to one day.

Of course we will survive this: human beings are practically as resilient as bugs. We will be haunted, but hopefully we will also be chastened and remember to prepare for the next one better—and we might take comfort in seeing how the natural world can rid itself of our pollution and rebound if only for a moment (when fish came back to the canals of Venice and the air in metropolitan Athens was certainly appreciably better). But what a global crisis like this shows is how f r ag i l e we are a s a sp e c i e s and a s a civilization—something like this makes a mockery of our civilization. It’s like putting a hand through a carefully-constructed spider web: it can catch flies, but it can’t repel a human fist. Suddenly all our restaurants are closed and millions of people are out of work. They are begging for our service and their dining rooms look like caves. What happens to that luncheonette in Troy, New York that has been in the family for years? What happens to the trendy new café in Astoria where young Greeks spend hours arguing the problems in their lives and checking on their WiFi? What happens to the construction company that has no construction? The law firm that has no court dates? The runners that have nothing to deliver? The nursing homes that have no visitors? The hospitals that have no beds? The doctors and nurses that get sick themselves? The children that have no school and no structure in their lives and whose world is suddenly not an endless panorama but a

shuttered place? What happens to a big and loving family that in a news cycle loses four of its members and becomes an internet meme? When I was a kid living in Greece the world seemed such a sweet and simple place. It had its terrors after dark (when the dogs barked at phantoms), it had the gravestones at cemeteries where the dead appeared smiling in pictures, and it had the churches where all the saints were olive skinned and dour and their eyes looked enormous and seemed to follow you everywhere. But at night when there was no TV, all the neighbors would shuffle out of the dark to my papou and yiayia’s taratsa and sit there all night eating peponi and stafilia and visino dipped in water for the more formal visitors, and talk and laugh in the darkness and the shadows and the moths flying endlessly around the one lightbulb that lit up the scene. My papou would tease me and say he didn’t eat ice cream because it was too hot and “burned” his tongue, Sideri would blame the kivernisi for everything, Thio Stelio would spoon his yiaourti and kill flies with a fly swatter and pace in his flip flops, and my yiayia would scratch one leg with the other and realize she was only wearing one sock and two different-colored shoes. “I only have two pairs so I’m showing you my whole wardrobe tonight,” she would say. And we would laugh, and she would laugh, and certainly we can use a laugh now. Those people went through a lot worse in their lives and they survived it with their humanity intact: certainly we can do the same and remember this cautionary tale we are going through now of how precious and frail life is and what keeps the darkness at bay is having each other. Stay strong and be well and let’s talk to each other, and if all else fails, try wearing mismatched shoes. DIMITRI C. MICHALAKIS

:: magazine PUBLISHED MONTHLY IN NEW YORK Editor in Chief: Dimitri C. Michalakis Western Region Desk - Los Angeles Alexander Mizan West Palm Beach, Florida Desk Vassilios Kukorinis 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

America’s Number One Philhellene:

Bob Menendez One of the most brilliant US Senators of the last half-century, Paul Sarbanes spent over three decades advocating steadfastly for Hellenic and Orthodox issues and setting the standard for the Congressional ideal. When he approached retirement from the Senate in 2006, we posed the question, “What will we do

for our issues when you are gone?” He answered, “Make sure Bob Menendez is elected to the Senate.” Sarbanes was correct. In Bob’s 13 years in the House, followed by his 13 years in the Senate, his devotion of time and political capital to all Hellenic and Orthodox issues is Sarbanes-like. And like Sarbanes, he is considered one of the brightest on Capitol Hill. He is America’s number one Philhellene. 10

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by Philip Christopher*

His group of Cypriot Hellenic friends of the Energy and Security Partnership Act, last 30 years has done a great job of keeping Menendez took a major step toward him up to the minute on our issues. embedding in the minds of America’s policymakers a term we have spent nearly two As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations years working to establish. The term “Eastern Committee, he, as Sarbanes did before him, Mediterranean Partnership” (EMP) is grills proposed Ambassadors to Greece, frequently unnoticed but profoundly Cyprus or Turkey who important. It geopolitically links the appear before him for their perception of Cyprus and Greece close to essential confirmation Israel, a favorite of policymakers. It also helps hearings. As Chairman and policymakers realize that Cyprus, Greece and Ranking Member of that Israel are the only stable Western Democracies Committee, depending on in the Middle East and alone can be counted which party is in the Senate on as supportive allies. Such a realization can m aj or it y, h e c ar r i e s a open the door for Cyprus and Greece to be particularly big stick. His treated more appropriately. It can possibly message to these possible result in significant financial assistance if our Ambassadors is clear — ongoing efforts are successful next year. their treatment of Cyprus, Greece and the Ecumenical Menendez’s recent victory overcame the Patriarchate could well powerful and seemingly insurmountable halfdetermine their current and century-old American tilt toward Turkey. This f u t u r e S e n a t e tilt is caused by Turkey’s 9th ranked military, confirmations. its borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran, our Incirlik base in Adana, and it’s savvy in M e n e n d e z r e c e n t l y Washington. Turkey spends 25 to 50 times demonstrated again why he more in Washington than Cyprus and Greece is considered America’s combined even though it’s government budget number one Philhellene. is only three times larger than that of Cyprus He introduced, moved past and Greece. However, Menendez saw an n u m e r o u s u s u a l l y opportunity resulting from Turkish President insurmountable obstacles Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s purchase of Russian Sand into law the Eastern 400 missiles jeopardizing the stealth Mediterranean Energy and capabilities of American and NATO F-35 Security Partnership Act. fighter jets. Menendez broke through that To keep the proposed bill crack in the tilt and scored. f r o m b e i n g “d e a d o n arrival” in the Republican His new law calls for: lifting the arms embargo majority US Senate, he on Cyprus, Executive Branch reports to the br i l l i ant ly a s s u re d it s Congress about Turkey’s aggression into bipartisanship. Utilizing his Cyprus’ EEZ and Greece’s airspace, funds for shared Cuban-American Greek and Cypriot military training and loans background with fellow for Greece’s purchase of US arms, the creation F o r e i g n R e l a t i o n s of a strategy to improve cooperation between C o m m i t t e e m e m b e r the Eastern Mediterranean countries and Republican Senator Marco America with respect to energy and security, Rubio, he secured Rubio’s as well as the establishment of an Energy original cosponsorship of Center to facilitate that strategy. the bill. He and his talented st af f worke d w it h t he Given our bureaucracy’s decades-long Republican Chairman of inclination to work around such laws, and t h e S e n a t e F o r e i g n with respect to Cyprus ignore them; we must Relations Committee Jim keep a close eye on this law’s implementation. Risch and his staff. Risch was crucial to We are relying on our Secretary of State to stop securing hearings on the bill, passing it Turkish aggression against Greece and through the Committee and, combining it Cyprus. And we are lucky, beyond words, to with skillfully handled similar legislation in have Bob Menendez in the leadership of the the House as it moved as an amendment into US Senate’s Committee with responsibility for the Appropriations bill then signed by the the oversight of that implementation. President into law. * Philip Christopher is Chairman of PSEKA By enacting the Eastern Mediterranean (World Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus).

strategy THE DAY AFTER By Endy Zemenides

The Coronavirus crisis has pushed discussion of several other topics to the background, and this column will follow suit. As Prime Minister Mitsotakis announced the lockdown of Greece, he declared that “the greatest weapon against the virus is personal responsibility” and decried the irresponsible actions – most specifically the unnecessary movement of people that increased the chances of community spread – that made the lockdown a necessity.

στρατηγική II. HELP FOR GREECE This crisis is particularly cruel for Greece, which was in the midst of a solid economic rebound and looking forward to another record setting tourist season. The diaspora was caught a bit flat footed during the Greek economic crisis and did not help Greece as much as it could have back then, so we have to be ready to do so now.

As the U.S. is starting to apply incentives under the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act – or the BUILD Act – to certain strategic sectors of the Greek As the world mobilizes every possible economy, we must advocate for the Greek resource and enlists all of humanity to counter health care sector to receive this “strategic” this (in Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ words) designation. “invisible, but not invincible, enemy” we can be sure that we will overcome this crisis. Then We cannot lose sight of Turkey’s continued we will reflect on what could have been done hybrid warfare against Greece, which was to prevent it. made painfully obvious as Turkey violated Greek airspace and waters, fired chemical One critique – that incidentally matches a weapons at Greek troops guarding the border, critique of the pre-9/11 world – was that there and kept weaponized migrants at the border was a “failure of imagination”; we did not and tried to push them into Greece. There is an believe that this could happen on such a scale obvious reality that we are not doing enough and that governments and institutions across t o m a k e p e o p l e the board would be so poorly prepared for it. aware of – Greece is Even as we get past the immediate public the frontline guard of health crisis, there are other crises that will the borders of the emerge from it, and we will soon learn that Western alliance, there are multiple emergencies that we have to and it needs more deal with as a Greek-American community. help. Getting excess So, it is time to “imagine” the worst-case equipment from the scenarios that will be confronting soon Coast Guard, the enough. Department of Homeland Security I . H E L P F O R G R E E K - A M E R I C A N and others to Greece BUSINESSES should be an annual policy priority for It is certain that every part of the American the community. economy is going to suffer, but those in the hospitality industry – where our community is Finally, we should overrepresented – may be facing the most consider how we can i m m e d i ate e x i s te nt i a l t h re at . B ot h help Greece make up commercial and residential landlords – for significant tourist another key industry for our community – are losses. With year facing a similar threat. round direct flights to Greece a reality, The community must come together and there should be a advocate for financial regulators to extend campaign for winter some of the forbearance measures that they break, spring break have begun permitting banks to exercise. If or Easter in Greece. banks allow small businesses and landlords to G r e e k O r t h o d o x defer multiple months of payments without parishes that lead penalties (because regulators do not pressure trips abroad should banks over such “delinquent” loans), there will swap out trips to be a positive trickle-down effect. Businesses Turkey or Russia will be able to ramp up and rehire quickly, w i t h a v i s i t t o residents and businesses will be allowed to Meteora or a “follow skip a few mortgage payments without their the footsteps of St. landlords going into foreclosure, etc. Paul” trip in Greece. 12

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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

III. HELP FOR GREEK-AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS From coast to coast, the Greek Orthodox Church was facing perilous financial challenges. These challenges are about to multiply in number and intensity. Revenues lost during Holy Week will not be made up easily. If Greek food festivals in the summer are affected by the Coronavirus crisis, some parishes might not be able to afford to keep the doors open. Alternative fundraising strategies must be discussed for the Church – as well as for all of our institutions, most of which overwhelmingly rely on large fundraising events which are for the moment not practical. There may also have to be an immediate discussion over whether to push back the date on completing St. Nicholas in order to focus on saving parishes. As we shelter in place, we should consider these and many more questions. We will have to rebuild so much out of our society and change so much in our way of life coming out of this crisis. We cannot let our imagination fail us now.

