On Sunday, June 1 the Greek Orthodox family of New England will gather at Lombardo’s in Randolph for the 2008 annual reunion.  They will come from throughout New England and from almost every parish in the Metropolis of Boston.  As they have for the past 21 years, they will came to celebrate stewardship of time and talents, to renew friendships and to make new ones.  They will came to receive the blessings and the appreciation of the spiritual leader and father of the Metropolis, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios.  Parishioners will cheer the recipients from each community, applauding their commitment and dedication as the Metropolitan presents each the 2008 Ministry Award Certificate. 


Metropolitan Methodios instituted the Ministry Awards Dinner in 1987.  It is an annual gathering of the Greek Orthodox Family of New England which is greatly anticipated and well attended.  It is a gathering which gives Metropolitan Methodios the opportunity to express appreciation to those who provide enthusiastic and continuous service to their parishes.  Says Metropolitan Methodios:  "Every year in June, we gather as a family at the Metropolis Awards Dinner to express our gratitude to the faithful who do so much for their local parishes; to thank the men and women who labor --- often anonymously, just as the saints of our Church.  In my travels throughout New England, I have been blessed to meet faithful who, each according to the gifts and talents received from the Holy Spirit, have done so much to enhance the ministry of their communities…." 

The 2008 recipients include: 

Arthur & Edna Vogel are life-long, active and faithful members of the Saints Constantine & Helen Parish in Webster, MA.  Arthur has spent many years on the Parish Council, serving as president two different terms, once in the 1980s, and most recently from 2004-06.  He has offered his stewardship of talents in a variety of ways, playing a major role in the church festivals, overseeing the grounds of the church, and doing whatever was needed to help the parish.  Edna has also worked for the parish in a variety of ways, serving as a Parish Council member throughout the 1990s, taking an active part in the Philoptochos and serving on its Boards, as well as being a life-long member of the Choir.


Sophia Terzakis is the choice of the Annunciation Parish in Brockton, MA where she was born in 1928.   Three years later she accompanied her father back to Greece.  She has many fond memories of her early teen years living in Athens.  During World War II, the occupation and the Greek Civil War was struggle for Sophia, then a teenager.  In 1954, she returned to Brockton with her late husband, Nicholas, and their two young sons, four-year-old George and three-year-old Arthur.  Living in the neighborhood where the Annunciation Church is located, the family found spiritual and education support.  A Philoptochos Woman, and a committee member of the Annual Church Food Festival, Sophia visits the Philoxenia House on a regular basis, bakes, cooks and participates in all events, and makes koliva for the memorial services.  She is also a proud member of the Pan-Macedonian Association, Daughters of Olympias Chapter.


Michael & Janice Dionis from the Spyridon Cathedral in Worcester, MA.  Michael is a life long member of the Cathedral and past officer on the Parish Council, Stewardship Committee, House Committee, Budget Committee, and Investment Committee.  He is the current Secretary for the Family Center’s Building Committee where Janice is a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. Together they are members of the Special Events and Grecian Festival Committees where Michael has been a volunteer since the Festival’s inception in 1976.  Michael was Grecian Festival Chairman in 2006 and is Cochairman for this year’s 2008 Festival.  Janice has chaired the Main Food Line of the Festival since 2002 where she volunteered with her husband since 1992.         

            Michael and Janice have been volunteers with the Orthodox Food Pantry, the Cathedral’s annual Golf Tournament, and are members of Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation’s Treasured Generations 500 program.  On the Sundays where Michael has Pangari duty Janice is the Coffee Hour Lead.  They have also been active with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Worcester for 20 years.

            Michael and Janice have two children, Matthew, a graduate of Penn State University and Kaitlin, a graduate of Assumption College.  Both children were proud graduates of the Cathedral’s Church School with Matthew the recipient of the Philoptochos Scholarship and Kaitlin the recipient of the George Cocaine award. 


