NEW YORK – Forty seven Greek-Americans and Philhellenes were initiated into the historic Delphi #25 chapter of the Order of AHEPA at Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Manhattan on January 29, signaling the revival of one of the most storied chapters in the history of the international fraternal organization.
The subdued elegance and the dark wood paneling of Gallagher’s Steakhouse makes for an inviting atmosphere, but the evening’s warmth flowed from the atmosphere of brotherhood among men drawn by an organization that promises mutual support and the opportunity to express their Hellenic identity on multiple planes through social, cultural, and philanthropic activity.
The turnout of national and regional officials who came to welcome the new members and congratulate those whose recruiting and planning efforts foretell a bright future was impressive.
c looking not a bit jetlagged after an historic 10-day journey with Greek and Jewish-American leaders highlighted by meetings with high officials including the prime ministers of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel, was delighted to fly in to New York for the ceremony before returning to his home in Milwaukee, WI.
Joining Galanis to acknowledge the chapter’s renewal spearheaded by its new president Argyris S. Argitakos and Vice President Louis Katsos and the dynamic team they assembled were Supreme Vice President Andrew C. Zachariades, past Supreme President and current Chairman of the Board Nicholas Karacostas, Sons of Pericles President Andreas Christou, and the Sons’ Advisor Jimmy Kokotas.
The guests were welcomed by Argitakos and the simple program was designed to not interfere with the fellowship, leaving lessons on the history and mission of the order to the future for those enthusiastic new members who did not grow up in what is known as the AHEPA family, which includes the Daughters of Penelope women’s auxiliary and the Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena Youth Organizations.
Speakers did briefly note some of AHEPA’s programs, including its vast and vital national network of senior citizens housing, its scholarships, and its AHEPA Journey to Greece educational and cultural program for youth.
The veterans have already begun to discuss the areas of interests of the new recruits – AHEPA has survived and thrived, unlike many community organizations, partly because it is a service organization.
Guests were surrounded by banners and placards presenting the Hellenic and American values of the organization, which were reflected in the oath they took, the Greek and American national anthems, and the invocation offered by Fr. John Vlahos, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral.
At the appointed time the new members heard the stentorian voice of James Zafiros call them to the front of the room. They were then asked to place their left hands on the shoulders of their fellow recruits and to raise their right hand. After repeating the oath of the Order recited by the Supreme President, the solemnity of the moment transitioned to celebration as the new members received rousing applause from their new brothers.
The evening was dedicated to the memory of James A. Poll, whose son Dean Poll serves as President of the Board of Holy Trinity Cathedral and is the owner of Gallagher’s, hosted the event.
The Delphi chapter’s officers include Executive Secretary Michael Papaphotes, Secretary Jimmy Douloumbakas, and Treasurer Chris Karis and Argitakos thanked the members of the New Rochelle chapter #405 for their assistance with the auspicious event.