In my interview with Dr. Lymberis, I received first hand advice that put whatever “oncoming ills� I was feeling into a much more rational and objective perspective. What I discovered was that this is not a new virus, but a new strain of an existing one. There are already four corona viruses in existence. I also learned that your chances of dying from it are minimal, unless you are in a high risk category. Most people can recover, but it spreads faster and more easily, with a stricter form of containment required. It remains a high risk to the elderly and patients with multiple medical problems, but we are increasingly learning that it may have long-term ramifications to anyone, regardless of risk category or age, that has been exposed to it. As for the race for hand sanitizers that emptied out supermarket shelves, Dr. Lymberis reassured that NYU Langone Health Expert there are other forms of disinfection that are equally as effective as hand sanitizers, if not more, such as hand washing with soap or alcohol, and cleaning surfaces with diluted bleach. This does not mean hand sanitizers are i n e f f e c t i v e , b u t D r. Lymberis emphasized that we must resist mass panic and consumerism and focus on common sense, simple guidelines that can help prevent the spread. The on coping with advice given from an experienced healthcare professional was not to panic, but to continue practicing proper hygiene habits that can help contain and stop the spread. Her message was also one of support, emphasizing self care, a healthy diet and by Athena Efter exercise, and stressed that we must have a balanced With a global health crisis and pandemic, now Lymberis has been a trusted and highly emotional response to the daily uncertainties past its percolating point, it seemed like the esteemed doctor, researcher, and scientist in and changes in our lives due to the pandemic. right time for NEO magazine to feature a story the medical profession. Her extensive research on Dr. Stella Lymberis, a wife and mother of and expertise in the field of radiation Apart from being a medical professional two, a health expert, and radiation oncologist oncology is an ongoing commitment, with immersed in her work with great passion and at the Isaac and Laura Perlmutter Cancer great strides continuously being made in the compassion, constantly studying and keeping Center at NYU Langone. Having received her treatment of gynecological cancers, toward abreast of developments in the health BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT and a the end goal of finding an effective treatment industry, Dr. Lymberis is a voice for women Doctor of Medicine from the Albert Einstein that will enable cancer patients to live a and Hellenism. Over the past few weeks she mobilized action in support of Greece and was College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, Dr. sustainable life. Dr. Stella Lymberis at work, NYU Langone Health Department of Radiation Oncology

Dr. Stella Lymberis the coronavirus pandemic


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a proud supp or ter of the HALC #StandWithGreece campaign and the migrant awareness effort organized by the Northern Aegean Relief Alliance. Stella biked from Manhattan to Astoria (in an effort to reduce exposure on the subway) with her husband last week to attend the Migrant Crisis Awareness Rally on March 8th in Astoria. S u s p e c t i n g t h at t h e p l a n n e d G r e e k Independence Day parade would likely be cancelled she realized that the time to support Greece in a group or rally would soon be running out, and with her hand sanitizer in her pocket she was in attendance, proudly wearing a large Greek flag draped around her back. When Stella is not in her lab coat, you may have experienced her choral talent at a concert, like the 2015 Greek Cultural Center’s concert dedicated to Mikis Theodorakis. If you haven’t heard her sing, you may have danced with her in an island sirto or pentozali at one of many e vents in t he Gre ek

Stella receiving the AGAPW Woman of the Year Award 2019 from President Olga Alexakos (1st from left). Also in photo her mother Stella Lymberis

The one attribute that stood, apart from her contributions to the medical profession, is her compassion, dedication, and humility. Her investment in her work is a labor and discipline of love. She is a woman who inspires trust and can chorale a group into action. Stella Lymberis is married to Dr. Vassilios Latoussakis, a psychiatrist at Gracie Square Hospital, who specializes in geriatric psychiatry and is a proud mother of two children, Olga and Michalis. Coronavirus. How is this different from the flu and should we be more concerned about it? Don’t get me started on this question because the dismissive conversations and reassurance at the beginning of the epidemic were deeply irresponsible and aggravates me personally as a doctor. Covid-19 is NOT the flu and everyone must take this infection seriously and show personal responsibility to limit spread. This cannot be emphasized enough. It is irrelevant to discuss and compare flu cases to the infectious and lethality risk from Covid19.


The Latoussakis family at the Ellinomatheia Award Ceremony celebrating the awards for their children on exams. From left, Stella with son Michalis, mother Dionisia Lymberis, daughter Olga and husband Michalis Latoussakis

community. Dr. Lymberis is trained in voice, piano, and Greek traditional dance performance, and enjoys and supports Greek cultural events with friends and family. She is incredibly saddened by the constant cancellation of cultural events and hopes that we can mobilize support for o u r G re e k a r t i s t s a n d businesses that find themselves without venues and work. Now, more than ever, she believes we all need the arts to help us cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic by listening to music or sharing literature, poetry, and art to express our feelings of fear and isolation and help ourselves and each other heal.

It is different from the flu mainly because it is a novel version of coronavirus for which we do not currently have antiviral therapies nor a vaccine that will pre vent infection. COVID-19, as compared to the flu, is also extremely contagious and easily spread from person to person via droplet spread or from solid surfaces an infected person can touch and be exposed to. We

have seen how super spreaders congregating in conferences, ski resorts and cruises have brought us to a global pandemic situation. It infects the lower portion of both lungs, causing bilateral pneumonia which results in dyspnea, the difficulty of breathing, and in v u l n e r ab l e p opu l at i ons , w it h e it h e r suppressed immune systems or other medical problems, it can lead to inability for the lung to properly provide oxygen to the body. At that time the patient may need oxygen. or if things get worse, may need to be incubated on a ventilator in order to stay alive. Another worrisome finding is that for some patients who recover from infection they may be left with scarring and reduced lung function. This disease does not only affect the elderly. We are learning that almost half of cases are middle aged patients. Also concerning is the fact that this virus can also result in direct cardiac toxicity causing cardiomyopathy. We c a n n o t simply say that Covid-19 is simply the flu and everything will be alright. Politicians early on took that approach to protect the markets and that was deeply irresponsible. We all need to t a k e t h e necessary steps to minimize disease spread and take this matter ver y seriously. Stay at home Dr. Stella Lymberis means stay at home period - for your own good and for the good of others. Do you remain that hopeful that a vaccine will be developed soon? Yes, I am very hopeful that technology and medical innovation will see humanity through this crisis. Just this week three pharmaceutical companies have launched the first human clinical trials of experimental COVID-19 treatments. On of these companies, which is already working on a vaccine for SARS and MERS, other members of the coronavirus family, managed to administer the vaccine to the first patient on March 16, 2020. About 45 participants will be enrolled within six weeks and given two doses of the vaccine in the upper arm about 28 days apart. They will be monitored for a year after the doses. I was most inspired to hear the testimony of the first person to receive a dose of the potential vaccine, the 43-year-old Jennifer Haller, an operations manager at a small tech company in Seattle. She and all patients who COVER STORY

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norm. No handshakes. N o c on f e re n c e s , travel, or even personal travel was allowed. Students and international v i s i t i n g observers were not a l l owe d. M e d i c a l students had to postpone or c a n c e l rotations.

Hippocratic Conference at Lenox Hill with Dr Stella Lymberis, Dr Manolas President of Hellenic Medical Society (3rd from left), Cathy Economou, and Michael Plakogiannis, MD far right.

enroll in clinical trials in order to advance medicine are the true heroes and are an inspiration to us all. Without them medical advances cannot be made. Another well-known prominent GreekAmerican scientist is leading another treatment effort against severe forms of COVID-19 infection, George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron, is leading another treatment effort against severe forms of COVID-19 infection. We all pray for the brilliant scientists in the US and around the world along with brave patient participants in clinical trials who will help us make progress in order to fight the battle against this disease. How has coronavirus affected your work as a doctor? This is a one in a lifetime situation that is affecting all of us dramatically everywhere at work and at home. As the first cases of COVID-19 hit NYC, the inevitable suddenly became real. NYC is an international multiethnic city with people traveling around from all over the world. As a doctor and engineer it was clear to me early on that we will be in trouble. It’s just basic mathematics. NYU Langone Health immediately adopted strict measures before any government action was taken and notified us that, even though there was no testing for the virus early on, the numbers of patients being presented with cough and fever to NYU Emergency Rooms was on the rise, while cases of the flu were decreasing. That was a clear sign the disease was spreading in NYC, but we did not yet have the ability to confirm that suspicion to test and isolate people appropriately. The changes were rapid in the clinic and at home as social isolation became the new 16

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heroism at this time because they are risking their lives. It will happen here in NYC too I am afraid. What helps prepare you to face this crisis?

