2016 Metropolis Awards Dinner
On Sunday, June 12 over 750 stewards from throughout New England gathered at Lombardo's in Randolph to honor the recipients who were designated by the parish of the Metropolis of Boston. Christos and Mary Papoutsy were the masters of ceremonies for the evening’s program.
2016 Awards Dinner
Metropolitan Methodios’ Remarks
Tonight, we gather as our church commemorates the Sunday of the Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Synod which was summoned in the year 325 AD in Nicaea, a city of Bithynia. It was during that synod that 318 fathers of the church – in one united voice – declared that the Son and Logos of God is “true God of true God, begotten, not created of one essence with the Father through whom all things were made”. It was the first ecumenical synod of bishops that composed the first seven articles of the Creed. The remaining articles were issued at the second ecumenical synod in Constantinople in 381 AD.
In a few days, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will convene the Holy and Great Council in Crete during which Orthodox churches from throughout the world will gather to address issues of critical importance. His All Holiness had every hope that this gathering would be an opportunity to move together as an Orthodox Church. “Synodos” in Greek means “being on the same journey.” It was the hope and vision of Patriarch Bartholomew that all Orthodox Churches would journey together in the 21st Century, and take the first step in that journey at the Holy and Great Council in Crete. Sadly, as the Council approaches, conflicts and uncertainties intensify. Several churches – Antioch, Bulgaria, and Georgia – may not attend. We all hoped that the council in Crete would have an impact on Orthodoxy similar to that which Vatican II had on Roman Catholicism, especially in the pursuit of unity within Orthodoxy. Of vital importance is the question, “What does it mean to function as a united church – as one church in the diaspora - for example here in America where all fourteen autocephalous churches are represented. Do we continue ministering to our own national group or to the Orthodox faithful together? Can Orthodoxy in America face the challenges of the contemporary world – whether these are social, economic, military, or environmental – with one voice?
Another question: Is Orthodoxy going to continue to dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and participate in the World Council of Churches, or will it succumb to fears and suspicions that those who engage in dialogue with non-orthodox churches are bargaining and betraying the faith? We have treasures to share from the Gospels, the writings of the Fathers and the wisdom acquired through many centuries of believers following in our Lord’s footsteps, living in the grace of the Resurrection. Many in the West want to hear the voice of Orthodoxy, They want to quench their spiritual thirsts at the well of Orthodoxy just as the Samaritan Woman did at Jacob’s Well. As an Orthodox theologian recently wrote, “It will be a betrayal of everything we hold dear if the result of the Council is that the world perceives the Orthodox apparently concerned solely with themselves in a fearful and introspective way.”
I ask you, how long must Orthodoxy be held captive by a vocal minority who measure their fidelity to the faith by their narrow-minded reasoning?... By the length of their beards and komboskinia… Who feel that the doors and shutters of our faith must be kept closed for fear of change lest Orthodoxy be contaminated and betrayed. May “the Holy Spirit, the living fountain of reason, the spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of goodness and honesty, of intelligence and sovereignty” confound their divisive tongues and dispense the fiery tongues of Pentecost upon those who gather in Crete calling them to unity.
Thirty years ago, we gathered as a family of parishes to express our gratitude to our clergy and laity who contribute their time and talent to our parishes throughout New England.
I wanted to say thank you to our dedicated clergy who have answered the call of God to serve as His priests. We here in New England are truly blessed with priests and deacons who serve “from the morning watch until night” the spiritual needs of the faithful entrusted to their care. I wanted to say thank you to the laity who volunteer as catechetical and Greek School teachers, as chanters, as members of the choir, as members of the parish council and the Philoptochos society. I wanted to express my appreciation to ladies who bake the prosforo and prepare the kolyva for memorial services. I wanted to say thank you to those who work during church festivals, etc.
I wanted all of us to read the pages of our parish histories written by those whom we honor, pages written with the pen of faith, the ink of vision and spiritual boldness. Wherever I traveled over the past year I was able to witness firsthand the progress of our parishes as they rightly teach the Word of God’s Truth. I want to especially commend our parishes in Danielson, CT - Bangor, ME – Burlington, VT - Pittsfield MA and Centerville MA which I visited recently. It was a particular joy for me to share fellowship with the priests and devout laymen of these communities, which are radiant beacons of our faith heritage.
Thirty times we have come to the Ministry Awards Dinners – to these banquets of achievement, to these tables of thanksgiving, - to strengthen the bond of unity that links us to the past and bridges us to the future – that bond of faith, of love and commitment which unites us in mind and spirit.
Believe it or not, over fifteen-hundred brethren have been honored since the first ministry awards banquet or as it was known back then, “the laity awards dinner.”
