Anberin Pasha, OCN's Digital Disciple Producer and Program Coordinator is a Graduate student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Giving, fostering and nurturing
Philoptochos chapters in the United States are working to alleviate the suffering of those around them. So what makes the chapter of the Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral in Denver, CO unique?
Philoptochos shares God’s love
I have learned from my conversations with Philoptochos members across the U.S. that Philoptochos runs in the veins of the Greek Orthodox community of America. After loving, fostering, giving, and nurturing for almost 85 years, you see that every woman who is a member of Philoptochos can testify to the generations before her who nourished and nurtured the next generation to carry on Christ’s ministry here on earth. Upon reflection, I realized what a lot this has to do with salvation itself. In his book on the Orthodox Understanding of Salvation, Christopher Veniamin writes, “Salvation is not so prosaic a matter, for it involves the “theosis” (the deification or divinization) of the entire human person in Christ; it involves, that is becoming like unto Christ to the point of identity with him; it involves acquiring the mind of Christ (as Saint Paul affirms in the second chapter of the First epistle to the Corinthians, verse sixteen), and indeed it signifies the sharing in His very Life.”
Keeping the homeless warm
The Denver Cathedral simply reflects the passion and love of philanthropy and service, as Mrs. Klea Kappos, a past chapter president herself adds succinctly, “all chapters regardless of how large or small they are, they are out there for people in need”. Recently, Philoptochos members of the Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral gathered together to make scarves out of fleece and prepared 150 bags for the homeless. The bags contained granola bars, gloves, hats, cheese, crackers, bottled water, socks and toiletries. The bags were then donated to the Denver Rescue Mission, a city project to house and feed the homeless. At the risk of oversimplifying this wonderful act of working together to brighten a tiny corner of the world, imagine the homeless who receive these bags. They would know that someone was making the scarves for them, that someone was thinking of them. Meanwhile in the community hall where the women came together, some with their spouses, the younger and older women would bond as the older passed on their wisdom to the younger women as the young energized the group bringing this act of giving full circle, multiplying the joy of loving, sharing and fostering a better world.
Kappos, who served as chapter president for the past 6 years of the local Philoptochos at the Cathedral and currently working in an advisory role, is astounded at how often funds would appear out of nowhere just as they were beginning to slow down on activities. Her words are a testimony and a reminder to 2 Corinthians 9:6,
But this I say, He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
The Denver Philoptochos is active
Interestingly what makes the Cathedral Philoptochos Chapter as active and dynamic arises from the fact that it is located on the same property as the Metropolis of Denver and the community center, which helps facilitate activities and enables a more dynamic environment for close working relationship with His Eminence, Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver.
A record number of women and their spouses, who are associate members of Philoptochos came together to give their time and by contributions to show their love, providing some much needed articles for the homeless.
The Denver Cathedral chapter of Philoptochos comprises around 150 women from diverse backgrounds, the youngest are in their 20’s while the older members are in their 60’s and 70’s. Kappos recounts her own experience joining as a young working mother and being mentored by four past presidents who she says “wrapped their arms around us” passing on their love for service. Kappos in her turn as a past President currently advices and assists the new President Dianne Sweeney who served as Treasurer over the past six years. In referring to the new President Dianne, one cannot miss the pride and joy in Kappos’s voice as she describes Dianne, as a vibrant, organized young woman, capable of continuing the tradition of giving, fostering and nurturing and there lies the secret of how Philoptochos successfully carries on the tradition.
Aside from this, the Philoptochos Denver Cathedral chapter just raised $4000 for St. Basil Academy with a silent auction of Vasilopitas, lovingly made by ladies of this giving community.
Most recently, the Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral joined forces with Philoptochos sisters of neighboring parish, Saint Catherine Orthodox Church, raising $ 28,000 for Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. Also, together they held fund raising races for the cure for cancer. Working together helping each other’s fundraisers they share the joy of fellowship and sisterhood.
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