What I think has prepared me the most to handle the daily onslaught of news regarding C OVID-19 p andemic is ac tu a l ly my background in engineering. I thank my father who encouraged me to pursue undergraduate study in engineering. Understanding data and exponential curves helped me realize and prepare for the upcoming inevitable increase in disease spread. I chose to pursue a career in medicine so that I could apply my knowledge of science and technology to improve people’s lives and make them better. The war waged Then it hit our against the current COVID-19 pandemic can daily existence only be won if we apply science and in the clinic, technology to fight it. even among each other as What can people do to avoid unnecessary d o c t o r s a n d trips to the doctor and exposure from the healthcare workers. Tumor boards and chart virus? rounds where medical oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiologists meet together to The government and healthcare industry has review management became virtual. Every adapted to this crisis with rapid technological day brought on a new wave of social restriction developments to enable continuity of patient and change. Everyone was affected and none care safely expanding coverage by Medicare of us were emotionally ready for all the and private insurers to cover telemedicine changes and how they would personally affect visits. There is a massive telemedicine rollout us. happening across all hospitals and outpatient centers to get up to speed with telemedicine so However, when you go through medical that critical patient care can continue virtually school you learn how to handle unpredictable and safely. situations and become flexible to uncertainty. As doctors, this is also not the first time that we I hope that everyone while you are now at have had to put ourselves in front of danger. In home that you take some time to contact your the OR I have operated on HIV positive insurance and providers, download necessary patients and have been at risk of needlestick apps and find out where you can schedule injury. telehealth visits for yourself and your family. Medical care will continue but is rapidly being I have cared for active tuberculosis patients redefined and everyone needs to plan ahead in with cancer. We are physicians first, Stella biking to Migrant Crisis Northern Aegean Alliance Rally and with courage from Manhattan to Astoria we will get through to avoid subway crowds due this challenge. I am to covid outbreak grateful that I am well and able to care for my patients. What moves me deeply as we now enter surge mode and need to prepare for the reality of increasing numbers of cases is how elderly, retired physicians have answered the call to duty so they can be called to action if needed. Many older, especially male physicians, have died in Italy caring for the sick so we need to all pay tribute to their

energetic Hellenic professional women. Last year I was especially honored to be named woman of the year by AGAPW and I applaud their continued support of female Greek American students with scholarships. You are also an outspoken proponent of Hellenism and a proud Hellene. Are there any other issues affecting Greece and its future that you would like to address? Thank you for this important question. First of all, I am very impressed with the government response in Greece towards the Covid-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Mitsotakis has demonstrated impressive maturity implementing early effective measures with the “Meno sto Spiti” (I stay home) campaign and instituting more testing in the population that we have been able to achieve in the USA. For small Greece with limited resources this is impressive. I am very concerned however with the migrant crisis in Greece and the developments in Evros, as well as the important issue of the migrants in Chios, Samos and Lesbos. I have been outraged with the biased media coverage in the US and around the world and the lack of accurate reporting of Turkey’s oppressive actions against Greece and especially Erdogan’s irrational rhetoric. I proudly attended the Astoria rally in early March organized by the newly formed Migrant Crisis Northern Aegean Alliance to educate the media, politicians and public about the Greek border crisis and was really moved and impressed by the ability of the young generation, especially the youth from Chios who played an important role in organizing the successful rally. I also applaud HALC and AHEPA in their efforts to mobilize action here in the US with their lobby efforts. Stella proudly attended Migrant Crisis Rally organized by Norther Aegean Alliance on the eve of coronavirus

order to minimize unnecessary exposure to Society of NY and have served as Vice COVID-19 when they need medical care. President and was founder of the Mary Kalopothakes Distinguished Women in I am especially concerned that the elderly and Medicine Award, which gave its first award in people without computer access may be 2011, that actually NEO magazine covered locked out soon from accessing medical care when we had our first conference at Memorial because of the increasing spread of the virus Sloan Kettering. I was very grateful to the but am hopeful that as a community we can HMS Board for embracing this proposal to outreach and support each other through this recognize the contributions of Hellenic crisis and look out for one another. Hellenic women in science and medicine. This year we community organizations and parishes can awarded Dr. Antonia Ann Kolokathis who is play an important role here to contact their an exceptional infectious disease physician members and friends and especially the with a long career in the pharmaceutical elderly to see if they need assistance, industry. Although we have to postpone the medication refills and help to coordinate actual award ceremony scheduled for April, she has been active in educating the Hellenic virtual medical care. community on the pandemic crisis so I Let's switch gears now. As a woman proud of recommend her advice on Hellas FM her Greek heritage, what are some of the broadcasts in Greek. Hellenic organizations you are involved I have also supported the HPW and AGAPW with? organizations and enjoy the camaraderie of I am a proud member of the Hellenic Medical being in the company of inspiring and

I cannot hide the fact that I was a little disappointed with the majority of the large professional and international Hellenic organizations and feel that we are not poised to take organized action when needed. March of course has been a challenging month to say the least as coronavirus has now dominated all aspects of our existence, however we need to urgently organize efforts to support Greece and unite as one voice against the current crisis facing Greece at the border and with the migrants, especially given the unsanitary dwellings at the Aegean islands. The threat from Turkey is continuing despite the pandemic global freeze and Erdogan is a master manipulator of other countries and of the media. I hope that as Greek Americans we can better use all our resources to create an effective effort to stand up for Greece, whether we are children of the Greek diaspora or Greeks by citizenship. The Turkish threat and challenge of the migrants will not go away even as we face this pandemic. I hope that as a Greek community here in NYC we organize and become better prepared to assist Greece when called on to help from afar.


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Sotirios Voulgaris: the Greek behind Bulgari jewellery shop. However, the city's heavy crime scene posed a major pro b l e m f or t h e i r v a lu a b l e m e rc h an d i s e . A f t e r s e ve r a l burglaries they were forced to close.

Sotirios Voulgaris (1857-1932) was the Greek creator of Bulgari, one of the world's most famous jewelery brands today. Born in the Greek village of Kalarites in March of 1857, Sotirios began his career as a jeweller in his home town of Paramythia (Epirus, Greece). His parents were George Voulgaris and Eleni Strougari.

After Giorgio's death in 1966, his son Gianni led the company as co-chief executive with his cousin Marina, chairman and CEO of Bulgari in the early 1970s. Around the same time, Bulgari opened its first international locations in New York City, Paris, Geneva, and Monte Carlo.

Of the eleven children of the family, Sotiris Voulgaris was the only one who survived and managed to continue the family tradition. The passion with jewellery started with his grandfather Constantine, who was a street vendor in the villages of Epirus. The talent to create gold and silver jewel was inherited by Sotiris, who along with his father opened a I n 1 9 9 5 , t h e shop in Paramythia. company was listed on the Borsa Italiana. At that time, Paramythia and other villages in The company had a the region were facing problems from the 1 5 0 % r e v e n u e Ottoman authorities that still occupied g r o w t h b e t w e e n Epirus. Repeated burnings of the village and 1997 and 2003. serious damage to the shop forced the Bulgari family to move to Corfu and then to Naples, On March 6, 2011 Italy. the French luxury group Louis Vitton In Naples, the family opened their first gold MARCH 2020


Moreover, the Bulgari family sold their 50.4%

In 1881, Sotirios Voulgaris and his family moved to Rome. Three years later, in 1884, he founded his company and opened his second shop in Via Sistina. The store in Via Sistina was then replaced by the current flagship store in Via dei Condotti opened in 1905 by Bulgari with the help of his two sons, Constantino (1889–1973) and Giorgio (1890–1966).

In 1984, Sotirio's grandsons Paolo and Nicola Bulgari were named Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the company and nephew Francesco Trapani was named CEO. Trapani's goal to diversify the company was started in the early 1990s with the release of the Bulgari perfume line. Under Francesco's direction the company has established itself as a luxury goods brand r e c o g n i z e d throughout the world.


announced that it was acquiring Bulgari in a lucrative deal for €4.3 billion ($6.01 billion), higher than LV had ever offered for any other company.

controlling share in exchange for 3% of LVMH, thus making the Bulgari family the second-biggest family shareholder behind the Arnaults in LVMH. This story was first published in

THE REVOLUTION by Dimitri C. Michalakis His wife and his son stood apart at the railing of the ship while he stood back and smoked along with the old man with the hairy arms and striped shirt and the one gold tooth where the smoke seemed to gush out like steam.

business,” he had promised her. And she had smiled agreeably. But his son did pack most of his video games and he played them relentlessly on the plane and even in the cab in Athens that brought “How are you?” the old man said and nodded them to the ferry for Chios, and, of course, the at him. hours during the voyage. He nodded back at him. “You can put them away for now,” his mother “Good,” he told the old man. told him as the ship reached Chios at dawn. They smoked together and watched the ship And the boy did as his mother said: if his father gliding through the dawn into port. had told him he would have shied away from him the whole trip. “Are you from Chios?” the old man said politely, with smoke gushing out of his When the ship finally docked, the old man nostrils. with the hairy arms gestured a goodbye to him and the family, and then swaggered across the “I was born here,” he told him. ramp of the ferry and disappeared into the The old man nodded, smiled, gushed more streets. His wife stood with both hands on her smoke through his nostrils, then chucked his son and waited for him to guide them. He looked up and down the line of shops, all of cigarette into the sea. them still closed, but then he spotted the sign “What do you do?” the old man asked. “If you of the rental car place, where the men were don’t mind me asking?” already sitting outside at the tables, and one of them was hosing down the sidewalk, and he “I’m an economist,” he told him. told his wife to wait with his son by the luggage “Oh, very good,” the old man said and rubbed while he walked down the length of the dock his fingers together. “Money?” to the rental car office. He nodded. “Yes, money,” he said. He avoided the man hosing down the sidewalk The old man nodded again, and together they and nodded at the men sitting at the tables, watched the ship edge into the harbor past the one of them flipping a string of worry beads two blinking harbor lights. His son stared at with black and white beads and silver filigree. them more than he stared at the island just “Kalimera,” he said to them. beyond, the houses and trees looking like miniatures, the streets wrapped in a gauzy “Kalimera,” they all said to him in unison. morning light, the scooters with the boxes They all stared at him as he walked into the strapped to their backs scuttling like bugs “office” of the rental car place, a big empty suddenly exposed to the light. room with cardboard boxes on the floor, and He nodded at the old man once more, the old he stood staring at the walls, until a woman man nodded at him, and then he walked over stumbled in barefoot and slipped into her flip to his wife and son and they all looked over the flops. gray and brown bulk of the island, like some “Kalimera!” he said to her a little too eagerly shaggy beast, except his son was looking down with his newfound Greek. the side of the ship more at the flicker of the “Malista,” she said to him pleasantly. And then water. she talked a blizzard of Greek to the man with “That’s where I took the ship long ago and I the hose and said to him again--“He would be came to America,” he told his son, pointing at coming--” in English, before she disappeared the dock. out the same door. His son squinted in that direction, but then And while he waited for the one who “would looked down at the water again. be coming” he stared at the framed print on His wife kept her two hands resting on the the floor against one of the walls that showed a boy’s shoulders and smiled at nothing in hero of the Greek revolution: a typical hero particular, because she was not from the island with a flaring mustache, pillbox hat, braid over and had never been to Greece. This was a one shoulder, fluffy white shirt and brocaded business trip for him to sell his grandparents’ vest, and, of course, all the pistols and sabers in farm before the government claimed it, and his belt. If his son were there he would have for him to see it one more time, before they shown it to him: You see that? That’s what I took the accustomed tour of Mykonos and dressed as during the March 25 celebration at school every year. I wore all that—except I had Santorini and Athens. cowboy pistols and a sword made of wood that “We’re just staying in Chios until I finish my 20

