November 2016

On Our Cover

“I thank thee for the wonder of Thy Goodness, manifest in countless ways,
I thank Thee for the wonder of my mind,
I thank Thee for the wonder of my soul, and of Thy Word in Christ.” 

Giving thanks to God for His mercies and His blessings, my dear Christians, is always a de-lightful duty. Gratitude makes all our blessings doubly blessed. It makes us stand in respect before the wonderful and abundant goodness of God.

On Thanksgiving day, Americans of all creeds will pause to give thanks to the Lord for this wonderful land of ours. Many of us will give thanks to God consciously as we bow our heads in prayer over the laden table of Thanksgiving. Like the pilgrims before us, we will pause at the end of a seasons’ work harvest to thank God who made it possible. Thanksgiving Day is demonstrative of the spiritual foundations of our democracy. The spirit of gratitude was deep in the hearts of the founders of Thanksgiving Day. It was natural for the religious founders of our Nation to establish such a day. One of the basic elements of divine worship is to give thanks to Almighty God for the many and single favors received from Him as a Nation and as individual citizens.

This special act of gratitude, which was first observed by the pilgrims after the successful conclusion of the Harvest, in December of 1621, was formally established as Thanksgiving Day by a presidential proclamation in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, a holiday which we con-tinue to observe. America is a God-fearing and God-loving Nation. It is in God we have placed our Trust and by God we asked to be judged. “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow” be-gins the traditional Thanksgiving Hymn, “Praise God all creatures here on Earth.” 

But times have changed. Many people have forgotten God. Giving thanks to God has be-come a forgotten virtue. Others take the goodness of God for granted. Someone has said that “we never know the real joy of entering God’s gifts—until thanksgiving becomes for us a con-tinuous and inspiring experience.” 

As a token of our gratitude for God’s gracious gift of abundance, let us share generously with those less fortunate than we—at home and abroad. Let us at this season of thanksgiving perform deeds of Thanksgiving, and throughout the year, let us fulfill those obligations of citi-zenship and humanity which spring from grateful hearts.

On that day, let us express our gratitude for inestimable blessings of God. Let us earnestly pray that God continues to guide and sustain us in the great tasks of achieving His will and commandments.

Guest Article Rev. Philip Gialopsos

Dear Parishioners, 

We are pleased to announce the upcoming Parish Assembly. This Assembly will be held at the Mihailides Center on Sunday, November 20th following coffee hour. We urge all our parishioners to attend this Assembly for you will have the opportunity to appoint members to the Endowment Committee as well as to nominate Parish Council Members for the upcoming elections, and act upon the Proposed 2017 Budget while being informed directly on various important topics listed below.

As always, only our parishioners, Baptized or Chrismated in the Orthodox Church, who are in ecclesiastical order, and are financially in good standing with the parish, may vote at this Assembly; your 2015 stewardship pledge must have been paid in full prior to the meeting and a stewardship pledge form for 2016 must have been submitted. These can also be executed the day of the Assembly, but it is strongly encouraged to do this through the office well before the meeting to avoid confusion at the registration table.

The Agenda is as follows:

1. Opening Prayer

2. Election of Assembly Officers

3. Approval of the Minutes of the last Regular Assembly (June 7, 2016)-previously mailed

4. President’s Report – Kevin Phelan

5. Priest’s Report – Fr. Andrew George

6. Auditor’s Committee Report for 2015 Financials – Maria Markos

7. Presentation of the Proposed 2017 Budget – Dean Perdikakis
-Proposed Budget will be available after November 15, 2016

8. 145-151 Oaklawn LLC Report – George Coclin

9. Dr. Mary Despina Lekas Endowment Report – Peter Manis
-Nominations for the new term on Endowment Committee – Dennis Sampalis

10. Phase II Report – Nick Tanionos

11. Board of Elections Report – John Psikakos – Nominations for Parish Council

12. Unfinished Business:

13. New Business:

14. Closing Prayer

We look forward to welcoming you at the Parish Assembly on November 20, 2016.