Katerina Gregoriou has been a  faithful member of the St. George Church in Lowell, MA for 18 years, since coming to America from Kalamata..  She was married and baptized her children in this church where  she has been a Church School teacher, a member o the Philoptochos, and serves on the Parish Council. She has been a mentor for many parishioners and has helped with many programs and events of the Parish.  A loving and hard working wife and mother of three, Katerina is employed full time by the UMass- Lowell.  She is always available and can be depended upon to do whatever is necessary to assist with the progress of and beautification of the St. George Parish..

Mary Nicholaides, a longtime parishioner of the Transfiguration Church in Lowell, has spent much of her life finding ways to serve the church, Mary is one of only three women in the parish’s 83-year history to serve two separate terms as president of Philoptochos, leading the Parish’ philanthropic organization from 1976-78 and 1987-91. She also has served many years as a member of that organization’s board of directors, including terms as secretary, treasurer and chairperson of visitations to shut-ins and nursing home residents.   Mary has been chanting in the choir for more than 50 years. Honoring the memory of her parents, Nicholas and Vasilike Nicholaides, (her father was one of the founding fathers of the parish) Mary participates in all church activities and events such as the Tuesday Morning Group, the Grecian Festivals, the 65th and 75th anniversary committees, food fairs and other fundraisers.   For many years she served as a parish representative to the Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches of the Merrimack Valley.


Kyriaki Vamvakas, a dedicated steward of the Dormition Church in Somerville, is a Philoptochos woman who has served on the organization’s board and works tirelessly towards the success of all parish activities and events.  Kyriaki and her family became stewards at the Dormition in 1970.  She retired from an Electronic Company in Watertown in 2000.  She was born in Piraeus, Greece in 1938 to pious parents, Ifegenia and Demitrios Kaplaneris.  The faith they taught her and which she nurtured in her own life, helped her through very difficult times---two open heart surgeries, the loss of her mother, her husband, Nicholas, and her daughter Ifegenia at the age of 40.  It is her unconditional belief in God that has given her the strength to go on in life.


George Poulopoulos is the man everyone depends on to organize an event or to assist with some project art the St. George Cathedral in Springfield.  A former parish council officer, maintenance committee and building committee member, George plays the role of Indian better than anyone, allowing others to be the chief!  The Cathedral can always count on him to fix things, to help cook, clean, set-up, break down or anything else that might be happening.  He is one of the hardest working stewards of the community.  Most of all, he is always there to welcome people to the church or to greet anyone with a smile and a kind word.  Oftentimes he is the voice of reason in meetings, and helps to keep discussions focused and cordial.  George is a retired police officer in the city of Springfield.  He and his wife of more than 50 years, Kay, are blessed with their children and grandchildren.


Antonia (Toni) Marshall is a steward of the St. Gregory the Theologian Parish.  Says Toni, “My faith and love for my parish and the Orthodox Church are the foundation of my life and dictate the person that I am.”  Growing up, her family and church were the center of her being.  She was a GOYAn and chanted in the choir.  She taught Church School for 19 years and illustrated many of the church school curriculum books for the Archdiocesan Department of Religious Education.  A talented graphic artist, Antonia creates the Parish’s Annual Christmas cards and newsletters.  A beautiful Commemorative Album of the community is the also the result of her artistic talent.  Antonia who was on the Altar flower committee for many years, currently serves on the Philoptochos Board, is a volunteer usher, assists in the church bookstore, and is the gardener for the church grounds   Her entire family, including her grandchildren share her love and commitment to God and His Church.


Pauline Petras is the choice of the St. Catherine’s Parish in Braintree.  A devout Orthodox Christian with a pleasant personality, Pauline was born and raised in Boston by her devout parents, Efstathios and Aphrodite Droutsas.   The family worshipped at the St. John the Baptist Church where she attended Church and Greek schools.  Following her marriage to Evangelos Petras from Athens, Greece, the couple founded and operated a dry cleaning business in Quincy.  Selfless and generous, Pauline is always ready to offer material support and hard work in the promotion of worthy causes, especially as they relate to the ministries of the parish.  A Philoptochos woman, she is a member of the Parish Council and the Building Committee, chants in the choir and assists the Church School staff.  Pauline and her husband are passionate volunteers who offer countless hours of service to the St. Catherine parish.


