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SEP/OCT 2018



:: 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


A Profile of America

After working as a journalist in the Greek American community for so many years and meeting so many remarkable people I’ve decided to publish a book of profiles about only a few of those people, some who are famous, but some few us know outside their friends and families, but who are equally remarkable. There was the man in Astoria who made candles as a job, but whose true passion was visiting the war-torn and troubled regions of the world as a private citizen, at his own expense, and at his own risk, to witness the brutalities of life and politics and war, and if nothing else, be a witness and a voice for the oppressed. Why would you do that? I asked him. Because I must, he said, even if it does nothing: at least I tried. There was the world-famous astrophysicist who had created the rockets that flew to the outer planets but who took the time to talk to me about our common heritage in Chios and the platia with the ice cream place where we had ice cream that came with a vanilla wafer and the municipal park dedicated to Kanaris where our grandmothers took us in our stroller and the bus with the chickens tied on top that we took to get up to the hills - and, oh, yes, we also talked about astrophysics and rockets. There was the pizza maker, or maybe he was a donut man, or maybe he sold blinds - regardless, he was also a poet so deep and yet so vast and wide-ranging over time and place that he was a veritable Cavafy. His poetry soared over the everyday of an afternoon at

work to the clash of swords and screams of men fighting on an ancient battlefield. And when he spoke about these visions of his mind and soul he was virtually in tears. There was the elderly man who was a widower, a recent widower, who spoke of his wife with such grief that it broke your heart, too. He was a restaurant man, he always worked hard, his wife kept the books, “She was the brains; I was the hamali,” and she was also the woman who shared his life and the tribulations over decades of trying to make a living in America as an immigrant and raising a family and building the community, and he was dedicating the wing of a church to her, but that could not mend the break in his heart and his loneliness. There was the young guy who worked at Disney in Florida, had worked at Disney since he practically came out of college, had the Disney chirp in his voice, was manager at one of the parks, EPCOT, and was due to be vice president, and whose vision was to have a Greece pavilion at EPCOT to go with the other countries on exhibit at the Lagoon there. And there are simpler people like my sister Helen, who has never been lauded, because she has been a simple mother and housewife, like countless others who keep our life together, like my mother and grandmothers did, but who more than anyone has kept our family together through the hardships of her own life. These are the true Greek American heroes of our time. 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

AHEPA Convention Elects George E. Loucas as Supreme President By Philip Chrysopoulos* The delegates of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA) elected George E. Loucas Supreme President at their 96th Annual Family Supreme Convention, held this past July in Atlantic City, N.J. AHEPA's Supreme President George E. Loucas

supreme vice president. In addition, he comes from an AHEPA legacy of leaders. His grandfather, George, served as Supreme President in 1959. As supreme president his responsibilities include being the chief executive officer, and principal spokesperson, of the entire AHEPA domain, which includes chapters in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

The new AHEPA S u p r e m e President is a pharmacist and 3rd generation lawyer. He founded Loucas Law in 1995 with a vision of Loucas, of Novelty, Ohio, ran unopposed in helping families who have suffered catastrophic elections that were held July 26, with the formal injuries and wrongful death in the area of installation ceremonies held on July 27. complex civil litigation. He is a leader in fighting Drug Overdose Death (Drug OD) cases “It is an honor and privilege to be elected from prescription painkillers. AHEPA Supreme President, and I am humbled to carry the mantle of leadership for our Order,” He graduated from the Cleveland Marshall Loucas said. “My sincere appreciation is given College of Law at Cleveland State University, to the convention delegates who placed their where he received his Juris Doctor degree, and love, support and trust in me to lead this West Virginia University where he received his remarkable organization in the coming year.” Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. He became a Registered Pharmacist and worked in “The need to provide community service and the pharmaceutical industry while attending humanitarian assistance is ongoing, both in the law school. United States and abroad, as we have witnessed with the deadly and devastating wildfires in George E. Loucas is married to Sandra Loucas Greece,” Loucas said. “I am eager to work with and they have a son, Max, and a daughter, Lexi. our AHEPA family, and the diaspora, to address this crisis, as well as other challenges that may During the Convention in Atlantic City, the come our way. Separately, the promotion of Order of AHEPA was immediately mobilized to Hellenic ideals will always be a priority for come up with a plan for the Wild Fires in AHEPA, and I pledge to keep AHEPA on a steady Greece. Past Supreme President Hollister asked path set forth by my predecessors with a spirit Dr. Zenon Christodoulou to take charge and that is true to our mission. mobilize our Emergency Response team and the Charitable Fundraising efforts. Upon Loucas is a 37-year member of Chapter 480, election the new Supreme President George North Royalton, Ohio. He has served AHEPA in L o u c a s r a t i f i e d t h e a p p o i n t o f D r, numerous leadership positions, including Christodoulou and he tasked him to coordinate



our national posture on this program. AHEPA immediately announced the collection of $100,000 within 48 hours of the fires. The committee along with members of the Supreme Lodge have been reaching out to members and chapters to make sure they donate to our efforts. A 10 point “Boots on the Ground” announcement was made August 6 and chapters from around the world started to coordinate. The organization also sent two medical containers, one to the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens and another container to the AHEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki. The estimated value of both of these container exceed $1.5Million. Moreover, Supreme President Loucas travelled to the devastated areas in September. Also, under the direction of Supreme President George Loucas, Chairman of the AHEPA Educational Foundation for 2018, George Vorkas nnounced the 2018 AHEPA Educational Foundation Scholarship winners. “This year we had over 600 applications for National Scholarships. We are pleased to present a balanced list of winners comprising educational excellence, financial need, and under graduate, graduate and seminarian level students” stated Vorkas. Supreme President George Loucas was “pleased to see so many individuals looking to the AHEPA for assistance while attending college.” The Order of AHEPA on a local, state and national level awards nearly $2Million annually in educational scholarships with over 400 active chapters worldwide. “We are very proud of our youth, and their families and look forward to their involvement in the AHEPA when their education is completed,” stated Loucas.

Part of this story were first published in

American Women's Organization of Greece Celebrates


Anniversary By Margarita Vartholomeou The 70th Anniversary of the the American Women's Organization of Greece (AWOG) was celebrated recently at the residence of the United States Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

The gala committee. From left, Ioanna Kalivaki, Georgia Marketos, Bessie Sioutas-Vassilopoulou, Jane Bizos and Mary Latsey-Amvrazi

Addressing the event, Ambassador Pyatt pointed out that AWOG is one of the oldest women's organizations in Greece that has helped newcomers adjust to life in their own homes in Greece through cultural and educational events mostly. He continued by s a y i n g t h a t t h e m o s t From Left, Stacey Harris Papaioannou, Ioanna Kalivaki, respectful tradition of Pelagia Karra, Georgia Kallis, Katerina Sirouni, Angela AWOG is of giving back to Karavas, Bessie Sioutas-Vassilopoulou, Vicky Klimi the connunity. The work of and Bernadine Tzouros the organization with AWOG President Bessie Sioutas-Vasilopoulou groups such as Pikpa and Caritas has thanked the ambassador for the hospitality and shown that essential help has been his nice works and also thanked her board and provided to the Greek families in need. members for their hard work and dedication. The participation of AWOG in programs like the Susan G.Komen Race for the Cure USA is a reflection of the American tradition of service and giving back.