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I painted silver! He smiled thinking about it, but his son would probably just stare at him: his son went to a suburban school far from the Greek church and the Greek school he himself had once attended: the building of the Greek school was now being rented out to a charter school. “Hello, hello,” the man with the hose came tumbling into the room and slipped into his sandals. “You want car?” he said to him in English. They rented a Hyundai, it seems the only automatic on the island, and they cruised by all the little stores that were now opening in the flare of the morning sunlight, and they whisked by the old horse trough and vrisi the Turks had once erected and which still had Turkish characters on it faded with age like an old sugar cube. “You see that?” he told his son as they sailed by. “It’s been used for almost two hundred years: only the Turks were allowed to use it.” His son stared ahead: his wife smiled into the sunlight. “And you see the kastro?” he told his son as the old Byzantine castle floated by with its crenelated walls. “First the Byzantines built it, and then the Genoese. And then the Turks took over—and that’s where they killed the leading citizens.” His wife smiled at him, reproachfully, because now his son’s eyes were twice as large now. “Only the Greeks won the war,” he reassured the boy. But the boy’s mouth was still hanging open. When they got to his grandparent’s house, long abandoned, the blue-washed walls were still there, the gate was still green, the silver Egyptian door knocker was still silver and hanging from the front door, and the old olive tins still lined the taratsa, except they were hollow and empty and without his grandmother’s flowers in them that always perfumed the night air. He shoved open the front door of the house and looked inside, but the floor beams had rotted, the walls had moulted, his grandmother’s bed that doubled as a couch had no mattress and just springs. His wife stood behind with his son. “I haven’t seen this place in forever,” he said. “Has it changed a little bit?” she said to him sympathetically, or ironically. No chickens were clucking this time as they left the house and walked down the road to the neighbor’s house, still drenched in shade, still

spilling over with flowers and plants in the garden drenched in sunlight, as he always remembered it. He opened the blue gate, the same old blue gate, he walked down the broad steps that led to the house with the timbers holding up the taratsa and creating shade, and he stood on the flagstones and tried to remember where the door was—when he was a kid he used to walk into the house like it was his own.

“Stop scaring the boy!” Polixeni said finally, passing around the bowl of cubed cantaloupe. “Talk about something nice!” “…When you walk into the pareklisi you see footprints on the floor,” Panteli told the boy, his fingers spreading wide, and his eyes growing wider. “From the Turks walking in Greek blood…”

His wife smiled. “Especially the fishermen,” she said. “Fisherman had to be very brave.” He smiled at his wife, she smiled back at him, and they both smiled at the boy, who opened up his book and almost ignored his ice cream when the waiter brought it over from across the street.

And after they finished their ice cream they His wife gave him a shove, but Panteli nodded walked into the park through the aroma of the solemnly, and then he speared a cube of flowers, and they stood in front of the statue of And then a woman came out wiping her hands cantaloupe and stuck it in his mouth. on her apron: you couldn’t miss her curly hair Panteli gave the boy a picture book with a and her freckles. glossy cover, of Kanaris blowing up the “Is that you?!” she said to him in Greek. Turkish fleet with his fireship, and Polixeni gave him another picture book “Is that you!” he said to her in Greek. about ducks—“Because I work in a school After she hugged him and squeezed him, she with little kids, kaimeno mou, and that’s finished wiping her hands on her apron and all I have to give you!”--before they took a she clapped up the steps in her slippers and cab back to the town and their hotel, the went to hug his son and then to formally kiss cab sailing past the kastro again looming his wife on both cheeks. in the sky with its turrets showing like jagged teeth, and past the Turkish horse “Elate, elate, elate!” she told them, clapping fountain and trough like a big cube of down the steps again. sugar, and as the car crossed the square his Her name was Polixeni and she was married to wife noticed the ice cream store across Panteli, the boy with the buck teeth who used from the municipal park that was still to come out of his house in the morning open and whose light was spilling into the singing, and who used to tell them tall tales square. that nobody believed, but they liked him, anyway, because his stories were so funny and “You want some ice cream?” she asked his singing was like everybody’s morning their son. radio alarm. Only now he was a chiropractor The cab dropped them off and they sat at and also ran a pharmacy. one of the outdoor tables in the square and watched the cars floating past them out of “You know your father was my best friend!” he the night, like moths around a flame, but told the boy. he noticed the boy kept looking at the They played together like all the kids in the book and then looking at the statue of Kanaris at the entrance to the park. neighborhood. “If I didn’t see him in the morning and he “That’s the same guy,” he told his son. didn’t see me we thought something was The boy looked from one to the other: he wrong!” Panteli told the boy. held the book like a tablet on his lap. And sometimes you didn’t want to see Panteli in the morning because he was always singing “Who was he?” he asked his father. in your ear. They ordered their ice cream from the waiter who bounded across the street “We used to kill sfikes together,” he said. through the traffic, and then bounded That was true: they used to poke the wasp nest back again. and then go running as the wasps came out with their wings buzzing and their stingers “He was a fisherman,” his mother told him. out. “And what I didn’t know about the Greek The boy looked from the statue to the The statue of Admiral and hero of revolution in Chios, your grandfather would book. Greek Independence Constantinos tell me!” he told the boy. “And what did we find “So why did he blow up the ship?” he Kanaris in Chios in the river?” he turned to him suddenly. asked his father. “What did we find…?” he said and thought “Because the Turks had captured the about it. “We found a Turkish saber once.” island and he wanted to free the island,” he told Kanaris, holding his rope of fire and ready to fling it. “Hooked like this!” said Panteli to the boy the boy. again, and he made a hook with his finger. The boy stared at his mother, and then at him “Was he really that big?” the boy said. “And what else did we find…?” he asked him again. “Bigger,” his mother said. again. “But he was a fisherman,” he told his father. “Almost as big as you,” his father told him and “Some buttons…” he thought about it and smiled. “But he was also a brave man,” he told his son. replied. And the boy reached out for his hand, and they “So where was the army?” the boy said. “Military buttons!” said Panteli to the boy. walked through the park together holding “From a Turkish uniform! And when you go “That was the army,” he told him. “You, and hands, while the boy looked back at the statue into the pareklisi…?” he asked him again in me, and everybody else was the army. We of Kanaris, and they also passed the Turkish English this time. helped to make Greece free. Even the horse fountain. fishermen.” NEWS & NOTES

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Shall we sign up the kids for a Greek Language Summer Camp this year? part in a Summer Camp have the chance to use all their senses and muscles and spend a few weeks in the summer being fit and active in a very physical way. Who knows? Maybe this will inspire some of them to stay active in winter as well.

When you think it is not even spring yet, summer feels quite distant. However, it is never too early to start thinking about summer plans. Especially those of us who have to arrange long and expensive flights for the whole family. And it is definitely never too early to start thinking about signing your kids up to a Greek Language Summer Camp. For those of you who are still in doubt here are just a few of the numerous benefits that our program at the Greek LOL (Lessons OnLine) Summer Camp offers to children. Friendships and Social Skills Talk to any of the children who participated in the Greek LOL Summer Camp last year and while some of them will talk about horse riding and how much they loved a lot of the activities they did there, all of them will mention the Greek friends they made and the bonds they created. It may seem scary at first and quite a few kids find the first days at the Camp challenging. However, within a couple of days kids take social risks by approaching and making new friends. In this way, they become more independent and they get a great self-esteem boost. Plus they go through a fun experience and make memories that b ond them with their new friends for life. Fitness and Health

Authentic Language Learning Opportunities The aim of any respectful Language Summer Camp is to provide students with the opportunity to produce and hear instances of authentic language. In this way, a language camp experience like the Greek LOL Summer

Learn Greek in Nature When was the last time your children spent a day of learning in nature? A summer experience like the Greek LOL Summer Camps, gives the chance to kids who spend most of their year in front of screens to spend a few days closer to nature. And while Camp means that your children will be speaking or hearing Greek all day. In class but most importantly out of class. They will hear authentic dialogues between native Greeks, they will have to express themselves in Greek to ask for something, they will play in Greek with native Greek children and by the end of their stay they will we do love our computer screens a break is be more confident with spoken Greek than always beneficial in order to show kids that you could ever imagine! they can have a good time without their favorite computer game. Especially when this So shall we sign up the kids for the Greek LOL Summer Camp this year? It might seem like a decision that has its challenges, however it also seems like you won’t regret it and they will never forget it. Try getting in their place for a second… Wouldn’t you love it if you could as a child spend some days away from home, in a place that is designed to show kids an amazing time while keeping them safe and supervised, making friends from Greece and all over the world and participating in sports and activities while waking up close to nature every day? It sounds like the perfect chance for an unforgettable summer in Greece.

