Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.
Every year Philoptochos Chapters across America host a luncheon and offer Vasilopita for sale or auction to benefit the Saint Basil Academy, a Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Institution in Garrison New York. This event provides a major source of funding for the Academy’s operating expenses.
Vasilopita is a sweet cake or bread baked in honor of Saint Basil. A coin is baked in the Vasilopita reminding us of Saint Basil’s generosity to the poor. The saint would hide money in baked goods to give alms to the poor while maintaining their dignity.
Although many people continue to refer to the Saint Basil Academy as an orphanage, it is so much more. The academy provides for orphans, but also for children of chronically ill or destitute parents, or children from broken homes.
Saint Basil Academy was purchased by the Philoptochos Society in 1944. The property, known as the Rupert Estate, consists of 250 scenic acres located on the shores of the Hudson River, directly across from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The multiple chapters of the Philoptochos support the St. Basil Academy through a Sisterhood fund “which provides for the physical needs of the children, including clothing, furnishings, equipment and other essentials for the dormitories and kitchens; graduation celebrations, and awards and gifts.” Additionally, the Fund facilitates the mission of Saint Basil Academy which is “to shelter, protect, love and educate the youth so that they grow up to be healthy, wholesome, well-rounded Orthodox Christians, as well as productive members of society with vision and hope.”
Over the past 10 years, National Philoptochos has contributed approximately $4 million to the Academy.
LEARN ABOUT PHILOPTOCHOS
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America with 26,000 members nationwide. Philoptochos responds immediately to needs and crises and its philanthropic outreach extends to each area of the country and throughout the world. In 2014, National Philoptochos distributed $1.475 million in philanthropic aid.
The Philoptochos’s major philanthropic initiatives are worth learning more about including: Feeding the Hungry: 250,000 Meals, Saint Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero, and National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PHILOPTOCHOS SOCIETY
The National Philoptochos Society mission is to charitable, benevolent and philanthropic outreach to preserve the sanctity of life and family and to perpetuate and promote our Orthodox faith and traditions.”. The organization is led by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman, His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Spiritual Advisor, Maria Logus, President, Arlene Siavelis Kehl, First Vice President, Evangeline Mekras Scurtis, Second Vice President, Jeannie Ranglas, Third Vice President, Christine Karavites, Secretary, Martha Stefanidakis, Treasurer, Georgia Vlitas, Assistant Treasurer and Aphrodite Skeadas, Advisor. The organization’s Director is Helen Lavorata.
- The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc. is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that has offered eighty years of philanthropy through a multitude of programs that make a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world. The Society was established in November 1931, by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, who was then serving as Archbishop of North and South America.
- Philoptochos fulfills its mission to “help the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, those with disabilities and the victims of disasters through its National and Metropolis Boards and its 26,000 members and more than 400 active chapters, nationwide.
- His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America called Philoptochos, “an army of nobility and the jewel of our Church.”
To learn more about the National Philoptochos Society, visit http://www.philoptochos.org. For more information regarding this material and the National Philoptochos Society, please contact Rania Richardson, Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the following link to make a donation online directly to the Philoptochos.
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