Faithfully yours,

Kevin Phelan
Elaine Otto
Fr. Andrew G. George


November is the month when the long awaited Platytera icon and Angels will be placed in our altar apse; in particular the process will begin the week of November 14. Exe-cuting this project will be Fr Anthony Saltzman of Image & Likeness Iconography of Watkinsville, GA. He is expected to be with us for a 10 day period. He will be our guest preacher on Sun Nov 20. Many of us have meet him previously as he also re-paired our Pantocrator icon high in the dome some 12 years ago and recently as well in that he has been in and out of our parish at various times this past year meeting with our Phase II Committee. We warmly welcome him again and look forward to the com-pletion of this first part of our Phase II Program.


The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) has been spreading the Ortho-dox Christian Faith in far away countries in an organized effort for over 35 years since its establishment. One of its most successful programs in collecting funds, is through the canister display containers placed on counter tops at vari-ous restaurants throughout America. Here in RI the late Angelo Maintanis co-ordinated this effort so faithfully. We announce today that the new coordinator for the OCMC Canister Program is Lakis Andriotis. He will be visiting various parishioners establishments – please welcome him and support this effort to place a canister in your facility. You may also call him directly to request one at 401-654-6875.


Our Fall Parish Assembly as noted elsewhere in this mailing will be held on Sun Nov 20 after coffee hour. Amongst the agenda items will be the nomination for 7 positions on the parish council for a 2 year term (2017-2018). Those who desire to nominate themselves may do so after requesting eligibility requirements and nomination forms from the parish office. All nominations are due BEFORE the Assembly. They may be submitted to the parish office or to the Board of Elections Chairman, John Psikakos.


Once again we will have an early evening, New Years Party open to all, with special emphasis given to households with children (thus the earlier hours). Watch for details soon. New Year’s Eve is a Saturday night this year.


We have to date 384 parishioners with a pledge of $193,842.00 

The Actual Amount Received is $177,183.52 

Since our last newsletter, the following pledges have been received for 2016: 

M/M Michael Campopiano, M/M Dean Costakos, M/M Hercules Fircanis,

Nicholas Fircanis, M/M George Grammas, John Grossomanides,

Maria Hatzinikolaou, Peter Hoopis, M/M Constantine Marses, David Massenzio,

Arthur Samos, M/M Nicholas Sarkis, Constantine Scapinakis, M/M Grigorios Sifakis, M/M Ernest Sotirakos, Stavros Theodosiou, Antone Topouzis,

M/M Kostas Trikoulis, Katherine Xiarhos, M/M Peter Xiarhos, Arianna Zervos

The 2016 year is coming to a fast close. We pray that others will

participate in our 2016 Stewardship Pledge Program.

We are some 100 units behind;

please don’t over look this important manifestation

of witnessing to Christ and giving back from what we have received.

“For every good and perfect gift comes 

from above, the Father of light” – St James 1:17 

“What does it profit a man 

if he says he has faith and has no works? 

Faith, if it has no works, is dead.”- St James 2:14 

“Phase II Donations” 

In memory of Artemis Frangos donations made to the Phase II Building Fund 

By, M/M Thomas Cragin, M/M Nicholas Mesagno

In memory of Cynthia Samaras donation made to the Phase II Building Fund 

By, Mary Samaras


At the recent Festival Thank You Dinner the financial report, including product dona-tions was distributed. Copies are available in the church narthex and also by calling the parish office.


When you may have a change of address, please inform the parish office promptly. The parish pays for returned mail at $1.11 per item and this usually extends for 2-3 mailings before the postal system caches up. Include the church as the first to inform when you may move.

Dr. Mary Despina Lekas Endowment Fund News 

Financial Report for the period ending 9/30/16
Endowment Fund Portfolio: $776,464.29
Endowment Fund Checking Account: $5998.28

In memory of Lilo (Francesca) Topouzis a donation made to the Endowment Fund
By, The Lambros Family

In memory of Katherine Samos a donation made to the Endowment Fund
By, M/M Gregory Demetrakas

In memory of Cynthia Samaras a donation made to the Endowment Fund
By, M/M Thomas Dolan, Angela Panichas, Denise Panichas


Sincere Thanks to all for your continued support for our Endowment Fund You are helping pave the way for future generations to continue Christ’s Ministry and further our Greek culture. 