Do not get us wrong, we d o l ove te ch nol o g y ! Technology is great, it makes our lives easier and simpler. However, kids nowadays do spend a lot of time physically inactive. A summer camp For more information their website is is the perfect way to good time means learning Greek in a natural awaken your child’s craving for physical paradise designed to show kids the time of activity. Through activities that feel like movie their lives. adventures like treasure hunts, kids who take 22

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Calithea: The Evolution of Skin Care

aging life. I finally found the perfect skin mate. I was very excited to receive my first shipment of Calithea products, and they came just in time for the holidays. I tore through the box like a little girl in a candy store. Could this be the key to a new beauty regimen? The first thing I noticed was the packaging. It was attractive and highlighted the unique benefits of each product. Each soap was made of 100% pure olive oil or included additional

by Athena Efter With so many oils out there touted as being good for you, Greeks has always known that olive oil is a tried and true elixir of health benefits and a valuable serum of beauty. Yes, beauty. Greeks have been making soap out of it for years, and over the years have expanded the olive oil beauty regimen to include moisturizers, cleansers, toners, and hair products. I will admit that I have tried some of these soap products in the past and was not enthusiastic with them. The soap felt more like a piece of cardboard, lacking in fragrance and

sufficient lather. There was no doubt in my mind that it was anything but what the packaging said it was – 100% pure olive oil soap. If it’s going to feel and smell this bad, it has to be good for you, right? I never could get used to it, no matter how good it was for my skin, so I went back to regular soap – the kind that was full of dyes, chemicals, and fragrances. They leave a thick layer of film on your skin and clog your pores, no matter how hard your rinse, but still they smell good and lather you up into a spin cycle full of dirty laundry. Soap was soap and there was nothing to be questioned. I’ve been doing it all wrong – everything – from the type of soap I use for cleansing to the type of moisturizer I use to protect my sensitive skin. As a woman with fussy skin, I have tried expensive products and natural products masquerading as snake oils. Maybe I haven’t tried the right one. I am still trying, seeking and searching the perfect moisturizer – the one that won’t clog my pores, make me break out, or leave a greasy layer of caked-on residue that just sits there. That’s what we call a deadbeat moisturizer. Finding the right product for your skin type – the one that will complement your skin perfectly - is like finding a partner for life. Once you find it, you wear it like a second skin that breathes with you, walks with you, and never fails you throughout your 24

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moistu rizing a n d exfolia t i ng benefit s, like shea butter and oatmeal, and donkey milk. I tried the soap, expecting to experience that familiar cardboard texture of barely there lather that had disappointed me with other olive oil soaps. To my surprise it lathered up quite nicely, not too much and not too little, which really made me feel clean without feeling filmy, and was fragrant without being f rag rance d. It was moistur izing and absorbing, leaving my skin feeling soft and cleansed. Then I tried the moisturizing facial cleanser, made up of olive oil and babassu oil (an Amazonian superfruit) and infused with aloe vera and linden extracts. It gently cleansed my skin without drying it out. I followed the face cleansing routine with Calithea’s refreshing organic olive oil toner made with plant extracts and designed to balance your skins’ pH levels, which can get stripped from the harsh effects of tap water. It was cool, refreshing, and nurturing to my sensitive skin.

The real stand-out product was Calithea’s olive oil day moisturizer made with aloe vera, prickly pear, carob, and honey. I was a bit skeptical at first. I have been searching for the perfect moisturizer, and haven’t had much luck with the ones I have tried. This came as very pleasant surprise, almost like a miracle treatment. It glided on like satin, was immediately absorbed by my skin, and left absolutely no residue of flakes, film or grease. This was as perfect as a moisturizer gets, at least, for me. It’s the type of moisturizer that agrees with all skin types and feels like a second skin – baby soft skin. It really is an “evolution of skincare”, evolving from a Greek grandmother’s kitchen straight to her granddaughter’s curiosity. Elena Kazas, the founder of the Calithea skincare line, was always fascinated by her grandmother’s beauty and radiant skin. At her overnight stays, she obser ved her grandmother doing something unusual before bedtime. She would take olive oil and apply it to her face. Elena’s grandmother knew that the key to glowing skin is not only what you eat, but also what you wear. Upon observing her grandmother’s nightly beauty routine, she started experimenting with homemade face packs and skin care treatments at home, using all natural i ng re d i e nt s . Wit h t h e h e lp of h e r entrepreneurial father and a partnership with a chemist in Greece, Elena decided to launch her line of beauty products devoted to olive oil,

the holy serum of Greek remedies. Her products are free of parabens, silicones, propylene glycol, paraffin oil, allergens, p ht h a l at e s , s y nt h e t i c d y e s , a l c o h o l , ethanolamine and GMOs. Deriving its name from the Greek word meaning “beautiful view”, Calithea can literally be translated into “beautiful goddess”. The result is a vista into clean beauty you can see and feel. So why not just dab olive oil instead all over your face and save yourself a few bucks? Well, for one thing it’s greasier. I certainly don’t want to walk around with a can of olive oil on my face during the day, but if it’s blended with other natural ingredients that turn it into a perfect moisturizer that brings me great results, I’m willing to sign up for my shipment of Calithea’s olive oil day moisturizer delivered straight to my door. The olive oil body lotion was equally “skinsational”, and in these winter months replenishing lost moisture is the key to keeping your skin feeling hydrated and soft. I can confidently say I found an agreeable line of has a personal connection to the hospital, after skincare to help me feel my goddess best. her youngest brother received treatment there. Calithea Products can be found in two Markets Districts, part of the Giant Eagle Elena continues to expand her line of skincare stores, a local grosser in western PA, but for and research new options for products that those of us who don’t live in Pennsylvania, we can be added to her skin wellness collection. c a n j u s t v i s i t t h e i r w e b s i t e a t It’s all part of her commitment to the evolution, click on our favorite of skincare – from grandma’s secret in the product, and have it delivered straight to our cupboard to a product that breathes new life door. $1 dollar of every purchase gets donated into dull, tireless skin to keep it fresh, to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Elena hydrated, and vibrant all year round.

Association, Senator Raptakis is involved in a number of causes that affect and benefit Hellenic-Americans and Hellenes worldwide. He actively supported an agreement signed between the State University of New York and the National Marine Merchant Academy of Hydra that would promote student exchange between both institutions and the planning of a NY Memorial that honors Greek sailors for their contributions to the victory of WWII.

Rhode Island State Senator Lou Raptakis

Doing What’s Right and Getting it Done:

by Athena Efter

He continues to be a strong proponent for economic growth in Greece and opportunity for Greek citizens. He also played a pivotal role in helping Greeks with Greek citizenship living abroad vote in the Greek elections. In his dedication to Hellenism, he continues to be a strong proponent for economic growth in Greece and increased opportunity for Greek citizens. Most importantly, and opportunely at this time, he has been proactively involved in creating dialogue between the United States and Greece to enforce stronger sanctions on Turkey’s current regime for acts of continuous aggression and provocation toward Greece. W h i l e understanding the US and Greece’s history of opening its doors to immigrants and refugees, he also understands that regulations must be put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all citizens. As tensions escalate with the refugee crisis and Turkey’s violation of its agreement with the EU to control illegal immigration, his voice and that of other elected officials is needed now more than ever. In NEO’s interview with him, Senator Raptakis shares his thoughts in his own words:

SENATOR RAPTAKIS Applies a Common Sense Approach to Government Rhode Island State Senator Lou (Leonidas) Raptakis has a motto Lou of “no one’s voice but ours”, earning him popularity as an outspoken advocate for being a man of his word when it comes to effective government. A resident of Coventry, Rhode Island, he’s never been afraid to stand up for what’s right and get things done in the communities he serves. In 1996 he became the first Greek-American State Representative to be elected in Rhode Island, defeating a six-term incumbent by a 2-1 margin. Prior to that, he served two terms in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, where he brought forth into law several key elements of legislation. In his tenure as Rhode Island State Senator, which started in 2002, followed by a run for Rhode Island Secretary of State, which he lost in the primary election in 2010, he continued to remain active in state politics, spearheading a successful initiative to help restaurants in a struggling economy be spared an unfavorable meal tax that would hurt businesses. In 2012, he earned a great victory in the Democratic Party and general election, with 62% of the vote to get him back into the State Senate in 2014, and again in 2016. Having a reputation as a no-nonsense senator, he has been tough on crime. Among his accomplishments were the creation of a crime bill that increased the time served for murderers before they could be eligible for parole, the first anti-car jacking law that would


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impose mandatory prison sentences, and a bill that would ensure no child was left alone in a car. He also pushed for tougher state drunkdriving laws, which would hone in on repeat offenders, fought for government reforms on business regulations, and introduced Rhode Island’s “Patients’ Bill of Rights”. He is a strong advocate for freedom of choice to reduce prescription costs and for Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Elderly (RIPAE) that would increase Medicare reimbursement for seniors who are on HMO plans. His work to advocate for economic security prompted him to promote a Minimum Wage Bill that would allow for steady increases each year and gave businesses more planning time for gradual increases. His support of the “phase-out auto tax plan” was an effort to put money back into taxpayer pockets. Ap a r t f r o m h i s c o m m i t m e nt t o t h e constituency he serves in his home state, Senator Raptakis continuously strives to be t h e voi c e of t h e He l l e n i c - A m e r i c an community. As a Greek-American, and the son of Greek immigrants from the island of Andros, he has been a strong advocate and supporter of Greece and Cyprus. In December 1998, along with other elected officials, he formed the “Hellenic American Coalition of New England” to be a united voice for congress on issues that affect Greece and Cyprus. A long-standing member of the Wor l d He l l e n i c Int e r- Par l i am e nt ar y

