On Saturday, February 26, 2022, St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Hamilton, New Jersey celebrated its 100th year anniversary with an Apokriatiko Glendi – Pre Lenten Party honoring esteemed parishioners of their community. Honorees of the evening included Mr. George Ververides, Mr. James Knicos, and Drs. Spiro and Emily Spireas. The event was well attended and supported by the community.
Dr. John Passalaris welcomed guests to the Glendi and thanked everyone involved that made the party a success. “I want to thank all the organizations that made tonight a successful event, especially Thekla Mazzella. She has done so much work for this behind the scenes. This is an event for the whole church. I want to thank my fellow brother AHEPAs, PTO, Daughters of Penelope, GOYANS, the future of our Church, Ladies of Philoptochos, members of the Stewardship Committee and of course the founding member of the committee the beloved late George Angelakis,” shared Dr. Passalaris. He went on to thank all the restaurants and catering businesses that donated food for the event. “If you want something just as good as what Yiayia makes at home, then go to Broad Street Diner, Colonial Farms, Olive’s, Local Greek, Oregon Diner, and The Merion.”
Father Jimmy Pavlow went on to share, “We are very much blessed at St. George to be part of such a wonderful community. And as part of this wonderful parish community, this evening, we have chosen to honor members of the community that have stood out in many ways.”
He then went on and introduced each honoree.
“The first honor goes to Mr. Jim Knicos. He serves the parish in every capacity we can think of. He was a strong member of the Parish Council for many many years and just ended his time allowing some other people to step up to leadership. He always kept us in order, on task. He is a true AHEPAN, a true brother. Jim is always in the Narthex, he comes to every service, and he brings us his love and dedication to the life of St. George. And today we honor him and show him our love and respect,” shared Father Jimmy.
Next, Father Jimmy introduced Mr. George Ververides.
“George loves his community and loves his parish. He is an Archon of our Patriarchate. He is a faithful steward, a great benefactor and we are blessed to have him here at St. George. Everybody knows George. Wherever I go, people ask how is George, send him my best. George was there when I was in Sunday School. George is young at heart and he loves the youth of our community. He gives a good example to our youth and to all of us. Thank you, George.”
Lastly, Father Jimmy introduced Drs. Spiro and Emily Spireas.
“Dr. Spiro is a great supporter and I got to know him well. And what I have learned about Dr. Spiro is yes, he is doing very well for himself, he’s an entrepreneur, he owns his own business, he used his mind, his intellect, his education to come along very well. In many ways, we look up to him because he lives the American dream. But as he rose up from the ranks because he didn’t start with much and now found himself blessed in every way a man can be blessed, he did not forget the Greek Orthodox Church, he didn’t forget the Greek people and he didn’t forget all of us here at St. George. He’s also an Archon, a dedicated faithful member, not only here locally, but supports the national church as well and we are very blessed to have such a benefactor here at St. George. They say behind every great man is a great woman. Dr. Emily Spireas is so much more than that. She is a medical doctor, a pediatrician, highly educated, but made great sacrifices in her career to take care of her family and that must be commended as well. She supports her husband in all his endeavors and a lot of his successes are a result of her support. She is a loving mother and dedicated to St. George. She has shown great leadership in many organizations in the life of the church and most recently in the life of the preschool. She spearheads the preschool that has preserved during a difficult time to do well and continuous process of educating our young people at a tender age. And is showing such great leadership and love to these little children and protecting the future of our children,” elaborated Father Jimmy.
Father Jimmy thanked the entire community, the honorees, and of course all who made the event a great success.
Dr. Spireas shared a couple of words after receiving his award. “On behalf of my wife, and the other two honorees who are Axioi, I want to thank you, the Parish Council, Father Jimmy for his nice words, and all of you for coming here tonight. I feel honored that you are here. It is true, that lately, I am not as involved with the life of the church, I was a Parish Council member for many years, and I have decided to not continue because I have been extremely busy and it’s not fair for the other Parish Council members because many times, I was not able to attend the meetings but this does not mean that I am going to be retiring from the church.”
The crowd cheered on Dr. Spireas as he continued to share his heartfelt speech. “I want you to know that so far as I am alive and kicking, I will always be very close to this community, helping you anyway feasible and possible and I will be there with Emily. Emily is active, and part of the Pre-School. Our family grew up in this community. I remember my son Sotiraki, who was here and was saying all these poems, my daughter, Mary, doing the same. How can you forget these things? In this community I feel that you are my family, so I want you to know that I will always be here for you. Thank you.”
In closing, the chair of the event, Thekla Mazzella expressed her heartfelt thanks to the Stewardship Committee and all involved. “Tonight we are celebrating Apokries here at St. George. We are entering our 100th year anniversary, so we would really like this year to be extra special. I would like to thank the whole Stewardship committee who helped make this event possible. We are very honored to have wonderful honorees this evening, Drs. Spiro & Emily Spireas, Mr. Ververidis, and Mr. Knicos have all played a very important role here at St. George. We are all blessed to have them in this community,” expressed Mrs. Mazzella.