Steven Mellekas follows his family tradition of church service to the St. Spyridon Parish in Newport, RI   Although he runs a restaurant that heavily depends on weekend traffic, he makes it a point to get to church on Sundays as often as possible.  He has served for several years on the Parish Council and has been the backbone of the community Greek festival.  His leadership style has always been one of gentleness, always striving for peace and harmony among the parishioners.  It is clear to all who know him that Steven has a deep rooted respect for the Orthodox Church, the St. Spyridon Parish and the Hierarch of the Church.  He is a family man who goes to great lengths for his immediate family, his parents, his brothers and sisters and their families, and the church family.


Mark and Sandra Miminos who have lived in Lexington for more than 20 years are stewards at the St. Nicholas Parish where Mark has served on the Parish Council, he is currently the Building Committee Chairman, and Sandra is a member of the Philoptochos Society, supporting the Philoxenia House, St. Basil’s Academy and local food pantries.  The couple also supports the parishes where they grew up and which shaped their formative years.  Sandra grew up at the St. Demetrios Church in Saco, ME where she chanted in the choir.  Mark grew up at the Dormition Parish in Somerville where he also served on the Parish Council.  Their sons, Anthony and Gregory are also stewards of the St. Nichola Parish.  Mark is the President of American Food Systems, a business that includes his brothers, sons, nephew and Godson.  The couple enjoys leisure time cruising from Cape Cod to Long island and the coast of Maine.  They have also sailed in the San Juan Islands and British Columbia with stops in Mexico, Costa Rica.  Mark and Sandra Miminos are members of tthe Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards (FOS) of the Metropolis of Boston and the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100.


Georgia (Stergios) Manolakos is one of the eldest parishioners of the Annunciation Parish in Cranston, RI.  At the age of 89, “You can’t slow her down,” says her Pastor, Fr. Andrew George.  “She is one of the sweetest ladies you ever want to meet, always so kind to people.”  Georgia was raised in the Annunciation Parish since birth, always being immersed in parish programs.  Her parents, Andrew and Christina were from Greece, Andrew from Messinia, Christina from Sparta.  Married at the age of  21 to the late George Manolakos, Georgia has served on the Philoptochos Board in various capacities since she was a young bride.  She was the first chairman of the Christmas Bazaar which has become a major fund raiser of the philanthropic organization.  Well known for her fine pastries, especially kourabiedes, Georgia has made many Altar boy vestments and coverings for the Holy Altar.  She has also made vestments for Fr. John Limberakis when he was the Pastor of the community.


Margarita (Marney) Grimes is a life-long member of the Annunciation Parish in Woburn.  A member of GOYA, she received the Philoptochos Scholarship as a graduating High School senior.  Margarita a graduate of the School of Fashion Design in Boston,  is the co-director of Church School.  One of the highlights of her involvement is acting as director for the Annual Christmas Pageant.  Margarita, the current president of the  Philoptochos, is also co-advisor to GOYA.  She helps coordinate and run the Good Friday Retreats, has chaired the Annual Festival, works on parish fundraisers and supports youth organizations, including the Metropolis of Boston Faith & Heritage Center Programs.  Her service is always offered with faith, love, and compassion.


David Kalivas, a long time steward of the Sts. Constantine & Helen Parish in Andover, MA, has served the community in numerous ways over the years: as Festival Chairman, Parish Council member, member of the Greek School Committee, Usher, Chanter, Liturgical Reader; Chairman of numerous Dinner Dances and Coordinator of the Midnight Pascha Agapi Meal.   Most recently he has served as Parish Council President and Building Committee Chairman for the past 7 years and was instrumental in leading the building project of the parish’s brand new Family Life Center.  David is a consummate unifier, always working for the good of the unity of the parish. Whatever project or task he undertook, he saw it through from start to finish.  His kind heart, unyielding commitment, respect for the clergy and visionary leadership has been one of the main reasons for the growth and expansion of this parish.
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