Community-Online - February 10, 2003
Socrates School of Montreal
an educational model for Hellenism Abroad
The official inauguration of the Archbishop Spyridon Foundation for Hellenic Education and Culture took place at Terrace On The Park in Queens, New York, on Saturday, February 1, 2003, with the participation of former Archbishop of America Spyridon, prominent American politicians and members of the Greek-American community.
The Socrates School of Montreal received $100,000 in the presence of the president of the Hellenic Community of Montreal Mr. Bill Katsambanis and the Executive Committee $100,000 U.S. as the foundation's first donation. The money is intended to fund bursaries for pupils from lower-income families.
The inauguration event was introduced by Dr. William Tenet, distinguished cardiologist and head of the Kyrinia Center for Cardiovascular Diseases in New York. The crowd of 1500 people embraced Archbishop Spyridon crying AXIOS (Worthy) In his speech, His Eminence stressed: "The source of inspiration for setting up our Foundation was last year's visit to the Montreal Hellenic Community Greek Day School "Socrates" which is indeed an educational model for all Greek schools outside Greece. John Catsimatidis' idea to create a new platform to promote our cultural heritage immediately touched the hearts of us all. It is truly humbling to have such friends as the men and women who have banded together to offer yet another creative means dedicated to the active preservation and enhancement of elliniki paideia, the legacy of our rich Greek Orthodox Tradition".
Speeches on Archbishop Spyridon Foundation's goals were delivered by Dr. John Rassias, professor at Dartmouth College and chairman of the commission which wrote "The Future of the Greek Language and Culture in the United States: Survival in The Diaspora" ("The Rassias Report"); John Catsimatidis, president of the Foundation; Eve Condakes, vice president; Justine Frangouli-Argyris, journalist and author of Spyridon's biography; and Georgia Kaloidis, chairman of the Organizing Committee.
There was also a book signing of Archbishop Spyridon's biography The Lonely Path of Integrity (Greek and English versions by Exandas Publishers). The author Justine Frangouli-Argyris, who spoke of the connection of her book with the new Foundation, signed over 500 copies. The 10.000 dollars collected that night were donated to Archbishop Spyridon Founation, already endowed with $1,000,000.
The Foundation, which bears the name of the former Archbishop of America, aims to fulfill his vision of promoting Hellenic education and culture throughout the diaspora. It is an objective that Spyridon considered an essential priority throughout his ministry in Italy and in America. Now that massive emigration from Greece has ended and that conditions in countries that host Greek immigrants have changed dramatically, it is imperative to preserve Hellenic culture.