Besides the two governments working together and doing great things, the American Ambassador also stressed the importance of The organization was founded in 1948 and it's a the people to people ties that are the non-for-profit volunteer women's group that is foundation of the bilateral relationship actively supporting charities in Greece. The with Greece. AWOG is also working together with the Greek community in fundraising and organising Mrs Mar y Pyatt is the Honorar y educational, cultural and social events. President of the AWOG. US Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey R. Pyatt with wife Mary, the event's hosts



Bessie Sioutas-Vassilopoulou, Mary Pyatt, Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and NEO's Margarita Vartholomeou

The Board of Directors of the American Hellenic Council, the leading Greek American advocacy organization in the Western United States, elected Dr. James Dimitriou of Redondo Beach, California, as their new President and Chairman of the Board. “It is an honor for me to have the support and confidence of our Board of Directors to continue in the footsteps of our Chairman, Menas Kafatos”, said Dr. Dimitriou. “As a founding member of the former Save Cyprus Council, I hope to serve in the spirit of my early mentors, Dr. Theodore Saloutos, Peter Calogeras, and Aris Anagnos. It is a time of many challenges and threats that will require a rededication of both spirit & action. Please join me in sharing this vision.” A noted educator and scholar, Dr. Dimitriou is a past Supreme President of AHEPA, as well as a founding member of the Save Cyprus Council (known today as the American Hellenic Council). Over the years, Dr. Dimitriou has played an active role in the community, serving as the former Director of the “Journey to Greece” program, National AHEPA Education Chairman, as well as the Chairman of the Cyprus & Hellenic Affairs Committee. In 2004, Dr. Dimitriou was named to the Order of Saint Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He is also a co-founder and current Board member of the Greek Heritage Society, as well as an active Board member of the Hellenic Society of Constantinople, and longtime President of the Marmara Society. Dr. Dimitriou’s election marks the beginning of a new era for the American Hellenic Council. “The Council couldn’t be in better hands”, said outgoing President Menas Kafatos. “There are a host of issues facing the Hellenic communities in Greece and Cyprus, as well as here in the United States. The American Hellenic Council will continue being an important agent for innovation, continuity, as well as supporting and protecting the traditions that bind us together. Many of us in the arts, the sciences, the humanities, in academia, the commercial sector, religious traditions, as well as all Hellenic communities, will continue our support for tradition, the rule of law, and our rich history”.

Dr. Menas Kafatos, who is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book “You are the Universe”, went on to say, “In my travels, book signings and lectures, I am amazed about the resilience of the Hellenic spirit. I have been honored and blessed to be the President and Chairman of the AHC Board for the past five years. The AHC was founded in 1974, initially under a different name. It will continue to exist because it fulfills vital roles and is popular with the community. I am sure that Jim’s leadership skills and integrity will energize our members and allow the Council to continue playing a significant role in advocating for the issues most important to the Hellenic-American community”.

strategy στρατηγική

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

What do we really want on the Macedonian Issue? By Endy Zemenides

When Phillip II assumed the throne of Macedonia, his kingdom faced existential threats. He had just taken over a kingdom whose predecessor fell in battle; the same battle cost Macedonia most of its army. Youth, inexperience, a weak military and threats on every border. To label the situation that Phillip II inherited “not promising” would be an understatement. Needing time to rebuild his army, Phillip resorted to treaties, bribery and a marriage of alliance in order to quash the threats to Macedonia. It was Phillip’s diplomacy – not his phalanx – that bought time for Macedonia’s rise, for Alexander the Great to come on the scene, and for the Hellenic legacy of Macedonia to make its way through time down to us. Nearly 2,400 years later, the northern region of Greece that is Phillip’s Macedonia is in need of the same statesmanship to secure its future and perhaps regain some level of glory or significance. Yet the debate over the Prespa Agreement is marked more by the demagoguery of Phillip’s archnemesis Demosthenes than by Phillip’s diplomacy. Rhetoric that includes words like “traitor”, “surrender”, or exclamations like “we gave away everything” has become the norm when the Prespa Agreement comes up. (It is interesting to note that the detractors of the Prespa Agreement in FYROM use the same language). But this rhetoric, as well as the overwhelming number of charlatans that employ it, do little to safeguard either Hellenic national interests or the Hellenic cultural legacy.

are certainly there: museum exhibitions - both permanent and temporary; scholarship in history and the classics that have decisively settled the issue. These tools can be used by us all to accomplish the goals of securing our history and heritage. We also all agree that any resolution must safeguard Greece’s territorial sovereignty and promote regional stability, which leads us to... 2.Who is OK with the status quo? Detractors of the Prespa Agreement have raised the prospect of a better deal for Hellenic interests. Noone explains how they are going to arrive at such “better deals” -- which range from the impossible (a name that doesn’t include the word “Macedonia” in any way), to the increasingly unlikely (if a solution that allowed for a “Macedonian” language and identity -- albeit unrelated to ancient Greece or the territory of Greece -could not get widespread support throughout FYROM, how will a framework that takes this out get approved). Even this week’s talk of a Plan B coming from the Defense Minister seems like an attempt to kick the can down the road. In the meantime, you will have a country that still claims a “Macedonian” identity and language, and on top of that has a constitutional name of “Republic of Macedonia”, bilateral relations with most of the world under that same name, and official educational policy that makes claims on Hellenic history and even territory.

One would assume that it would be easy to The time for a dialogue over what the end establish consensus that this status quo is game is for Hellenes on the Macedonian annoying/offensive in the least. It also allows “issue” is long past due. The problem has tangible threats to gather on Greece’s northern Philip II of Macedon been transformed from a national issue into a border. Skopje’s past alliances with Turkey and domestic political issue - both within Greece and in the diaspora Russia are one threat. Skopje’s need for alternatives to ports and other community. The Prespa Agreement may indeed be dead (or at least on transportation in Greece has allowed for a Balkan infrastructure that life support), but everyone weighing in on the future of this issue needs would be exclusive of Greece, cutting the country off from natural trading to have answers to some fundamental questions if we are to avoid this partners. Assuming the allure of NATO and EU membership will becoming yet another frozen conflict that Greece has to deal with for permanently be a source of leverage over Skopje ignores trends in the decades. region. If a future VMRO government decides to transform FYROM into a Russia client, the prospects for a diplomatic solution may disappear 1.What do we all agree on? altogether. Despite the bitter nature of the debate over Prespa, there is a consensus over the Hellenic legacy of ancient Macedonia, Phillip and Alexander. Yes, it is offensive to witness Greece’s neighbor and fanatical parts of its diaspora lay claim to our history. But go to Classics Departments all over the world, to museums, to history books. Even decades of their propaganda has had no serious effect. NONE. Our outrage would be better directed at the lack of effort within the Hellenic world to better celebrate and promote the Hellenic legacy of Macedonia. The forums 16


Whatever the fate of the Prespa Agreement, it is time for the people of Greece and the Hellenic diaspora really consider what issues they want solved, and they best get solved. There is no sense in reaching a solution merely for the sake of reaching a solution, but it is also unwise to rush into a frozen conflict without fully thinking the consequences through. Right now too many stakeholders in Greece are hoping the Agreement fails in Skopje and thus takes them off the hook. That is not the type of diplomacy that Phillip used to save Macedonia.

Alex with wife Faye

ALEX SPANOS IN MEMORIAM Alex Spanos, the legendary Greek American, founder of A.G. Spanos Companies and owner of the Chargers NFL Franchise, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on Tuesday, October 9. He was 95.

passion and hard work. Born the son of Greek immigrants in 1923, Alex’s tireless work ethic and fearlessness was instilled in him when at only eight years old, he began working in his father’s bakery before and after school. A tough

intensely competitive nature and passion for sport made him the perfect fit to be a part of the NFL family. One of his most memorable moments was watching the Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to play in Super Bowl XXIX. He was equally passionate about the franchise’s impact off the field, implementing many Chargers’ community outreach programs that exist to this day. The Chargers Community Foundation - which he created and funded – still supports numerous critical causes, individuals in need and organizations supporting the community.

