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Celebrating Greek Letters

Three Hierarchs Community Commemorates Feast Day -

Honors Chris P. Tomaras of Chicago


New York City - In a church filled to capacity with faithful from Brooklyn and other parts of New York, the Vespers service of the feast day of the Three Hierarchs was held on Tuesday, January 29, at the Church of the Three Hierarchs in Brooklyn.


The event was celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios who, together with 14 priests, (six of which were Archimandrites) and two deacons, along with a glorious chanting team, offered an experience of religious splendor to all attendees. The church proistamenos, the Very Reverend Father Eugene N. Pappas, addressing the crowd noted: "His Eminence has been the celebrant of these Vespers every year for the last 14 years, ever since his enthronement as Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. We are deeply grateful for His love and attention to this church community."


The Three Hierarchs, also known as the Great Fathers of the Church, who lived during the 3rd century AD, are recognized as the proponents, the protectors and the preservers of the Greek language and the Greek Letters in the largest dimension. But in a greater sense, they were also the great theologians and the educators of their time. To commemorate their accomplishments, their namesake church community in Brooklyn organizes an illustrious event each year immediately after Vespers service, and honors a member of the Greek American Community who has excelled in his or her field of endeavor with an award. This year, the honoree was Mr. Chris P. Tomaras who was selected for his dedication and contribution to education, and his support of Greek American college students. 


(L to R): Theodore Pavlounis, Legal Counsel; Chris P. Tomaras, Honoree; Jack Chrisomalis, Parish President; The V. Rev. Eugene Pappas, Parish Proistamenos; His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America


Mr. Tomaras, a Chicago businessman, is the founder and chairman of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, which for years has been offering $250,000 annually in scholarships of $10,000 each to Greek American students from all over the U.S. In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Tomaras noted, "Our Foundation has a single mission: To promote education by providing scholarships and educational programs to Greek American students who, guided by the values of their Hellenic upbringing, have the potential to become life-long significant achievers and contribute meaningfully to society. Our goal is to help build a better America through Education and Hellenism and, in that spirit, help strengthen the civic fabric and deliver enlightened and engaged citizens."


Tomaras continued, "The teachings of the Three Hierarchs are deeply revered and have been closely followed throughout the centuries including today. Of their monumental accomplishments, I would like to focus on their contribution to education. It is the one subject I am very close to, and the one I have been deeply involved in during the last 15 years. I created the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation with the goal of ensuring that financially challenged college students, whose outstanding academic performance merits recognition, have the support they need to complete their education and reach outstanding success."


In his address to the audience, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios confirmed the successes of today's educated members of the Greek American Community, who are positioned in 2nd place in the U.S. following the Jewish Community, in the areas of education instruction, science, and business, among others. This was clearly demonstrated by the admiration and respect His Eminence and representatives of the Community received at the recent presidential inauguration.


(Adults L to R): Greek Consul Evangelos Kyriakopoulos; Domenic M. Recchia; Chris P. Tomaras; Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sophianou; His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America; V. Rev. Eugene Pappas; School Teacher


A grand plaque with an icon of the Three Hierarchs and a congratulatory dedication was presented to Mr. Tomaras, who promised to share with his sister, also present at the event. Another plaque with a proclamation was offered to him by Domenic M. Recchia, Chairman of the Finance Committee of the City of New York.


The Vespers and the event that followed were also attended by Consul Evangelos Kyriakopoulos of Greece, the Consul General of Cyprus, Koula Sophianou, the Parish President Jack Chrisomalis, and members of the Parish Council and the Community.


For more information on the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, its programs, and its commitment to Hellenism and education, please visit our website today.