Respectfully Submitted: MS, EF Secretary 


Some people like to avoid this topic, but making a will is actually something very wise that saves our heirs significant time and money. With a will you en-sure your wishes are adhered to as concerns the distribution of monies and property. In fact for some people the greatest financial gift they are able to give is what they leave behind when then pass on. It is also a wonderful act of re-spect for God, when our will includes Him, by designating an amount for the work of the Lord through the local parish or any of the national ministries and institutions of the church. Speak to an attorney and plan ahead wisely.

Decent Deaths 

Emmanouel Vourvachakis, age 88 of Warwick, passed away on 10/9/16. His funeral was held at the Assumption Church—Pawtucket, by Fr. Andrew and Fr Emanuel on 10/14/16. Burial took place at the St John Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in Cumberland. Also the mother of our parishioner Christopher Sheehan (Maureen Sheehan) at age 84, passed away. Her funeral and burial was held 10/12/16 from a Catholic Parish.

Cranston, RI
Analysis by Giving Range 

# of pledges Amount Range
1 $10,000.00
11 $2000-$9999.
38 $1000-$1999
112 $500-$999.
88 $300-$499.
134 Less than $300.

Kudos to Presbytera Lia 

As some of you may know, Presbytera Lia has lead a long and distinguished career as a Social Worker and Psychotherapist. Over the past 18 years she has been a dedicated Social Worker for the Department of Mental Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital (formerly known as the Worcester State Psychiatric Hospital) in Worcester, MA. During her long tenure there she has received recognition as Employee and Clinician of the Year on several occasions, and has also been recognized for her outstanding clinical work in providing on site Emergency Counseling to victims and their family members at numerous Emergency and Disaster Situations in Massachusetts, including the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company Fire in December 1999 in which six firefighters perished, and immediately following the deadly Tornados that struck Western Massachusetts in June 2011 when she was dispatched to Monson, MA for more than a week to attend to the needs of a community devastated by a force of nature, as well as in follow up there after.

I am proud and honored to announce that on Friday 21 October 2016, Presbytera Lia was pre-sented with a 2016 Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance at a Performance Recognition Ceremony at the Massachusetts State House by Governor Charles D. Baker. Presbytera Lia was selected for this Citation from among numerous Department of Mental Health Employees and Teams from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for her lead-ership of the Assaulted Staff Action Program (ASAP) at the Worcester Recovery and Treat-ment Center, a team of dedicated clinicians who respond emergently to the emotional needs of any of their coworkers, peers, and staff who have unfortunately been physically assaulted and traumatized in the line of duty of providing care to very severely ill psychiatric patients. Pres-bytera Lia was notified of this honor by Joan Mikula, the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health with these words: “As the recipient of this Citation, this distinction certainly speaks to your exemplary performance in public service. Your contribution serves as an ex-ample to others in the care and treatment of adults, children, and adolescents with mental ill-nesses. I am grateful for your dedicated and compassionate work ethic.” In addition to the above noted State House Ceremony, Presbytera Lia was also recognized for this Citation at the Department of Mental Health Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 2 November 2016 at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital.

Presbytera Lia and her family emigrated to the United States from Athens, Greece in 1974. She is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College with a BA in Psychology in 1982 with General Honors and Departmental Honors. She completed her grad-uate studies at the State University of New York in Albany at the School of Social Welfare with an MSW Masters of Social Work with High Distinction in 1985. She has dedicated her career as a Social Worker and Psychotherapist, having worked at the Association for Retarded Chil-dren in Albany, NY, the Hellenic Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canton, MA, and at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital in Worcester, MA. She is a devout Orthodox Chris-tian, a dedicated and loving wife, mother, and grandmother, and of course, a humble and lov-ing Presbytera of the Annunciation Church here in Cranston.

God Bless you Presbytera, and Pantote Axia!

Fr. Emanuel +

To all members of the Odyssey Dance Troupe family (past and present),

After another successful festival year, we wanted to take this opportunity to extend a very heartfelt THANK YOU to all the members of our Odyssey Dance Troupe. Each year, you work tirelessly to put together a spectacular representation of not only our Greek culture, but also of our Annunciation community. We are so proud of your dedication, your time, and your enthusiasm for the dance troupe, now beginning its 33rd year. We truly hope that you enjoy your participation as much as we enjoy teaching and sharing this journey with you.