Aside from being a celebrated businessman and generous philanthropist, Alex’s greatest joy and source of pride was his family. His beloved wife Faye, his four children, his 15 grandchildren and his 12 great-grandchildren always came first. Throughout Alex’s life, Faye, his wife of nearly 70 years, was his rock and inspiration. It was Faye’s unconditional love and support that gave him the strength and peace of mind to take Three Greek American Giants: from right, Alex Spanos, Archbishop Iakovos and John Brademas risks and pursue his goals unfettered. Together From humble beginnings to becoming the top upbringing coupled with the unshakeable they contributed generously to worthy causes apartment builder across the nation and the belief that he could accomplish anything he set and charities. Hospitals, universities, owner of an NFL franchise, he proved that his mind to drove him to succeed and overcome scholarship funds, youth programs, sports countless obstacles. dreams do come true. programs, churches, schools – all were recipients of their incredible generosity. Alex Spanos was the embodiment of the In 1984, Alex fulfilled one of his lifelong goals American dream and leaves behind a legacy of by purchasing the San Diego Chargers. His Through it all, Alex never forgot his roots and took immense pride in both his Hellenic heritage and Greek Orthodox faith. It was through that faith he learned compassion and empathy. Whenever he was called upon to help, he always delivered. Passionate about education, helping the underprivileged and enabling those with a dream to better their lives, he took pride in setting an example for others to follow. With President Ronald Reagan

With both Presidents Bush

Fiercely loyal, competitive, passionate and loving – that was Alex Spanos. NEWS & NOTES SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018


HELLENISM AND ORTHODOXY IN THE 2018 ELECTIONS S E T A D I D N A C E – TH by Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos*

Minority Member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In terms of ethics and intelligence, he ranks among the top of the hundreds of US Senators and Members that we have known in our family’s half-century of working closely with the Congress. Yet, the residue of a baseless, rogue Justice Department prosecution from which he was completely exonerated has injured Bob’s image and will cost him votes. We must help him help us. To learn more about his campaign and to support him, go to: It has been over a half-decade since we have had a Greek-American in the US Senate. Hopefully, this will change in November. Following in the footsteps of Senators Paul Sarbanes, Paul Tsongas and Olympia Snowe could be Wisconsin Republican Senatorial nominee Leah Papachristou Vukmir. She is 100% Greek in her heritage as well as her Hellenism and Senator Bob Menendez Orthodoxy and is sure to make us all proud. We and Andy Manatos are looking to put together a group of The 2018 elections may profoundly impact successful Hellenic women – Republicans, Independents and Democrats -- in New York Hellenism and Orthodoxy in America. City to help Leah get elected. To learn more When the unsurpassed advocate for Hellenism about her campaign and help her, go to: and Orthodoxy in the US government, Senator Paul Sarbanes, was asked at the end of his 36year career in the US Congress, “What will happen to our issues when you leave Washington?” he responded, “make sure Bob Menendez is elected.” His answer had nothing to do with partisanship and everything to do with our issues. Our issues would stand to lose more than 50% of their Washington Congresswoman Dina Titus with support if Senator Bob Andy Manatos and Phil Christopher M e n e n d e z Continuing at the federal level, Congressman (D-NJ) were Gus Bilirakis, one of Capitol Hill’s top most to lose his re- proactive people on our issues, while expected election to to be re-elected, is in for a more difficult than t h e U S usual challenge this year. History has shown Senate. If re- that the first election following a President’s elected, he election finds his party losing 27 House will become Members from his party. And, when such the Chairman Presidents have approval ratings under 50%, as Zack Space with or remain the President Donald Trump has today, their party R a n k i n g loses an average of 37 House seats. The Mike Manatos 18


Lia Papachristou Vukmir with Andy and Mike Manatos Democrats need 24 Republicans to lose their seats to gain control of the House. To learn more about Gus’ campaign and support him, go to The other Hellenic Members of Congress, Congressman John Sarbanes ( Congresswoman Dina Titus ( and Congressman Charlie Crist, ( are Democrats and their seats should be secure. Unfortunately, Hellene by marriage, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, a great supporter of our issues, is retiring. However, we may be adding not one, but two Greek-Americans – one Democrat and one Republican - to the US House of Representatives. First, there is Hellenic Harvard graduate, restaurateur and state government official, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire. Chris won the Democratic primary election in a crowded field and is favored to win the general election for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional district. To learn more about and support his campaign, go to: Second, there is combat decorated Green Beret, former Fox News contributor who served in the White House and Pentagon during the Bush Administration,

Eleni and Markos Kounalakis with NHS Chairman Drake Behrakis and Mike Manatos

Other Greek-Americans running for state-wide office for the first time, of whom we’ve been made aware, include: in Ohio, former Congressman Zack Space – who was a tremendous advocate for Hellenism and Orthodoxy when he served in the US Congress from 2007-2011 - is running for Ohio Auditor (; in Delaware, Kathy Kramedas McGuiness, who is running for Delaware Auditor, would become the first Greek-American woman elected to state-wide office in Delaware (; in Connecticut, former State Representative and Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is running for Lieutenant Governor (; in Illinois, Erika Harold is running for Illinois Attorney General (; and in California Konstantinos Roditis is running for State Controller (

Those running for State Senate and House offices that have the most active profiles in the Michael Waltz. He currently leads in the polls in national Greek-American community include: the race to win the Florida’s 6th Congressional In New York, first time candidate Andrew district. To learn more about and support his Gounardes for New York State Senate: campaign, go to ( ; New York State Senator, Chair m of the Democratic Conference and the first Greek-American to At the state level, be elected to office from New prospects look very York City, Mike Gianaris good that the next (; in Lieutenant Governor the New York State Assembly of California, the state Nicole Malliotakis whose economy is (; larger than 190 Aravella Simotas countries, will be ( former US Ambassador m/Aravella-Simotas); James to Hungary Eleni S k o u f i s Ts a k o p o u l o s (; in Kounalakis. She would Rhode Island, State Senator be the first female Leonidas Raptakis California Lieutenant (; in Governor in history. If Ohio, former Ohio State she wins, many Representative and candidate anticipate that Eleni Congressman Gus Bilirakis for Ohio State Senate Jim Trakas will follow the example (; in Illinois, the 20 year of previous Lieutenant Governors of California Treasures of Cook County, the world's 16th and move on to even higher positions like l a r g e s t g o v e r n m e n t , M a r i a P a p p a s Governor or Senator. To learn more about and (; and in Connecticut s u p p o r t h e r c a m p a i g n , g o t o Eleni Kavros DeGraw is running for State Representative (

Congressman Charlie Crist with Andy Manatos

Chris Pappas with Congressman John Sarbanes, Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos Nicole Malliotakis who was the Republican nominee for Mayor of New York City in the 2017 election, was unsuccessful in her bid…this time.

Demetries Grimes with Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos Andy Manatos is for mer Assistant Secretary of Commerce and CEO of Manatos & Manatos. Mike Manatos is President of Manatos & Manatos. The Manatos family has been working in or with the federal government for 3 generations and over 83 years.

Kathy Kramedas McGuiness with Mike Manatos

Unfortunately, a number of promising Greek-American candidates lost in their run for office in their state’s primary. Those candidates of whom we were made aware included: Demetries Grimes who ran for US Congress in Florida’s 26th district (; Sam Galeotos who ran for Governor of Wyoming; Alex Triantaphyllis who ran for US Congress representing Texas’ 7th Congressional district. In addition, COVER STORY SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018


A DURable Greek Success Story Expanding Overseas

DUR is a high quality men's clothing company that made its name synonymous with elegance and healthy entrepreneurship. The company got started in Patras about half a century ago and has been dressing men ever since who want to stand out for their style, finesse and class.

by Kelly Fanarioti

DUR's story began when the founder of the company, Mr. Nikos Douros, started marketing cotton items. Soon his brothers Panagiotis and Andreas came into the business and in 1960 the family business, "Nikos Douros And Brothers," was born: a company that manufactured and marketed men's underwear and socks. Throughout the 1970s, the company expanded into exports, making it one of the country's largest exporters in the industry, and also a steady partner of well-known foreign firms. In the early 1980s, the new name and logo "DUR" was born and the company created a broad wholesale network, consolidating its brand name in quality-branded outfits. At the same time, the company has expanded its brand identity with exclusive collaborations with foreign fashion houses, such as 'PACO RABANE - Paris', 'Cavallini – Italy'. In 1992 the company opened its first store outside Achaia in Athens. Then in 2000 the company took the big step and entered the Athens Stock Exchange. As the CEO of the company, Mr. Thodoros Douros, explains to ΝΕΟ, a prerequisite for establishing a company outside the borders of