What made you decide to go into politics? Is that something you always wanted to do? As a small business owner, I felt it was important to have someone representing our community and being a voice in the State House who understood the challenges of meeting a payroll and trying to deal with the complex web of local, state and federal taxes and regulations that businesses have to deal with. I just thought someone had to help bring that perspective to the legislature, and waiting for someone else to do it didn’t seem like a good option. What are some of the issues affecting your state that you would like to see effectively change? Over the years, I’ve tried to be a voice for good government, to fight for public access to information and to battle the perception that Rhode Island is a place where “you’ve gotta know a guy” to get things done. Government should be open and accessible to the people it serves—they shouldn’t feel isolated or feel like roadblocks are in their way to be heard. You have a very strong stance on Turkey and

imposing tougher sanctions. What does the in Greece and the current administration? issue with Turkey mean to you, firstly as an American, and secondly as a Greek- As Greece begins the process of slowly exiting American? the economic crisis, which devastated many Greek families across the country, American As a Greek-American elected official, I’ve companies are investing in Greece such as the always felt it was important to be a voice n LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, Onex on these issues. Because of t h e where I came from, I had an island understanding of what of Syros Turkey did in regard to a n d Cyprus and how some of the Moheg Tu r k i s h g o v e r n m e n t’s a n policies are directly Gamin opposed to the United g and States’ commitment to Enterta promote freedom and inment demo crac y around the a t g l o b e . T h e Tu r k i s h Helleni Lou Raptakis with wife government spends a great k o n . Donna Maria and children deal of money trying to T h e Alexandra-Marie and Nicholas influence American current opinion, whether through Admini lobbying efforts or efforts to stration endow academic chairs that and the promote their viewpoint. How do you counter Hellenic Parliament have work together to that? As a Greek-American, I feel an continue and encourage foreign investment in obligation to speak out, to counter those Greece while reducing years of bureaucratic efforts by sharing what I know and speaking impediments. up for the Greek community. Greece and A m e r i c a h a v e a l w a y s h a d a s t r o n g Where do you see the US five years from now? relationship, and we need to work to maintain A r e w e h e a d e d t o w a r d s a d e c l i n e that and let our voices be heard. economically or a resurgence of economic strength that will benefit both the US and its What are your thoughts on the economic crisis power in a global economy?

I think we’re seeing a global attempt by Russia to promote chaos and undermine America as a means of strengthening their own position. Supporting various nationalist movements has been an effective power play for Vladimir Putin, undermining the strength of Western governments, disrupting the NATO alliance and essentially telling the world that democracy is not an effective way to govern. The United States needs to aggressively counter that by defending the integrity of our election and not falling into the trap of engaging in isolationism and withdrawing from our role as an honest broker when it comes to promoting democracy. What are your long-term plans? Any chance you’ll make a run at it for Congress or the US Senate? Because the State of Rhode Island has two US Senate seats and only two congressional seats with the possibility of losing one of those seats, because of the census and population shifts in the United States, it would become highly competitive to become successful in representing RI in congress. Currently I am honored, and being successful on working with my Federal colleagues in government on issues of concern between Cyprus, Greece and the United States.

in order that we witness to the gospel on an ever-increasing outreach to the world,” underlined that “the subject of female pres ence and of D e aconess es in t he ecclesiastical life, in the ministry of love, in worship, even in priesthood, certainly touches the Truth…and requires a multilevel approach with knowledge and pastoral and spiritual sensitivity. This Symposium can contribute to a fuller knowledge of the subject and can propose ways and solutions to the Orthodox Church.”


Chosen as logo of the symposium was the mosaic at the junction of St. Sophia Cathedral of Kiev, depicting the Theotokos in a praying (orans) position, neither in the usual Christbearing one nor in that of the ancient Deisis (Pamakaristos, New Skete, etc), and most importantly dressed in clerical liturgical vestments (with mittens/επιμάνικα) having in her belt the lention of diaconia. Quite significant for the symposium was the time of the mosaic, probably after the 12th century, i.e. from the period when the institution of deaconesses had virtually fallen into disuse, even in the Eastern Christian world!

The papers presented in the symposium came from almost all the Orthodox traditions: Greek, African, Arabic, Russian, Bulgarian, an Orthodox Institution Untheologically Blocked Georgian and Ukrainian, as well as from women theologians of the Orthodox diaspora (UK, USA). However, they also covered other by Petros Vassiliadis Bartholomew underlined that “the church has Christian traditions: Roman Catholic, Greek never ceased to encourage women to Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Evangelical. At the initiative for the Center of Ecumenical, p a r t i c i p a t e i n v a r i o u s a r e a s o f h e r Missiological and Environmental Studies multidimensional work and to seek new The necessity of an immediate restoration of “Metropolitan Penteleimon Papageorgiou” opportunities and ways of their effective the order of deaconesses, the history of the (CEMES), an international scientific contribution to the life of the Church,” decision to hold the symposium at this symposium on “Deaconesses: Past-Present- believing “that the effort to rekindle the order particular moment, as well as its expectations, Future” was organized in Thessaloniki at the of deaconesses must continue, given that even were presented at the opening session. The International Hellenic University (IHU), to since the time of the Apostles, the deaconesses first and primary reason for convening the which its Inter-Orthodox English-speaking have greatly contributed to the up building of symposium was to encourage the traditional Po s t - g r a d u a t e P r o g r a m “O r t h o d o x the faithful, highly honored by them. And this, access of women to the sacramental “diaconal” Ecumenical Theology” belongs. In addition to despite the fact that at times the institution of priesthood. ΙΗU, four other institutions were registered as the ordained deaconesses diminished, though co-organizers: The Orthodox Christian it never formally abolished by the church.” Unlike the general issue and demand for Studies Center of Fordham University, St. Deaconesses had a “sacramental diaconal women ordination into episcopacy and the Philaret’s Christian Orthodox Institute of priesthood.” “hierurgic” priesthood, the symposium aimed Moscow, the Orthodox Academy of Crete, and at highlighting the diaconal character of the Saint Phoebe Center of Deaconess. Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros wrote: “It Christian faith and not the redistribution of is an honor and a special blessing the power within the Church. As Prof. Dn. John The symposium focused on the Rejuvenation or g an i z at i on of t h i s Sy mp o s iu m on Chryssavgis underlined, we should perceive of the Order of Deaconesses with a multi-layer ‘Deaconesses. Past-Present-Future’…It is also and practice “the diaconal ministry not as a (biblical, liturgical, patristic, archeological, a great honor to the Apostolic Throne of Saint stepping-stone to t he pr iest ho o d or canonical, theological, and historical) Mark, because this Symposium is aiming in episcopate, but as a symbol of the vocation of analysis, but also with a critical theological assisting, by biblical, liturgical, patristic, every Christian (male and female) to serve. It assessment of the recent developments in the archaeological, canonical, theological and is (he is convinced) today more than ever Orthodox and other churches. historical arguments, the Synodical decision before, harder to be a deacon in the Orthodox of the Patriarchate of Alexandria (2017) for Church than it is to be a priest or a bishop. Extremely encouraging were the Messages the revival of the most ancient institution of Unfortunately, centuries of hardened sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch, the the Deaconesses,” a decision that met with a clericalism, ecclesiastical illiteracy, and Patriarch of Alexandria, and the Archbishop “variety of reactions from those who pretend blatant disregard for the diaconate have of Athens. to have zeal, but without knowledge and rendered it almost impossible for people in awareness.” our church—clergy and laity—to appreciate E x p r e s s i n g h i s “s p e c i a l j o y ” a n d how the diaconate should inform every aspect wholeheartedly extending his congratulations F i n a l l y, t h e A r c h b i s h o p o f At h e n s o f p a s t o r a l l e a d e r s h i p a n d c h u r c h “both to those who are responsible for Hieronymos, congratulating the organizers ministry.…If we do not understand the organizing this important symposium, as well and wishing “our Lord Jesus Christ to diaconia, we cannot understand the other as to all its participants,” Ecumenical Patriarch abundantly bless the work of the Symposium, ranks of priesthood…even the role of the laity 28

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by Melina Giannakouli in the Church…The authentic image of the Church that we should be seeking—in our minds as in our ministry—is that of a dinner table, not that of a corporate ladder. The Church is not a pyramid, where all attention and authority are turned toward the summit. Instead, we should imagine the Church as a sacrament, where the primary and essential focus is the celebration of the Eucharist.” Along with the diaconal dimension of the authentic witness of the Church of Christ, equally important is the moral responsibility of the body of Christ for women, their role and ministry both in society and in all the manifestations of ecclesiastical life: royal, priestly, prophetic (in other words, governance, liturgy, mission). The symposium addressed the various reactions, not only the Patriarchate of Alexandria’s synodical decision, but to all previous attempts (by St. Nektarios, the School of Deaconesses in Greece, etc.), all of which are wrongly accused of alien (non-Orthodox, modernist, ecumenical, etc.) motivations. It also addressed the developments at a scientific level, especially in biblical, but also in patristic, scholarship, taking also into consideration the high-level dialogue that is being quite recently pursued within the Roman Catholic Church. The symposium was based on the authentic Tradition and not the later traditions of the second millennium. And beyond this necessary distinction (which officially the Orthodox Church has adopted, namely the preeminence of the Apostolic Tradition, just adding that she is its authentic bearer and custodian), modern theological scholarship has advanced an equally important distinction that concerned the symposium: that of the authentic but latent tradition, and that which was historically formed. Except for extreme cases, Orthodox women are never entrusted, as in the Early Church, with leading roles in t h e C h u r c h’s m i n i s t r y, t h e o n l y e x c e p t i o n being—especially in the East—the order of deaconesses. The gender ambivalence of ritual is revealed by the dichotomy between theology and practice. While the Orthodox liturgy includes female saint veneration and reputes the Theotokos as “more honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim”—that is above the world of the celestial beings—down on earth women are excluded from joining the superior clergy to the rank of deaconesses. The Old Testament, of course, exemplifies patriarchal bias in many ways, notably in the metaphor of woman coming out of man (Gen 1:22). It is inescapable, however, that this was corrected in the New Testament, by the explicit Pauline statement that “when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4). God becoming incarnate “from a woman” is a reversal of woman “coming out of man.” *Petros Vassiliadis is Director of the Masters Program in Orthodox Ecumenical Theology (MOET) at the International Hellenic University. This story was first published in Public Orthodoxy seeks to promote conversation by providing a forum for diverse perspectives on contemporary issues related to Orthodox Christianity. The positions expressed in this essay are solely the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.