We started with only 8 children in 1984 and have now grown to an over 90 member all-volunteer organization supported by the strength and dedication of you, its members. The ODT tradition was built by the over 300 members who have participated since our inception. To all that have participated in the past, thank you for helping to grow our dance troupe—we would not be here today if it were not for your commitment and efforts.

Over the last 32 years, we have learned and performed over 120 different traditional dances from all regions of Greece. We strongly believe that exposing all of you to various styles of dancing only enhances your ability to learn and perform dances not only in the troupe, but also at social functions and family events. Our outfit collection has also grown to over 100 outfits representing about 15 unique styles from villages around Greece. Many of our outfits are handmade or purchased directly from Greece, thanks to prior fundraising efforts and the generosity of our community members.

Each year, we perform 5 unique performances during the festival weekend. We spend about 8 hours preparing and performing that weekend alone, in addition to the approximately 20 hours of time that many of you spend preparing the outfits and the tents with us dur-ing the week before the festival. We wanted to thank all of you who volunteer your time dur-ing the week of the festival to prepare for what is our biggest weekend of the year. The cama-raderie and fellowship that we share during these times is invaluable and has led to the strong relationships that we have cultivated over the years.

Throughout the year, we put in a total of 50 hours of practice time starting in April to prepare for the festival. We are so grateful for your time, especially in a world with so many compet-ing demands. We hope that you will continue to enjoy the experience as much as we do—we know that the thousands of people who watch you dance each year certainly enjoy it. After one of the performances this year, a non-parishioner came up to us to express how moved she was to see so many youth and young adults sharing in their culture together, smiling, laugh-ing, and enjoying themselves. She said it was a “priceless” experience for her—we couldn’t agree more. The bonds and relationships that we build through ODT are, in fact, priceless.

To all ODT members past and present, their families, parents, grandparents, friends, and to all those who have supported our mission throughout the years, we are extremely grateful to have each of you as part of our ODT family. Thank you for all that you have done and contin-ue to do to showcase our thriving and vibrant culture here in Cranston and beyond.

OPA! Koula & Savva Rougas


Sunday November 6th will be the date of Goya’s annual leaf raking event. If any youth would like to volunteer their time or if any elderly parishioners are in need of leaf rak-ing, please call CJ Mitrelis at 401-632-8752. Any youth who wishes to volunteer is asked to bring leaf raking supplies such as gloves, rakes, and leaf bags.


Our Basketball season will begin. We will form 3 co-ed teams- Elementary (ages 5-8) but no actual games for them, just a learning program / Junior Team (ages 8-14) and our Senior Team (ages 15-18). Practices will be Fridays at Hope Highland Middle School in Cranston, running 7-10PM. Contact Stephen Sterpis with any questions at 401-226-3166 or


Church youth are invited to join us for a Goya Homecoming dance. The dance will be held on Saturday November 26 from 6pm until 10:30pm. Please look for upcoming fli-er for further information.


All our youth are reminded to bring non-perishable food items on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (Nov 20). This drive will benefit the special thanksgiving baskets being pprepared and distributed by the Philoptochos. If you are aware of a family in need that can benefit from such a basket contact Bessie Papigiotis at 949-3240.


The annual “Gifts of St. Nicholas Program’ of our Sunday Church School are to be de-livered to church on Sun Dec. 4th. Parents are reminded that their children are to select an item they desire for themselves, but instead it will be given to a less fortunate child. Gifts should be wrapped and marked with “age and/or size” of the gift and if it is for a “male or a female”. Gift cards in any denomination are also welcome and these will be sent to St. Basil’s Academy for the children there. The boxed gifts will be distributed this year to the Elisha project locally.


A family night will be held on Tues. evening during the Christmas School Break which will feature “Family Game Night”. Watch for details.