CEO Thodoros Douros 22


the country is to gain the confidence of domestic consumers. ''Cloth, as one of the most competitive products, is more difficult than other items, such as food, to be placed in shop windows and on the shelves of countries abroad. In particular, the difficulty is that some countries have established fashion houses producing their own clothes. So to ensure your presence abroad, you must be established within your own borders and be winning in the domestic market.” He says, “Because DUR has a 50-year history, the company felt ready to make its presence felt abroad and now it is exporting to Albania, Cyprus and Sofia, Bulgaria.” How did the company survive in such tough economic times in Greece? According to Mr. Douros, the company's steady approach and tradition of quality have protected it from market fluctuations and uncertainty. ''Of course, we felt the consequences of the crisis in part, but we managed to stay at a steady level thanks to the continuous investment in quality, fresh ideas, the two-way relationship of trust with the consumer and the genuine people who make up our team, and which give new air to creativity and more impetus to achieve the company's goals.'' Only, in recent years the negative climate of the Greek crisis has put severe pressure on the textile industry, and on the production and marketing of ready-made clothing, as more and more consumers turn to international clothing chains to find clothes at discount prices. ‘'External factors, apart from internal ones such as lack of liquidity and shrinking consumer spending, are found in imports from low-cost countries and the prevalence of multinational giants. In this difficult and challenging environment, the ‘padlocks’ on the doors of the Greek label clothing stores are increasing,” Mr. Douros explains. “And they are being replaced by multinational stores on the main shopping streets. Nevertheless, Greek businesses must be oriented towards the change they want and need. Greek clothing companies cannot easily achieve volume gain, but they can be differentiated and distinguished in terms of quality and product proposals.''

He says, ''The emphasis on original design, timeless style, and quality are the key to survival and success. A philosophy that DUR has faithfully and timely adopted, maintaining the steady course of the business despite sweeping changes in the garment market in recent years. In this way, the value of the brand ‘Made in Greece’ will be strengthened and new momentum will be given to the Greek business and the Greek economy''. At the same time, he says a new approach is needed in the way Greek entrepreneurs work as a whole. ‘'It is imperative for Greek companies to think of business abroad, on the one hand with exports and on the other with dialogue and cooperation. This will lay the foundations for new outlooks on innovation and growth, through synergies and communication bridges.''

Having established and maintained a successful brand over the turbulence of decades, I could not resist asking Mr. Douros what advice he would give to a new person wanting to set up his own business in the Greece of 2018. There is no specific recipe for success, he points out, except for being flexible. "Someone who wants to set up a business today must be ready to risk, not to be disappointed, and above all, to love what he does. At the same time, the perception of the circumstances and adaptability, continuous innovation and respect for the consumer are key elements that set the basis for healthy business with prospects for growth and gradual advancement in your market.”



2018 PanHellenic Recipients with the PanHellenic Board of Directors and Academic Committee

The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation Awards Ceremony & Gala

This past summer, the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation held its annual Awards Ceremony & Gala at the Hilton Chicago. The PanHellenic broke a new record this year by awarding 45 talented Greek American undergraduates with a total of $260,000 in scholarship awards. Celebrations began with an Alumni Weekend Welcome Reception at Holland & Knight courtesy of the Foundation's pro bono counsel Elias Matsakis and co-sponsored by College Year in Athens. The 2018 Recipients, PanHellenic Alumni, and other Greek American young professionals enjoyed food and drinks while admiring the beautiful Chicago skyline.

impressive group of mentors that included: Nicholas W. Alexos, Executive Vice President and C h i e f F i n a n c i a l O f f i c e r, DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc.; Michael Konidaris, Principal Economist, Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS Markit; Stephen J. Livaditis, Managing Director-Eastdil Secured, L L C ; PHSF Treasurer & Trustee John G. Doretta Manos, PHSF Advisory Board Members M i s t r a s , and Scholarship 100 Fulfilled Members M a n a g i n g D i r e c t o r, Dimitri & Eleni Bousis, PHSF Goldman Chairman & Trustee Robert A. Buhler, PHSF Secretary & Trustee Athan P. Sotos Sachs; Tim S. Provias,

The next day, 2018 Recipients, PanHellenic Alumni, and other young professionals met at the Racquet Club of Chicago for our 2nd Annual Mentorship Luncheon graciously hosted by Nick Alexos and sponsored by The Hellenic Initiative. Over lunch, students engaged in meaningful advising from an 24


of Technology; Gregory Tsonis, ESQ, Litigation Associate, Kirkland & Ellis; and Eric Vassilatos, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Vivid Seats. After lunch was served, keynote speaker, His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael, gave a powerful

PHSF Chairman & Trustee Robert A. Buhler, Emcee Pete Zervakis Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus receiving the Paradigm Award from PHSF Secretary & Trustee Athan P. Sotos MD, MPH, Interventional Cardiology Specialist, Northwestern Medicine; Evonne Sepsis, Managing Director and Founder, ESC Advisors; Georgia Giakoumis Spear, MD, Chief of the Department of Breast Imaging, NorthShore University; Maria Spiropulu, PHD, Shang-Yi Ch’en Professor of Physics, California Institute

speech encouraging millennials to continue their good works and giving back to the community. Saturday evening began with the Awards Ceremony. John Manos, Treasurer and Trustee of the PanHellenic, conducted the ceremony for the 2018 Scholarship Recipients. Presenting the awards were Dr. Constantine Georgakis, Chairman of the Academic Commitee and Robert A. Buhler, Chairman and Trustee. The Foundation was overjoyed to award such an All photos courtesy of Sofia Spentzas - Spiral Art Design

program allows donors to pledge one $10,000 scholarship each year for 5 or 10 years, while enjoying a closer connection to the Fo u n d a t i o n a n d t h e i r scholars. 2018 PanHellenic Recipients, Ellen Schooley, Matthew Szekely, Konstantinos Sellas, Leonidas Lavdas, Matthew Pusic, George Giakoumakis, Athena Patitsas at our Welcome Reception at Holland & Knight Chicago impressive group of young Greek Americans this year. Following the Awards Ceremony, the PanHellenic featured its exclusive Gala video showing how the Foundation provides more than just financial aid to students, hence the 2018 Gala theme - "Beyond a Scholarship." The video featured 2007 Scholarship Recipient Demi Giannaras speaking to her close relationship with the PanHellenic, her friendship with late Founder, Chris P. Tomaras and how it has influenced her life. Mr. Buhler then presented the Chairman's Report, describing how the PanHellenic will continue to go "Beyond a Scholarship" and provide scholars with more opportunities. Mr. Buhler also unveiled the new giving program called Scholarship Society. This unique

This year's Paradigm Honoree was renowned 2018 PanHellenic Recipient Peter Prastakos, public servant and former 2018 PHSF & THI Mentor Dr. Maria Spiropulu, White House Chief of Staff 2018 PanHellenic Recipient Geoffrey Hazard, Reince Priebus. Presenting 2018 PanHellenic Recipient Leonidas Lavdas the award was Athan P. Sotos, Secretary and Trustee of the PanHellenic. Mr. Sotos explained this country with very little, they all came that the Paradigm presentation was always the looking for the same set of freedoms that are apex of the Awards Ceremony for Mr. Tomaras entitled to all people. No matter what our because this was the chance to truly inspire the differences are we are bound together by our recipients. Mr. Priebus gave a passionate speech love of freedom. At the end of his speech, Mr. about how Hellenic values such as faith, family, Priebus reminded scholars that they must go forward through life in service of one another, to never let their talents go to waste, and as they continue on, their education will help them reach their highest goals and help advance society.

