By Fotis Kaliampakos – Special to the Hellenic News of America
At the annual official dinner of the Hellenic Federation of New Jersey, held in the luxurious event hall ‘The Graycliff’ in the Moonachie area of New Jersey, Metropolitan of New Jersey Apostolos and distinguished cardiologist Ilias Iliadis were honored for their contributions to the Greek community and Hellenism. They received the awards ‘Megas Alexandros’ and ‘Hippocrates,’ respectively.
Dr. Iliadis spoke to the Hellenic News of America about the special honor he feels and thanked the Federation and the Greek-American organizations that were present. The distinguished cardiologist, many of whom were present, also discussed his time as President of the Hellenic Federation of New Jersey, especially during the challenging times of the coronavirus, as well as his illustrious professional career.
The coordination of the ceremony (MOC) was handled by Despina Axiotis, while greetings were also delivered by Co-President Mr. Dimitrios Kontolios. The award presentation was made by the President of the Hellenic Federation of New Jersey, Dr. Panos Stavrianidis. Dr. Stavrianidis was visibly moved and conveyed a highly personal tone in his remarks about the honored individuals. He highlighted not only Dr. Iliadis’ scientific achievements but also his contribution to matters related to the Greek community and Hellenism, emphasizing his tenure as president of the federation during the challenging years of the coronavirus. Dr. Stavrianidis, with evident emotion on his face, also gave a highly personal touch to his mention of Metropolitan Apostolos, highlighting his immediacy and sensitivity in responding to a personal call, disregarding formalities and his busy schedule.
Starting his speech, Metropolitan of New Jersey Apostolos thanked the federation for the honor and initially referred to the issue currently casting a shadow across the civilized world, expressing hope that the wars costing the lives of innocent people and children would stop as soon as possible. Referring to the award, Metropolitan Apostolos also addressed the name it bears, highlighting the personality of Alexander the Great, his significant contribution to the spread of Greek culture to the ends of the then-known world, and the cultural dimension of his monumental work as a military strategist. Special mention was made of his teachers, foremost among them Aristotle, who made him a sharer in the culture he later disseminated. Metropolitan Apostolos stressed the great importance of education and the cultivation of the Greek language in the Greek community.
Ilias Iliadis, visibly cheerful but also moved, thanked the committee for the award and spoke of the close collaboration he had with the federation’s executives over the years and the close relationship that developed, especially during the pandemic. Mr. Iliadis also highlighted the honored Metropolitan Apostolos.
Supreme President of AHEPA Savvas Tsivikos also congratulated the honorees, with whom he also shares close personal ties, and expressed hope that hostilities would cease and peace would prevail in the world. Mr. Tsivikos, however, in connection with this issue and especially the element of surprise in the terrorist attack in Israel, called on Hellenism to be vigilant, emphasizing that no one should harbor illusions about the intentions of our neighbors or the nature of international relations. Complacency is unacceptable, Mr. Tsivikos emphasized, and Hellenism must be united and prepared for all eventualities.
Publisher of the Hellenic News of America and President of the Hermes Expo Paul Kotrotsios was present at the event, and in his institutional capacity as a former President of the National Council (HANC), he congratulated the honorees on their honor.