Since the last ministry Awards Banquet, I am happy to report that we have made considerable progress in our Philoxenia House ministry. Thanks to Fr. Vasilios Bebis, Eleni Pantelis and Maria Tamvakologos that ministry is going very well. We hosted many families that traveled to Boston from throughout the world for medical purposes. Thanks to a generous bequest, we undertook a renovation project for the building which is still underway.
Mike Sintros and his crew at the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center were especially busy this past year. The occupancy rate is continuing to increase. Among the programs hosted were the National Orthodox and Roman Catholic Bishops Committee co-chaired by myself and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and the Orthodox Roman Catholic Theological Consultation which celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, having stared in 1965 thanks to the visionary leadership of Archbishop Iakovos and Roman Catholic Bishop Flanagan of Worcester. Those brethren who recently visited the Faith and Heritage center for the first time were very impressed with the facilities and complimentary of Mike Sintros and his staff.
Since last year we have constructed two new cabins which makes it possible to welcome more youngsters to our camp programs. These beautiful additions were made possible by donations made in memory of the late Catherine Pappas and Leo and Eva Condakes. Thanks to the Alpha Omega Council, we will provide our youngsters with a new state-of-the-art soccer field to go along with a beautiful outdoor basketball court recently donated by Bessie Condakes in loving memory of her son Peter. This September we will break ground for an additional building to replace our office headquarters.
Let me at this point cordially invite you to our open house on Saturday, September 17th when we will dedicate all the new facilities. We will begin the day with a Divine Liturgy. It is the feast of St. Sophia and her three daughters, Faith, Hope and Love. We will have a special memorial service for our dear Sophia Nibi whom we all miss very much.
I also invite you to participate in our Golf Tournament scheduled for Monday, September 26th at the Andover Country Club. Proceeds from this great event are earmarked to provide scholarships to children to attend our camp programs which now include spring and fall sessions in addition to the summer and winter camp programs.
Our summer camp officially opens June 29th with Family Camp week and runs through August 8th.
The 2016 honorees ate listed below:
Recipient of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios
Fr. George and Presbytera Athanasia Papademetriou
Saint Sophia, New London Milton Papathanasiou
Holy Trinity, Norwich Lawrence Wyland
St. George, Bangor Dr. David Michael Walter
Holy Trinity, Lewiston David LeGloahec
Sts. Constantine & Helen, Andover James & Georgia Kiladis
Saint Athanasius, Arlington Ioannis K. Moutsatsos
Annunciation Cathedral, Boston Mary Hatzis
St. John the Baptist, Boston Vasilios & Eleni Pesiridis
Saint Catherine, Braintree Gregory Zacharakis
Annunciation, Brockton Vasiliki Palantzas
Sts. Constantine & Helen, Cambridge Ioanna Doulis & the
late Athanasios Doulis
Saint George, Centerville Emilios Rigas
Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Cohasset Niki Zervas
Saint George, Dartmouth Mark Harrington
Saint Luke, East Longmeadow Jordan Chatis
Saint Demetrios, Fall River Atha Salpoglou
Holy Trinity, Fitchburg Marcia Karis Pinault
Holy Apostles/Sts. Peter & Paul, Haverhill Aristedes Pardales
Holy Trinity, Holyoke James & Janet Maynard
Assumption, Ipswich Perry & Kathie Eliopoulos
Saint Nicholas, Lexington James & Helen Pitarys
Holy Trinity, Lowell Vasiliki Kourkoulakos
Transfiguration, Lowell George & Jill Laganas
Saint Gregory, Mansfield Stephen & Diana Drugas
Sts. Anargyroi, Marlboro Peter Chrisafedeis
Annunciation, Newburyport Charles Neos
Saint Vasilios, Peabody Bessie Bentas Silva
Saint Nectarios, Roslindale Georgia Teloniatis
Dormition of the Virgin Mary, Somerville Fotini Tivinis
Saint George Cathedral,Springfield Debra Stathis Ciejek
Taxiarchae, Watertown Spiros H. Pappas
Sts. Constantine & Helen, Webster Pauline Angelo
Saint Demetrios, Weston Christos & Eugenia Kourlos
Annunciation, Woburn Lucille & The Late Angelo Kiklis
Saint Spyridon Cathedral, Worcester Georgia Parafestas
Holy Trinity, Concord Effie Theodorou Makris
Annunciation, Dover Siroun Roubian-Braun
Taxiarchai, Laconia Mary Noucas Garside
Assumption, Manchester Evangelia Gregorious
Saint George, Manchester Timothy A. Giotas
Saint Philip, Nashua Dorothy Pitarys
Saint Vasilios, Newport Constantine Vlahakis
Saint Nicholas, Portsmouth Jim & Melissa Bouzianis
Annunciation, Cranston Roula & Kostantinos Proyous
Saint Spyridon, Newport Aliki Cooper
Assumption, Pawtucket Georgia & Nikoletta Tsimortos
Dormition of the Mother of God, Burlington Nicholas & Sally Pitt