George Gianitsos, Mary Fay Karras, 2018 PanHellenic Recipient Niki Tselepidakis, 2018 PanHellenic Recipient Sofija Chroneos, 2005 PanHellenic Recipient Christina Moniodis, 2018 PHSF & THI Mentor Michael Konidaris and philotimo set Greek Americans apart and truly enhance the fabric of American society. He recalled his childhood and how his Hellenic upbringing truly propelled him in life. Mr. Priebus stated that even though our parents and grandparents came to

Former White House Chief of Staff and Paradigm Award Honoree, Reince Priebus

Following the Paradigm Presentation, the Foundation honored two generous sets of donors who have already fulfilled their Scholarship Society pledges with contributions totaling $100,000 or more: Jimmy and Eleni Bousis as well as John and Mary Pappajohn.

Yianni Kokolakis, 2018 PanHellenic Recipient Yianni Melizanis, Jimmy Alexopoulos, 2016 PanHellenic Recipient Tim Gianitsos, 2018 PHSF & THI Mentor Dr. Tim Provias Following the Awards Ceremony guests enjoyed cocktails in the Hilton's beautiful Normandie Lounge, and then enjoyed a wonderful dinner served in the Grand Ballroom. Scholars then opened the dance floor by leading the first dance with incredible entertainment provided by Yanni Papastefanou & Orchestra.



Nicos Tziazas

Lyons Mortgage Services Inc.’s President Nicos Tziazas has been honored by the Queens Chamber of Commerce as one of their 2018 Business Person of the Year. The honor ceremony took place on October 10th, 2018 at The Terrace on the Park (Flushing, New York). Alongside Nicos Tziazas will be Christopher Horch of JB&B, Sister Tesa Fitzgerald of Hour Children and Hall of Fame Honoree John Catsimatidis of Red Apple Group. “As the president of Lyons Mortgage Services Inc., I understand that obtaining the right mortgage loan is a very important step in a person’s life,”Tzianas said. Lyons Mortgage Services Inc. is committed to making the mortgage process easy to understand for the first time home-buyers as well as meet the

needs of a seasoned investor. We consider ourselves a premier service organization; therefore, we recognize the overriding importance of outstanding service to the community.” Nicos Tziazas is also involved in the community by supporting public benefit entities. “My role as the president of a community organization, the Eleftheria Pancyprian Youth Soccer Club, has been to provide the opportunity for children to play a beautiful sport while learning very important life lessons. Through our continuing dedication and leadership, the children build discipline, strong teamwork, sportsmanship on and off the field, while striving for academic excellence. I am honored to receive this award,” he concluded.

Tziazas has over 30 Years experience in the real estate/mortgage industry and is committed to serving our communities to make home ownership an attainable goal. He is also very active in the up-and-coming Real Estate communities of the NYC area, helping investors develop a variety of Construction and Housing Projects. A native of Cyprus, Nicos graduated from St. Francis College with a degree in Business Management and Finance.

Erdogan’s “Trojan Horse” In Macedonia* thetheirEU.projected path of integration into NATO and by Dr. Alon Ben-Meir and Arbana Xharra Turkey’s President Erdogan makes no secret of his ambition to spread his neo-Ottoman wings all over the Balkans. He views Macedonia as another Turkish satellite in the making, which sadly the Macedonian government seems to have embraced without carefully assessing the long-term adverse ramifications. Very few Albanian voices in Macedonia have the courage to publicly criticize Erdogan, fearful of becoming a target of threats and insults by a huge propaganda machine directed by many of his cronies. Erdogan has been extremely successful in influencing the majority of Albanians in the country, many of whom consider him as their one and only trusted leader. For more than a decade, Erdogan has invested heavily in spreading his influence among Albanians, through building mosques and Turkish schools, and funding media, religious institutions, and most recently political parties, which are directly controlled by his close associates and have dramatically increased his influence over the Albanian community. Anyone who dares to criticize Erdogan or discuss his personal ambitions in Macedonia is attacked publicly by the ‘internet brigade’ as an Islamophobe or traitor. “I was personally a target of these attacks twice”, says Xhelal Neziri, an experienced investigative reporter from Macedonia. “They cannot stop me from telling the truth, but it is a fact that many of my colleagues do not want to talk about this topic, because of the ‘lynching threats.’” A majority of Albanians in Macedonia identify themselves as Muslims rather than by their Albanian national identity. There are voices within these fanatical religious groups saying that Albanians should not recognize Mother Theresa as a saint, even though she was an Albanian from Macedonia, because she does not represent the interests of the Muslim community. The number of those who believe that other national Albanian heroes like Gjergj Kastrioti ‘Skenderbeg’, who led a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s, should not be recognized because they were Christians, is increasing rapidly. Compared to other Balkan states where Albanians live who don’t consider religion to be a dominant factor in their lives, Albanians in Macedonia are the staunchest supporters of Erdogan and his Islamic agenda. Erdogan’s strategy for restoring Turkey’s influence in the Balkans, akin to what the Ottoman Empire once enjoyed, had early success with the Albanians in Macedonia. Nearly two-thirds of the population in Macedonia are ethnically Orthodox Christian Macedonians, and the other third of the population are predominantly Albanian Muslims. In 2001, tensions between the two groups escalated into an armed conflict between government security forces and the Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA). The conflict was short-lived and ended with the 28


The BESA Movement is a political party in the Republic of Macedonia founded in November 2014 Ohrid Agreement—a peace treaty that saw NLA by Bilall Kasami and Zeqirija Ibrahimi, chief editor of commanders rebranded as legitimate politicians, Shenja magazine, which is one of the most progaining enhanced social and political rights which Erdogan media outlets in Macedonia. were granted to Macedonia’s Albanian citizens. While armed hostilities ended nearly 17 years ago, Leaders of this political party deny having direct relations between the different groups are still raw. links with Turkey, but they openly follow Erdogan's line. In their first elections three years ago, they won Albanians are disadvantaged and neglected, and five seats in the Parliament. We sent questions to the continue to suffer from inequality. Macedonia BESA leaders, but they did not respond. denied their basic human rights. The Albanian language was not recognized until March of 2018, Professor Ymer Ismaili, one of the most critical when Macedonia's parliament passed a law voices in Macedonia, declared publicly during the extending the official use of the Albanian language, last elections in 2016 that the “BESA Movement is [a] despite massive Macedonian protests from the right- religious sect with the open mission of spreading Erdogan’s Islamic agenda among Albanians in wing opposition. Macedonia.” The country's Slavs and Albanians still live largely separate and do not enjoy equal rights. Erdogan has In a conversation with us, Ismaili said that Albanian used ethnic and political problems between nationals in the Balkans (especially in Macedonia) Macedonians and Albanians as a “golden are Erdogan’s favorite “target” because of their opportunity” to portray himself as the greatest religion, poverty, and functional educational defender of the Albanians. Meanwhile, all of illiteracy. “Erdoganism wants the Balkans ‘neoTurkey’s economic investments and trade deals are invasion,’ not with military but with financial and religious means to undermine the ‘Christian’ focused on the Macedonian side. Europe! In this ‘journey’ in certain situations, his According to the World Bank, in 2016 Turkey’s political-geostrategic ally is Putin’s Russia. Both are exports to Macedonia totaled $378 million and united in their personal cult and their mission: They imports amounted to $82.6 million. The Turkish both are ‘dictators’ and anti-Western”, said Ismaili. Statistics Institute (TÜ K) reports that around 100 Turkish businesspeople currently have investments Many Albanian emigrants, after the Second World worth 1.2 billion ($1.47 billion) in Macedonia. War and the establishment of the communist These investments are focused in the parts where regime, fled to Western European countries or the Macedonians live, while in the Albanian side US to find jobs or seek political asylum. “Almost Erdogan has invested in religious institutions to every Albanian family has one member in the West and can obviously distinguish between what the promote his Islamic agenda. West has to offer, culturally, politically, and in Erdogan has used Albanians as a trump card in his human rights, and what Erdogan can provide”, said economic and financial investments to Macedonia. Neziri. Nevertheless, they continue to be This way, he pretends to guarantee stability to the manipulated by Erdogan. Macedonian state by converting the troublesome Albanian nationalism into a strong Islamic identity The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (T KA), the Turkish government’s aid agency, among Albanians. maintains an office in Skopje staffed with a country In public speeches, Erdogan has repeatedly flirted coordinator and completed almost 600 projects in with corrupt Macedonian government officials. He Macedonia by the end of 2017. stated that Turkey and Macedonia share a bond of brotherhood and that “Turkey will always be on Yunus Emre, the Turkish government’s cultural promotion agency, is also active in Macedonia. Macedonia’s side.” According to Turkish Minute, “It is clear that Erdo an “For us, Ankara and Skopje have no differences and is pushing all the government agencies to focus on we will never leave our brothers alone, we will [Macedonia] with all sorts of schemes, ranging from always be with them, and we will always help and mosque building to establishing schools as part of a stand behind them,” Erdogan said in February 2018. grand design to create a vassal state that will be loyal to his Islamist rule.” In a conversation with Artan Grubi, a parliamentarian in Macedonia representing the To be sure, Erdogan’s “peaceful onslaught” on largest Albanian political party (the Democratic Macedonia has one and one purpose only: to Union for Integration, BDI), he stated that “The dominate the country under the guise of a long influence of the current Turkish government in the history of brotherly relations. This is Erdogan’s political setting in Macedonia is undoubtedly modern “Trojan Horse,” and the Albanians in Macedonia must realize that they are unwittingly serious and present.” falling into Erdogan’s trap. Erdogan does that “through government financial *The United Nations recognizes that country by the name of aid, cultural exchange, [and] serving as a role model FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). [to inspire] political parties and politicians such as the newly established entity BESA”, said Grubi, **Arbana Xharra authored a series of investigative reports on religious extremists and Turkey’s Islamic agenda operating in adding that the party he represents will not allow the Balkans. She has won numerous awards for her reporting, any marginal influences to stray them away from and was a 2015 recipient of the International Women of Courage Award from the US State Department.