A Greek Student on School Shootings in the US

Many times, I see myself asking why something happens. We always hear the phrase “it happens for a reason” but many t i me s I f i nd my s el f questioning my own belief in this statement. Whenever something bad happens, from the smallest issue like fighting with your siblings about food, to the most serious like abuse, we always question this statement or ask ourselves why me, why this, why! When I was at the age of 6, I was always tol d ab out go o d and e v i l and whenever something awful would happen, I would always say “why mom? Why did this have to happen? Why do so many people die, why are people afraid to express their feelings, WHY?” I’ve come to the realization that nobody can feel what you feel, as hard as they may try to put themselves into your shoes. This is due to each individual's own experience, based on what you have lived through form your own scale of worst and best experiences. For someone else, you worst problem or memory may seem not as serious but that doesn’t mean it is nothing. Lately, I have been watching the news and keep on being updated on what is happening in the world. About a month ago, in my English lesson we watched an ad about “Sandy Hooks Promise ‘Back to School’”. The video was so vivid. For anyone who has not seen it, it takes place in a school and there are several scenes where kids show what their parents got them for going back to school. However, what is different about this advertisement is the purpose of these items. They showed how these items would be useful in case of a school shooter showing up again. For example, two girls are sitting down and hiding from the school shooter who is depicted as a black figure in another hallway and one of the girl’s leg is wounded. The girl who isn’t wounded shows the audience, the new socks her parents bought her and then proceeded onto showing us, how to tie the socks around the leg of her classmate. The last scene which has affected me the most, was a girl sitting in a bathroom stall, crying, showing us her new phone which her mother bought her, and the “I love you mom” messaged she texted her. Then the stall door opens and the school shooter walks in and that is where the video ends.

While we were watching the video, we all started to cry and get emotional. More than anyone else, my teacher who is American started to tear up and had to excuse herself out of class. I can understand why she felt the need to leave the class and have a few minutes to herself. This is because incidents like that have become almost common place in the US. Here, in Greece where I live, we don’t experience such things and especially not in the extent that other countries do. For example, since 2009 for the past 10 years, there have b e e n 1 8 0 s ch o ol s h o ot i ng s i n America. To us this number seemed hude and that is because it is. It is very sickening the fact that for some people this is their daily life, the fear of another school shooter showing up again. In schools in America, we were told by our teachers that they did not only have a drill in case of an earthquake but also lock ins and lock outs. Hearing this broke my heart and made me realize that ofter times I forget about what’s happening in the world and I stay in my own little bubble where I am safe. It also made me realize that every day is meaningful and that you should make the most out of it. Hearing such news makes me be thankful and grateful. It reminded me to not forget to show affection love to the p eople I care ab out. Most importantly, by learning that there are still cases like that happening, I reminded myself to make my days as happy as they can be and try to be the best that I can be and try to give people as much as I possibly can. I wish that we could deal with all the problems facing this world, but this is impossible because we can't control everything. I wish from the bottom of my heart that nobody out there had to d e a l w it h i ssu e s l i ke t h at but unfortunately they happen. I know that it isn’t up to one person to change this world but we should pay attention to what happens around us and we should never forget to be grateful, hopeful and as happy as we can possibly be. * Melina Giannakouli is a student of IB2 at Pierce, The American College of Greece. NEWS & NOTES

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Alexander Billinis is a writer and lawyer in Chicago, Illinois. He and his family returned to the US after nearly a decade in Greece, the UK, and Serbia. He writes prolifically on Balkan topics. His books, The Eagle has Two Faces: Journeys through Byzantine Europe, and Hidden Mosaics: An Aegean Tale, are available from

hellenes without borders

(Benaki) family had many branches and its members Nicholas Benachi, Founder of could be found in business in places as diverse as India, the First Orthodox Church in the US Alexandria, Odessa, Trieste, and London. The growing American republic could On many occasions in this magazine I have not fail to get these Greeks’ attention, particularly focused on Greek communities in the Diaspora or the large river port moving massive amounts of interesting “Hellenes without Borders.” This commodities from the continent’s interior and month, I will do both. We will meet Nicholas Benachi, the founder of the first Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. While Greeks have spread far and wide in the United States, most of us instinctively guess that the oldest Greek communities must be in the North, and more specifically a city like New York or other usual suspects such as Chicago, Boston, or Philadelphia. The correct answer is New Orleans, where the first Orthodox Church was founded just after the Civil War, in 1864. A bit of history makes this more understandable. New Orleans in the middle of the nineteenth century was one of the busiest ports in America. Situated at the mouth of the Mississippi River, which effectively drained the whole center of the United States, New Orleans was the key hub on the country’s commercial highway prior to the railroads becoming ubiquitous.

Nicholas Benachi While we normally associate the Greek merchant fleet and diaspora more with the twentieth century and such celebrity tycoons as Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos, the truth is both shipowners were atypical parvenus rather than normative Greek shipping and merchant magnates. The Greek merchant and shipping traditions were hundreds of years old by the time Onassis and Niarchos emerged as its paparazzi darlings. Parts of Greece, particularly islands such as Chios or Cephalonia, or regions of Macedonia and Epirus, had a long tradition of commerce, either via ship or overland, and over the course of many generations had built up very successful, discreet merchant dynasties. Nicholas Benachi was born in Chios into one such extended commercial family. The Benachi 30

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Benachi House

multilingual, with priests who could conduct liturgy in Greek and Church Slavonic. A copy of the church charter from 1901 required chanting in Greek, Russian, and Syriac. Holy Trinity Church itself was a modest clapboard wooden building, described by the New Orleans Times Picayune as “a plain, unpretentious frame structure, similar to country churches in Louisiana.” This also fits the Diaspora pattern; often enough Diaspora Orthodox Churches conform to architectural norms of the host country, from the Renaissance style of San Giorgio in Venice to the Baroque of Greek and Serbian churches in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Beyond being a benefactor of the Church, Benachi strove to build awareness among the people of New Orleans about the trials and travails of the emerging Greek state, which had yet to incorporate his home island of Chios into the motherland. Like others, he also sent sums back to Greece, whether for educational purposes, or to assist in the armament of the Greek military and revolutionary forces in various parts of Greece not yet redeemed. Here again we see a diaspora pattern common to Greek merchants in Marsailles, Alexandria, Vienna, and to Greeks abroad today who are interested in the affairs and struggles of the homeland.

most notably King Cotton, which reigned supreme in the period before the Civil War. Greeks had generations of commercial skill and unsurpassed nautical abilities, both in the open sea and, through generations of Danube piloting, on rivers. New Orleans was a natural place for Greeks. Many Greeks left New Orleans during the disruptions of the Civil War, particularly cotton Nicholas Benachi arrived in New Orleans in 1850. merchants who were instrumental in establishing He immediately set himself up in the cotton trade, Egypt as a major cotton exporter. Another Times working for the Ralli trading company, fellow Picayune article, from 1872, laments the Chiots in an interlocking set of diminution of the Greek commercial families. Though merchant class, “[who] cotton cultivation was based on the Holy Trinity commanded an influence evils of the slave plantation system, Greek in financial and Orthodox it made fortunes for everyone not mercantile sectors . . . that actually doing the backbreaking Church made them respected by work. As was typical of Greeks the boldest operators.” involved in Diaspora trade, Benachi Benachi remained in New also secured an appointment as a Orle ans, a fe ature of consul, in his case for the Kingdom society and the business of Greece, in 1854. This was community until his death subsequently ratified near the in 1886. conclusion of the Civil War by President Lincoln in 1864. T h e Ti m e s P i c a y u n e mourned the loss of “an The small but often wealthy Greek old and valued citizen, one (and other Orthodox) communities who for a quarter of a in New Orleans acutely felt the century figured absence of a church, a problem prominently in the common to the small but growing business circles of the city Orthodox populations gathering in and was known always key American sea and river ports and everywhere as a man of the strictest integrity such as New Orleans, New York, Charleston, and and honor.” The obituary also referred to his Boston. Greek merchant communities always consu lar s er vice and to his role in t he invested in the establishment of a church as a establishment of the Greek Church in the city. His spiritual and cultural reference point, from the role in Greek and Orthodox America is a little time the first Byzantine refugees founded San known and discreet one, belying his role and Giorgio Church in Venice. In Benachi these efforts prominence, and perhaps it is how he might have found a champion with the clout to make it wanted it. Born in Chios before the Greek War of happen. Independence, he would have seen his island ravaged by war and massacre. He was part of a In 1864, Benachi and three other Orthodox New merchant culture that persisted despite war and Orleanians, Constantine Kililis, a Greek from Asia repression, who navigated politics, conflict, and Minor, Michael Draskovich, a Serbian from commerce with the same skill as piloting their Bosnia, and Dimitrios Botassi, from Spetses, ships. established Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church, the first Orthodox Church in the United He is one of Greek America’s Founding Fathers. States. Holy Trinity was decidedly multiethnic and

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) HITS THE U.S. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY! C OV I D - 1 9 has b e e n spreading across the U.S. since late January along the West Coast and is currently spreading along the East Coast, with cases now appearing in the triby Chris state area and other parts Salboudis of the U.S. (New York Times COVID-19 Tracker (U.S.)). According to a report issued by the New York Times on March 5th, “Many people with coronavirus experience only minor symptoms, and some of the first patients in the United States have already recovered and returned to daily life.” D espite such rep or ts, lo ca l res e arch institutions are researching solutions roundthe-clock till a reliable remedy for this nowglobal epidemic can be identified. Many colleges and universities are recalling their students from study abroad programs where the virus has been detected – and in surrounding areas where the virus has not yet infiltrated. Most scheduled university-based study abroad and conferences have been cancelled or postponed due to the uncertainty of exposure and various academic and corporate institutions are cancelling any nonessential travel at this time. In New York, our friends at Lexington Medical Associates are available to address questions related to detection of the virus, preventative measures and more. “We realize that the trajectory of the virus is unclear at present…. Rest assured that we will continue to monitor the situation, and know that we are here to help you navigate any shifts in the landscape. If you have any additional questions, please call us at 212-750-5088.”


