NEW YORK – The Harvard Club in New York is decorated to the nines for Christmas – one of the most glorious trees in Manhattan can be found there – and this year it was again scene more of the Annunciation–Evangelismos Church’s Mistletoe Gala.
The opening reception for the dinner was held in venerable Harvard Hall with its portraits of illustrious alums like FDR – and the tree that soars to the ceiling.
After the guests for the dinner passed into the neighboring Main Dining Hall, young professionals filled the space for fun, fellowship and a delicious buffet – but they were welcome to follow the sit-down diners other hall for dancing.
The guests were greeted by Fr. Chrysostomos Gilbert, the Annunciation’s pastor. The gala is the parish’s main fundraising event, but Fr. Gilbert reminded that “stewardship is not just a financial contribution. It’s about gifts, he said, and added that the church welcomes everyone’s time and talent, not only their treasure.
Fr. Gilbert called the event a family gathering. “All of you who are members and friends of the Annunciation,” including Amb. George Iliopoulos, the Consul General of Greece, and his wife Anthousa, whom he acknowledged, “are a family…Today as a family we break bread together, dance, and enjoy fellowship.”
The pastor thanked everyone who contributed to making it a special night, including Casandra Romas, who once again served at gala chairperson.
Parish Council President Dr. John Getsos also praised Romas, “who year after year,” oversees the planning and the affair “with grace and purpose,” and thanked Fr. Gilbert for his spiritual leadership.
Dr. Getsos also thanked all the people who make Evangelismos a great parish, including the Sunday and Greek school teachers, choir members and all the staff and volunteers. He gave a brief history of the parish founded in 1892 that is approaching its 125th anniversary.
2014 has been a good year. Father Gilbert told TNH the parish is very happy with the renovation of Demas Hall. Two Sunday school grades were added this year, the Greek dancing and Young Professionals groups are growing and Father Gilbert holds a Synaxia discussion group that meets after Paraklesis services twice a month.
On January 11th there will be a procession to the Hudson River for the blessing of the waters
The parish also participates in Midnight Run, a consortium of more than 150 religious institutions. They gather clothes from people who wish to donate to the homeless and also distribute food at designated locations. Evan Tsevdos coordinates the project.
Marilena Christodoulou, the Director of Finance & Administration of the Rubin Museum of Art, and her husband Ari live on the East side of Manhattan, but they enjoy attending the gala and supporting Evangelismos, which she said is “a special place. They have great programs and events.”
Staz Tsiavos comes for fellowship and to remember Fr. James Moskovites of blessed memory, but he was also one of the night’s volunteers. “We are thankful for our God-given talents and we give back freely,” he said of himself and his fellow volunteers.
Constantine Larigakis, who was recently appointed CFO of Sigmapharm Laboratories, travels every year from the Philadelphia, both to get a taste of New York for the holidays, and to support the Annunciation and enjoy the gala with the friends he usually brings and the friends he sees there. “It’s one of the best events in New York City,” he told TNH.
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