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


Honor is due. It is time to put names and faces to these statistics, and to resurrect their stories which helped to safeguard the freedom that we as Americans and Greeks hold dear. These were the carriers of victory, generally unsung for their sacrifices, and well worthy of our attention.

I have been writing in this column at Neo Magazine for nearly nine years now. Nearly every month, I have had to come up with a topic relating to Hellenism, particularly the Diaspora, to bring to Neo Magazine’s analog and digital readership the insights (or ravings, occasionally) of this particular Diaspora Greek.

This is only the first step in my “Maritime Shift,” there will be more and other steps. Given the very human dimension to the Battle of the Atlantic, I want your stories. I plan on making the project interactive, where relatives of those who participated can provide both pictures and stories, so that this is truly collective history of Greeks who served on the seas as their ancestors had for thousands of years.

It is with great pleasure that I announce that I have been accepted, just shy of my half century mark, to attend Clemson University ’s Department of History as a master’s degree candidate. I also have the distinct honor to be an instructor on campus (though the undergraduates under my tutelage might think otherwise). Among the classes I am taking, my digital history class has taxed my very limited technological skills to the hilt, but a round table discussion with my fellow graduates brought forth in me a burst of clarity:

I must do my digital history project (and perhaps my master’s thesis) on a topic relating to the Greek Merchant Marine! I have to do this. For any number of reasons. First, what is more emblematic of Diaspora Hellenism than the Greek and Greek-owned ships plying all the oceans of the world. To discuss the Greek Diaspora one must, of necessity, speak of the Greek merchant marine legacy. But there is more.

Picture is of my grandfather who perished in The Battle of the Atlantic. Here's an excerpt of a letter sent home, with an old address

With this in mind, in addition to welcoming your stories after the site is live, I am happy to hear your stories and see your pictures of relatives who served in this awesome venture, and with your permission, to include them in our historical journey. Please contact me at to provide your stories, to honor their role in this epic clash.

grandfather), my grandfather, Alexandros Billinis, was killed in 1942 in the Battle of the Atlantic, that titanic struggle to supply the European battlefields. He went down several hundred nautical miles from the capes of North Carolina, killed by a shell from a UBoat after his ship had been torpedoed.

I am the son of a son of a sailor. Both sides of my paternal line were sailors. My paternal grandfather, from the Vatika “finger” of the Peloponnesus, was one of many sailors in his family, and I have found his relatives from Mozambique to Australia to South America, to the US. My maternal grandmother was the daughter of a Hydra captain, an island that needs no introduction in terms of its maritime tradition. My uncles by and large were at sea, in roles from captain to (the most common) engineer, to deckhand. Many of my cousins were, or married, merchant mariners. We are a naval family.

A cook 48 years old, my grandfather had spent well over half his life at sea and a couple of years in America, cooking for countless crews, and sending vital foreign currency home to a Greece shattered by the Asia Minor Disaster. He left a widow and four children; men like these provided their families with a livelihood during the chaos of post-World War One Greece. Almost 2,000 other Greek But there is still more. The man who I am named sailors met the same fate as after, the man who inspired my second book (a my grandfather in the cold tale, in part, about my grandfather ’s waters of the Atlantic. HELLENISM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018


"Then, I was a child helpless to react to everything that was happening. Now, I can help to correct an injustice of the past, to the extent that this can be done, because things will never be as previously. It is not just a thrill, but what's going on inside me reaches the limits of the shock," he said, emphasizing that this would be the beginning of a general rebirth of Hellenism on the island. The return of new couples who have children is of utmost importance for Mr. Kambouropoulos. "You have to prepare an educational environment for these children, otherwise it is like telling them to leave again. We are optimistic that we are building on a momentum that can signal better days in general.”

and this is a success for the school and its teachers," Christoforidis said, pointing that this year a student’s project was selected among hundreds from across Europe and would be awarded by CERN, the largest research center in the world. Besides the Greeks from Imvros who returned, there are also many other Greeks who decided to emigrate because of the economic crisis that affected Greece. One of them is the forty-fiveyear-old Vassilis Spiliotis from Athens, who three years ago decided to leave his life in the Greek capital and start anew with his wife and three children in Imvros.