Please remember to come and support Philoptochos during their major fund-raiser of the year, the ANNUAL GREEK FOOD FAIR AND CHRISTMAS BAZAAR ON NOVEMBER 12-13TH. This event is a long-standing tradition in our Parish for approximately 60 years, started by our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc. many years ago…..during the time our Church was on Pine Street in Providence. Please support this fund-raiser which enables us to help, not only those in need, but our Church, our Church School Children, our Greek School Children, and our Endowment Fund. If you can donate a prize for our Raffles (Day Raffle and Grand Raffle), an item for our Silent Auction, Pastry, Vintage items, Handcraft and Christmas Boutique, we would appreciate it. If you can volunteer an hour or two to help those days, please call Georgia Pappas 351-3927. Thank you.

THANKSGIVING BASKETS-Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, we will be preparing Thanksgiving Baskets to help bring some cheer on Thanksgiving Day to those that may need some assistance. If there is someone you know, whose holiday will be a little brighter, with our help, please call Bessie Papigiotis (949-3240), Georgia Pappas (351-3927) or Father Andrew. Baskets will be distributed Monday (Nov. 21) prior to Thanksgiving Day. This year, we will have a coordinated effort with our Church School Children, our Philoptochos, and the Faith Nursery School children in collecting food items for our Thanksgiving Baskets. What a wonderful lesson for these young children to learn by helping those in need. Thank you to all the children and their fami-lies for their help.

CHRISTMAS PARTY-Our annual Christmas celebration will be held on Thursday, December 8th, at the Mile and a Quarter Restaurant. Chairladies of this fun even-ing are Karen Drager and Josie Aliferakis. Guests are more than welcomed. Please join us as we relax and usher in the beautiful Christmas season celebrating the birth of our Lord. Details are as follows:

TIME: 6:00 P.M.



DEADLINE: December 1st FOR RESERVATIONS CALL: Karen Drager – 578-8116 or Georgia Pappas 351-3927. Checks payable to Philoptochos and mailed to Church Office c/o Philoptochos, and attention Karen Drager or Georgia Pappas.

METROPOLIS FUNDRAISER: “ORANGE, BROWN, RED, & GOLD…COME SEE WHAT THE BID-N-BUY SHALL HOLD”- This event will be held on Sunday afternoon, November 20th from 3-6 p.m. at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester, Ma. Admission is $20 per person Hors’doeuvres, wine and cheese, coffee and pastries will be served. We are carpooling, and if you are interested in attending please contact Bessie Papigiotis 949-3240, or Marianne Phelan 943-9201, . Thank you.

DONATIONS: National Philoptochos: Hellenic College-Holy Cross Scholarship Fund $500; Retired Clergy/Presvyteres Benevolent Fund $100; Louisiana Flood Relief $500; Special Olympics $100.

We hope to see you at the Greek Food Fair and Christmas Bazaar on November 12-13th.


ADVENT BEGINS NOVEMBER 15 / The Christmas Lent 

Advent is the sacred season of preparation, penitence and expectancy! “Advent” means “the coming of our Lord as an infant child….as the fulfillment of all the ancient prophesies….the coming of the Redeemer! 

In our Orthodox Tradition, Advent is a 40-day period of preparation for the Feast of the Nativity, the Blessed event of the Birth of Jesus Christ, when the second person of the Holy Trinity entered human history, when God took on flesh.

During this season, the Church recognizes the spiritual and psychological need for readying the believer’s mind and soul for the anniversary of Christ’s Coming as the Babe of Bethlehem….for His Coming to the hearts of those who love Him. 

“lifting our minds to Bethlehem, let us ascent with our conscience and behold the great Mystery that is in the cave…” (from an Advent Vesper Hymn).

Most especially, during Advent, our Holy Church reminds us to be very careful of the secularization and commercialization of the Christmas Season. The Church also en-courages her faithful to perform works of charity and penance, to practice the discipline of fasting in preparation of the up-coming feast, to spend extra time in prayer and med-itation. All this, in order to prepare for celebrating as worthy as possible, the Coming of God in the flesh, the Birth of Our Lord and Saviour. 

The Advent Food Fast is broken into two distinct periods. 

NOV 15—DEC 12: Sun, Mon, Tues, Thurs & Sat. are a “light fast”.
Weds. & Fri. are a “strict fast”
Dec. 13—Dec 24: All days are a strict fast with oil & wine permitted on Sat. & Sun.

As with all fasting seasons, fasting is to be done in accordance with peoples age and health.