Malaise Muscle Aches

taking care of patients in close settings (either at home or in a health care facility). 7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially: Ÿ after going to the bathroom; Ÿ before eating; Ÿ after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; Ÿ if hands are visibly dirty. 8. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is also recommended.



Our friends at Lexington Medical Associated strongly recommend you sign up for the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive regular updates on where it is safe (and unsafe) to travel. The list is updated regularly and reliably. Additional travel advisories are also available at the U.S. Department of State’s Homepage.

Those primarily at risk of contracting the virus should be tested immediately. These include: Ÿ Anyone who recently traveled to/from China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran, or other affected areas within the past two weeks. Ÿ Anyone requiring hospitalization for one or more of the symptoms mentioned above. Ÿ If you have been traveling in an area where COVID-19 was detected OR are known to OTHER HELPFUL LINKS have been in contact with a person with COVID-19, contact your doctor immediately Ÿ CDC COVID-19 Homepage Ÿ KFF Global Health Tracker to get tested!

* Chris Salboudis is Founding Director & CEO of Philo4Thought, an organization that that The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also supports the development of philosophical and provides guidelines for preventative measures social initiatives. and treatment. 1. Avoid close contact with sick people. 2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 3. Stay home when you are sick. 4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash. NAME / COMPANY: 5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched DELIVERY ADDRESS: objects and surfaces BASIC FACTS ABOUT COVID-19 with regular cleaning CITY: STATE: ZIP: spray/wipes. INCUBATION PERIOD: 2-14 days 6. O f f i c i a l TEL: E-MAIL: SYMPTOMS: recommendations for The Center for Disease Control (CDC) facemasks are: provides guidelines for symptoms. Within 2- Ÿ d o n o t w e a r a CREDIT CARD AM EX VISA MASTER CARD NUMBER: 14 days of exposure to the virus, you may facemask if you are experience flu-like symptoms including: well; it will not protect Ÿ High Fever (100.4 or higher) you from respiratory diseases, including 1 YEAR INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIPTION $29.95 Ÿ Shortness of Breath COVID-19. Ÿ Trouble Breathing Ÿ d o w e a r a 1 YEAR BUSINESS SUBSCRIPTION $59.95 Ÿ Pneunomia facemask if you have Ÿ Sepsis symptoms of COVIDŸ Changes in Mental Status 19 to help prevent DONATION: $10 $20 $50 $100 Ÿ Severe Dehydration further spread of the virus. Ÿ Cough Ÿ it is critical for Mail this order form with your data Ÿ Sore Throat healthcare workers to Ÿ Runny Nose and cheque or money to “Neocorp Media Inc.” use facemasks Ÿ Headache because they are P.O. Box 560105, College Point, NY 11356 36

MARCH 2020




Phone: (718) 554-0308 e-Fax: (718) 878-4448

Tailors Fighting Coronavirus: Taking measures in massive scale - New York on ...Menopause! Our tailors have decided to join the fight against coronavirus wholeheartedly and true to form started taking measures in massive scale. Their union President Emeritus Taylor Swift announced that their goal is “to dress as many people as possible in style so that they can confront coronavirus in a gentlemanly and elegant fashion!” New York in the meantime looks like a ghost town after the mayor declared that the city is on ...Menopause as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Gynecologists and psychologists from all over the country are converging to New York in order to deal with the new problem which threatens to crack the city's already old and fragile infrastructure. Surreal times we live in! New York's liberal mayor is begging the president to mobilize the army! Seriously now, the coronavirus pandemic has already proved disastrous in more that one ways and everybody has felt its direct or indirect consequences. However, not everything is bad. Schools are closed giving students the opportunity to open a book. Parents are realizing that they have kids and need to deal with them. Greek parades are cancelled! And newspapers, an industry in slow death, is thriving now that toilet paper is scarce! I started buying the New York Times again, especially the Sunday edition with net paper value way higher than the price you pay. People stopped drinking Corona beer, a real piss and hopefully they will look for more real alternatives – not Dos Equis, which “the most interesting man in the world”, who is confessing not to drink beer often, suggests. If you want to stay Mexicar try Modelo. Our president and his two Democratic opponents are high risk coronavirus candidates so there is hope after all! Also, this pandemic has brought people together by keeping them in safe distance and has helped the better part of ourselves to surface. The other day, at the super market, I let a woman behind me have the last bag of rice. Well, to be frank, it was broken and half the amount was lost, but the gesture counts nevertheless! My closest cigar lounge now delivers cigars to people's homes! Adapt and survive, that's the only way folks, and we, at NEO, are thinking of personally deliver the issue to your door and exchange it with toilet paper, potatoes and OXI Cleaning! Our Church has been a leader in this pandemic by offering precise and concise instructions for our safety! First, Metropolitan Nathaniel of Chicago announced that all churches in his metropolis will be closed, rendering the pointless discussion whether you can get coronavirus from Holy Communion obsolete. A couple of days later, Archbishop Elpidophoros said that churches won't be closed, they will remain open and the services will take place regularly with a priest and a cantor. He didn't say if a bishop too will be allowed to be present. (What kind of liturgy can you have without the people who are an organic part of it, not an audience, remains to be seen.) Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey from his

part, considered the archbishop's directive noncanonical and no abiding and asked for his churches to remain open until further instructions. It should be expected, as Evangelos is a virtuoso cantor and he wouldn't miss the chance to employ his skills at the season's numerous services. Then, Canada's newly-minted Archbishop Soterios came out with his own rules and regulations, saying that services will take place regularly with only 50 people present. Not 49 or 52, just 50 as in the jubilee! He didn't elaborate why 50, does it have a theological connotation, because of Pentecost maybe? He didn't also say how the lucky 50 will be chosen: by lot, according to their contribution to the coffer, by age, by sex, what are the criteria for those who would be willing to put thems elves at risk during a pandemic? Last but not least, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stepped in and declared that all churches will be closed until March 30. Elpidophoros intervened though and convinced Him to change His mind, so with a new message His All Holiness conceded to allow the churches open for services with a priest and cantor. The faithful could follow them from the Internet. Netflix rushed in for the rights, while major internet providers with an open letter to His All Holiness expressed their concern that transmission could be jammed and the networks overwhelmed due to the high traffic online as a result!

! s u r i inav

r a l C

(No wonder that in Greece, the prime minister stepped in and had all religious services cancelled. By the time our holy fathers come to an agreement and find common ground on what to do, coronavirus will have us all!)

P.S. a) Curfew in Milford, CT! Racoons, deer, skunks etc., will be arrested on the spot and quarantined! b) Coronavirus is the perfect pretext to avoid unwanted visits! I tried it and it works! c) Burqa taking its revenge! Who wouldn't want one amidst the coronavirus epidemic??? periXscope

MARCH 2020



ARIANA SAVALAS' 1ST MAJOR ALBUM “There are things known, and things unknown, and in between are the doors.” That’s how Jim Morrison once explained the meaning behind the name of his legendary group. And then, there are decades known to everyone on earth and decades that almost disappear in a grey past like in fog. Between them, it seems, there are still epochs hiding, about whose apparently immense secrets nobody can say anything. The songs Ariana Savalas writes seem to originate from such an era. From a forgotten time, from a forgotten city, and yet undisputedly from this earth. The road is long which led Ariana from attending a catholic convent school, to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art studying Shakespeare in London, to the burlesque theater and performing worldwide with the famous retroband Postmodern Jukebox, and now to the release of her first major album, THE DEAD DANCE. The wonderful collection of profound, mysterious, mischievous, and somehow erotic songs on her record seems to build its own little world, reminiscent of little that is already known, but harkening to the dark, mystical world of the Weimar German Cabarets and Parisian Burlesques. Listening to the likes of both Robbie Williams and Ella Fitzgerald as a young girl, Ariana found her inspiration as a songwriter in a universe somewhere in between. "I was always a little too naughty for traditional jazz,” she says.“When I was in that convent school with nuns, my uniform skirt was always too short, and I broke rules almost every day. I loved to give my teachers occasions to whisper about me. I loved singing music and dressing in a way that was shocking and provocative. Music was my way of expressing myself in those ways I was afraid of, without consequence.” After leaving the convent, Ariana moved to Los Angeles to become an aspiring songwriter. “Most nights, when I was a young singer in LA, I sat at home alone at the piano writing music until three in the morning. Then, the next evening, I would be out in the jazz club scene singing Sinatra.” She didn't even know "what burlesque really was, only as part of the Postmodern Jukebox did I get close to all that. When I first performed in Paris, I went to see Crazy Horse and Moulin Rouge, and these shows changed my life forever. I began writing and performing songs for my own burlesque reviews.” Ariana toured the world moderating the hustle and bustle of the vaudeville stages, but why does a girl, and former pupil of a Catholic girls' school, have such an immortal crush on music from days when silent films with giant monkeys could still frighten cities like New York? "There are several reasons for this," says Ariana. Her father, the Oscar-winning actor Telly Savalas, who became famous worldwide long before her birth, was one of them. "He was a whole lot older than me and would be almost 100 years old now. He was dear friends with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. And my grandmother Gloria, who was younger than my father, was a musician herself and introduced me to all of this music when I was a little kid.” Ariana strokes her male wiener dog Ludwig over his head and sighs smiling. It has been a long journey which led her from Los Angeles to studying Shakespeare in London, to the Burlesque Theater, then finally to her life as a recording artist. Fortunately, there's no end in sight, but instead her artistry is blossoming more and more colorfully.


MARCH 2020


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