As he explained to NEO, his life there is much calmer and he does not intend to return to Greece. "I had two shops in Athens, but the financial crisis has destroyed us. As soon as I heard that the Greek schools will be opened in Three years after the reopening of Imvros, I made the decision to go, not only the Greek schools in Imvros, because of financial problems but because I dozens of families returned to their Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, himself an Imvrian, homeland. "Several with parents and students of the Greek school families settled on I mvros because of It was September 2005—fifty-one years after the Turkish government's ban on Greek education schools. They were originally from the in Imvros and Tenedos islands--that the Greek island who wanted to return, but the High School in Imvros reopened its gates. It was lack of education was a hindrance. In the dream of hundreds of Greeks who were 2012 there was only one Greek child in forced to leave their island after the 1964 Imvros who went to a Turkish school. policies by Turkey that led to the expulsion of Today we have a total of 46 children and most her Greek inhabitants. The Lauzanne it seems impossible," says the President Treaty, by which the two islands were conceded of the Imvrian Society, Costas This year's Haghiasmos (Blessing ) at the school to Turkey, stipulated that their Greek Christoforidis. “At the same time, there inhabitants would have an autonomous status are many Turks who buy houses on the and manage their own affairs and education. island and they are supportive of our efforts. wanted to support the effort to revive the Greek Turkey unilaterally reneged on her signed They are concerned about our problems and a element on the island.” He now manages the obligations, forcing most people out and great solidarity has developed between us," he community cafe in the village of Agridia - the building prisons and bringing new settlers in underlines. All this would not have been village where the Greek schools are - and he is very pleased with the course of his life. When he from Anatolia. decided to emigrate, both his wife and children did not want to leave their lives in Athens. But The opening of the Greek school in now they have adapted and even his teenager Imvros, beyond the immense historical daughter did not want to go for studies to significance, has great practical value Greece. "She made friends here, she is truly for the few Greeks still living on the adapted and likes the island. But she had to island. It has also been a decisive factor leave for the university." in the return of many families. Among the people, who with their insistence The next objective of the Imvrian people is the and courage managed to give flesh and economic stabilization of those who made the blood to the dream of reopening the big decision to leave their lives in the big urban school, is the fifty-five-year-old teacher, centers of Greece and return to their roots. Ioakim Kambouropoulos. According to Mr. Christoforidis, some have Apassia, a new Greek café in Imvros already left their professional footprints in the He was seven years old when he had to tourism sector, which has been particularly leave his family and go to possible without the contribution of the flourishing in recent years. "The village of Agioi Constantinople to attend a Greek school. In Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – originally 2015, forty-five years later, he has returned to from Imvros, as was the late Archbishop Theodoroi is a miniature of Plaka with Greek the island as the director of the reopened Greek Iakovos - and some of the monasteries of Mount cafes and restaurants. This is how we want the other villages of the island to grow so that the High School, where he was once a pupil in the Athos. inhabitants gain wealth that will allow them to elementary classes, attending the courses in stay in the area. Tourism is the only industry Turkish. The school so far is quite successful. "All that can offer work because all the arable land students enter the university after graduation, in Imvros has been expropriated by the state." 30


The death of Patriarch Alexei II marked the end of the “cold era” contacts between Moscow and Constantinople and started a new epoch in inter-Orthodox relations. Kirill’s first foreign visit since his January 2009 election as Patriarch of Moscow was to Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Unity and ecumenism were priorities for Patriarch Kirill, and the 2009 visit and his address prove it. He even attempted to put pressure on the Turkish government to reopen the Orthodox Theological School of Halki. But this was then. Now, the relations between Moscow and Constantinople have drastically changed over Ukraine.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and fierce resistance from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. Responding to the president’s request, the Ecumenical Patriarch appointed two exarchs, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton in Kyiv in preparation “for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.” Patriarch Kirill of Moscow reacted to the new appointments, indicating the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is under the Patriarchate of Moscow’s territorial jurisdiction, and new and changed political boundaries and independence after the fall of the Soviet bloc do not apply to the territorial jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Why is the Mother Church intervening in Ukraine?

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

In preparation for the independence celebrations, on April 10, 2018, the Ukrainian President Petro Porošenko made a request to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew to create a new Ukrainian Orthodox Church and grant autocephaly to end the abnormity of three Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine. There are three Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine: 1) the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church), 2) the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (established in 1992, headed by Filaret Denisenko) and 3) the Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox Church (with the smallest number of faithful and parishes). Out of the three Orthodox jurisdictions, only the first is considered canonical, while the remaining two jurisdictions are considered “schismatic” and unrecognized by the Orthodox sister churches. The president’s decision to seek autocephaly from the Mother Church of Constantinople was supported by the majority of the Verkhovna Rada, the unicameral parliament of Ukraine. So, the request for autocephaly from Constantinople is not only a religious, ecclesiastical matter but a geopolitical urgency, which, if granted, will politically consolidate and unite Ukraine. The president’s request for autocephaly found support from the

Autocephaly is expected from the Mother Church of Constantinople as the “First Among Equals” among other autocephalous Orthodox Churches. But there are other requirements needed for granting autocephaly besides the primacy of the Mother Church of Constantinople: “The final and definitive decision concerning autocephaly belong [sic] to a Synod representing more generally the entirety of the local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, and especially to an Ecumenical Synod. Such decisions cannot be made by each local Autocephalous Church or by a local Synod of a Church from which a Diocese is requesting autocephaly. Such a local Synod has the right only to receive the first petitions for autocephaly and to form an opinion as to whether or not the reasons proffered for autocephaly are justified in accordance with the spirit of the 34th Apostolic Canon,” Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras wrote in his letter to Metropolitan Pimen, on June 24, 1970.

However, according to the media reports, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow seems more interested in exploring documents written after 1591. His Holiness desires “to hold a meeting of scholars and hierarchs at which it would be possible to discuss the historical documents concerning the question of the Kiev Metropolis’ inclusion into the Moscow Patriarchate in 1686.” The truth is that due to historical and ecclesial circumstances, the Kievan Metropolis was divided into three parts distributed among Russia, Poland and Turkey. Encountering enormous difficulties in choosing a single metropolitan for the territorially divided metropolis, in 1686, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople decided to transfer part of the Kievan Metropolis to the Moscow Patriarchate temporarily. This was never considered a permanent jurisdictional reassignment by the Mother Church of Constantinople of the Metropolis of Kiev under the authority of the Moscow Patriarch. If this was a permanent re-assignment, it would be anti-canonical, since in the letter of establishment of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1591 the limits of canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate were sanctioned and these limits did not in any way include the Kievan Metropolis, which included, under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. Moreover, for the ecclesial jurisdiction to be reassigned or revised, a synod of bishops needed to be convened and eventually approve the new ecclesial jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Any solutions to Moscow-Constantinople Tugof-War over Ukraine? Two possible outcomes are on the horizon and can be a reality if priorities are shifted. The first is a tomos of autocephaly from the Mother Church of Constantinople for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the elevation of Filaret Denisenko as Patriarch. The second is the establishment of a united Orthodox Church of Ukraine under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Can tug-of-war Lead to Unity? Yes, if unity returns and becomes a priority. Dis-unity and competition would be devastating on an already aching Body of Christ in the East and in the West.

Moreover, the Golden Seal Certificate of Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II in the year 1591, which authorized the establishment of the Moscow Patriarchate, defined the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. The certificate indicates that the Patriarch of Moscow “be counted among the other Patriarchs and his order in the Patriarchal ranks and the commemoration of his name in the services come after that of the Patriarch of Jerusalem; and that he be obliged to commemorate the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch, as well as the names of the other Ines Angeli Mur zaku is Professor of Patriarchs, but always considering as his Head Ecclesiastical History and Founding Chair of and First in rank, as do the other Patriarchs, the Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University. Apostolic Throne of Constantinople.” This article first appeared in NEWS & NOTES SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018


HERCULES: IN SEARCH OF A HERO Eclipses Group Theater New York (EGTNY ) presents Hercules: In Search of a Hero, based on Alcestis and Hercules by Euripides, conceived & directed by Ioanna Katsarou and translated by Demetri Bonaros. Hercules: In Search of a Hero is a new theater piece presented by a multi-ethnic cast, combining excerpts from Euripides’ plays Hercules and Alcestis with original material to explore the meaning of heroism in our time. In Alcestis, Hercules goes to the underworld and restores Alcestis to her family. In Hercules, he comes back from the underworld, is thrown into a god-induced frenzy and kills his own family. On the other hand, Alcestis sacrifices herself to save her family. Using as a launching point these two diametrically opposite actions by Hercules—the prototypical Greek hero—and Alcestis' differently heroic act, we explore what heroism is/is not/could be in a modern context. Using poetic language and images, the play challenges the conventional, masculine notion of heroism and contemplates a feminine alternative. It asks what counts as heroism in our time? Is an act heroic if it involves violence? Where is the place of women in the modern, Western mythology of heroism? And do we need to create new mythologies? Eclipses Group Theater New York (EGTNY ) is a nonprofit theater company that serves as a cultural bridge between Greece and the United States, promoting all forms of Greek drama, music, dance, poetry and literature. More on our website Limited Engagement: November 8, 9, 10 at 7:30 pm For tickets please call LPAC at 718-482-5151 or visit Tickets $18 For more information, those interested can contact Katerina Alexaki at 718-593-7289 or at email: Location: Mainstage of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center 31-10 Thomson Ave. Long Island City, NY 11101



On Friday, November 2, 2018 at 8:30pm, lovers of Greek music will be treated to an exceptional concert from AKTINA’s acclaimed series, Greek Music Journey 2018 with renowned Greek singer Babis Tsertos and his band at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on E. 68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues in Manhattan. Produced by Elena Maroulleti and co-presented by the non-profits, AKTINA Productions, Inc., and CYPRECO Of America, Inc., this new concert subtitled, “From Tsitsanis to Theodorakis” will revive the everlasting Rembetika (Greek blues) of Vasilis Tsitsanis and the great Laika (popular folk) of Mikis Theodorakis. Tickets are sold exclusively by the organizers and can be purchased online at or by calling 718-545-1151. The Babis Tsertos band is comprised by the leading musicians/soloists, Kostas Zaridakis, bouzouki, Kyriakos Gouventas, violin/baglama, Giannis Tsertos, piano, Kostas Tsekouras, guitar and Sofia Mermigka, vocals/kanonaki. Referring to the upcoming performance, the concert’s Executive Producer, Elena Maroulleti stressed that, “Babis Tsertos who captivated the audience during our sold out concert in November 2016 returns to New York for yet another captivating performance that pays tribute to two exceptional and world renowned songwriters of Greece, the great legends, Vasilis Tsitsanis and Mikis Theodorakis. Both Tsitsanis and Theodorakis have written their own unique history in Greek music with immense contributions which stand out to this day! We feel exceptionally honored to host once again Babis Tsertos and his distinguished musicians and we promise to all of our fans and friends a memorable evening filled with the most loved songs.” The concert which coincides with AKTINA’s 25th anniversary will also mark the closing ceremonies on this auspicious occasion. On Friday, October 26th at 11am at the corner of 27th Street and 23rd Avenue in Astoria, New York there will be a Street Co-Naming Ceremony in honor of AKTINA FM Radio on its 25th anniversary on behalf of the New York City Council and the City of New York. The street co-naming initiated by Council Member Costa Constantinides, after he passed the legislation in the NYC City Council, will co-name 27th Street between 23rd and 24th Avenues in Astoria, “AKTINA FM Way” in recognition of the outstanding contributions of AKTINA FM to the Greek American community and to all New Yorkers as a leading bilingual public service media outlet over the last 25 years. AKTINA FM is the first Greek American Radio to be honored by the New York City Council and the City of New York with a Street CoNaming. The event is open to the public. AKTINA FM Radio airs daily 24/7 from its own secure sites, and It is also available on Amazon Echo and other leading streaming sites online.

The Patriarch did thaiene right thing with Ukr The Ecumenical Patriarch did the right thing by finally conceding autocephalous status to the two schismatic Orthodox Churches in the Ukraine which had left the Church of Moscow after the country became independent. The Mother Church acted within her rights and responsibilities because the situation in the war-torn Ukraine had gone beyond the pale. Four (!) Orthodox Churches are competing for jurisdiction and the faithful. Add to the mixture the Uniates (Orthodox who accept the pope as their head) and you have a gluten- free dough which in no way could rise! History also favors the patriarchal decision because the Metropolis of Kiev was directly under Constantinople and it was temporarily transferred to Moscow somewhere in the 17th century. Moscow had all the time two patriarchs, Alexi and now Kirill, after the independence of the Ukraine, to find a solution through dialogue and cooperation.

Instead, it declared the churches that seceded from Moscow schismatic and things were left to become worse. Now Kirill calls for a council of Orthodox prelates to deal with the situation. Kind of late. First, Kirill and his sidekicks, the patriarch of Bulgaria and I believe of Serbia, boycotted last year's Panorthodox Synod in Crete. Then, he interrupted communion with Constantinople after the latter's decision to grant autochephaly to the Ukraine about a month ago. What kind of dialogue can you sustain with such a bully? As if the church canons and politics weren't complicated enough, the Ukrainian issue has also political parameters that could prove to be explosive. Russia has seized part of the country and pro-Russian militias have sway over big chunks of Ukrainian territory where Russian-speaking populations live. For Russia to lose Ukraine first territorially and now ecclesiastically is too hard to swallow. That's why Constantinople for so many years wasn't eager to deal with the problem, either. Putin must be furious and his first victim could be Kirill himself who is solely responsible in dealing with the issue in such a disastrous, for Moscow, way. And while none care much about Kirill, an oligarch who eagerly submitted his church to state and business interests, turning millions of Russians to Evangelical and Protestant denominations as a result, but amassing billions in dollars in return, Putin's wrath could be harmful to more. Thanks to his close relations with Turkey's autocrat Erdogan, he might exert mortal pressure on the Ecumenical

Patriarchate--as if its problems with the Turkish authorities weren't enough. Kirill might even take things on another level, by openly challenging Constantinople's primacy and elevating the dispute to a full schism by bringing along keen for money and power hierarchs from other Orthodox churches. Time will tell, but the Ecumenical Patriarchate cannot waste a minute before taking preemptive measures. Whatever the risks, Constantinople acted properly. Let us hope that this concession of autocephaly to the Ukraine will also lead to a concession of independence for our church in America and elsewhere. This way the Ecumenical Patriarchate will show consistency in applying the canons and extending the same maternal care and affection to our church as well.

P.S. 1) I congratulate Maria Menounos on her wedding! She's a wonderful person and deserves the very best! I've met Maria some years ago, but luckily for her I was married... 2) Political discourse in this country has turned into ...intercourse and not of the consensual kind! 3) It's raining cats and dogs but it's not pet friendly!!! 4) If you have a big heart, you MUST see a cardiologist!

Left to Right: Chicago Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf, Calamos Investments Founder John Calamos, Calamos Investments CEO John Koudounis and Chicago Bulls Legend Horace Grant.

The Chicago Bulls and Calamos Investments announced a multi-year partnership that makes the metropolitan Chicago-based global asset manager the first company to display its logo on the Bulls court apron in the United Center.

"Our special partnership with the Chicago Bulls aligns values that go beyond typical sponsorship agreements," said John Koudounis, Chief Executive Officer of Calamos Investments. He continued, "Not only do we share our love of Chicago, but both our businesses depend on teamwork, strategy and high levels of execution to succeed for the long term. We are confident that Calamos' affiliation with the Chicago Bulls' renowned franchise will support the visibility of our global brand as we continue to execute our growth strategy."

Calamos will sponsor a new Chicago Bulls "Rising Player" content franchise that will appear regularly on the team's social media channels throughout the season highlighting a player whose performance is on the rise. The partnership also provides Calamos with digital signage in-arena, as well as access to unique Bulls hospitality experiences. Calamos Investments is a diversified global investment firm offering innovative investment “Today's announcement represents the strategies including alternatives, multi-asset, beginning of a strong relationship between the convertible, fixed income, and equity. The firm Chicago Bulls and Calamos, a company that shares our belief in the value of hard work and a commitment to true partnership," said Michael Reinsdorf, President and COO. "We gave a great deal of consideration to what company would be featured so prominently on the court when we play at the United Center, and so we are thrilled to have a company of the Calamos's caliber be the first to have its logo on our court apron."



is ranked #1 in asset flows within Morningstar's alternative mutual fund category for 2018 and has seen significant overall asset growth in recent years. Clients include major corporations, pension funds, endowments, foundations and individuals, as well as the financial advisors and consultants who serve them. Headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan area, the firm also has offices in London, New York, San Francisco, and the Miami area. For more information, please visit This story was first published at

NEO magazine - September / October 2018  

Every issue will feature profiles of prominent Greek Americans and what they’ve done this year, what they’ve done in their lives, what polit...

NEO magazine - September / October 2018  

Every issue will feature profiles of prominent Greek Americans and what they’ve done this year, what they’ve done in their lives, what polit...