Viewpoint: The Unique Leader of the
Transfiguration Church of Mattituck, New York
By Catherine Tsounis
“I wanted to give back to the church community that supported me when I needed a family. It is my unique honor to serve the Transfiguration of Christ Church of Mattituck, Long Island, from December 2012-13,” said Mr. Anthony (Tony) Coutsouros. “I want to fade away. I am a devoted parishioner to the church that gave me a second chance on life.”
The Coutsouros presidency altered the path. His focus is “to make everyone feel happy to be in church. Everyone is appreciated. Thank you for coming. Everyone has something to contribute,” President Coutsoros says to all when he shakes their hands at every Sunday’s service.
In the spring 2013, a letter was sent out to every parishioner by the newly elected President. “I am writing to you on a very important subject,” he said. “Your Beloved Church, at present, is in a dire situation: We have a very low Sunday Attendance; our Church membership is very low; Contributions are very low. I appeal to you to come to Church, to pray for you and your family’s good health and success. Bring your family and friends to feel the joy of the Church. Take Communion and purify your soul. Let’s get the feeling back of the first Christian religion that saved the world.” He accomplished his goal.
“I believe this is the Church of love and a bright light,” Anthony Coutsouros said. “I was metamorphosed at the Metamorphosis Church in Mattituck,” Coutsouros, a former widower, said. “I went to church depressed, without a reason to live. I saw an angel.” That angel was Elpida Ioanides, a widow for five years. They were married in September 2011. Jimmy Mihaltses, a family friend, said, “Elpida is my wife, Katina’s, friend. We were her first friends at the church. She is a very good person, a brilliant person from Cyprus.” Elpida is aiding him in his community service through public relations. “We are blessed from God to be at the Transfiguration Church,” she said.
President Coutsouros takes pride in “his accomplishments. “The weekly Church Bulletin was reintroduced with the help of Father Constantine Makrinos,” he explained. “We wanted to further educate the parishioners about the church. The Ladies of the Philoptohos began preparing memorial Kolyva with all proceeds going to the church. Mrs. Stella Giannoukakis and others prepared the Kolyva since the spring. A change in the provider of heating fuel resulted in a savings of over eighteen hundred dollars a year.”
The Parish Council leader, with the help of parishioners, took over the maintenance of the church. On a snowy day, he went on the roof to repair damaged incurred by Hurricane Sandy. The senior citizen did not think of his own safety. The bottom line is he wanted to save money for the church.
“I want to thank Kostas Diakovasilis, a senior citizen, for his deep devotion and contribution to the church, through his culinary expertise,” declared President Coutsouros. “He is involved in many maintenance activities of the church. Mr. George Zachariadis, our chanter, passed away. Mr. Jimmy Talas, the Choir master, passed away on August 6, 2012, resulting in the elimination of the choir. The musical vacuum is being bridged by parishioners. Mr. Peter Pappas, former parish council president and a chanter of forty-three years, is now summer chanter. He has always donated his services. Mr. Pappas is encouraging members of the former choir to sing with him. Mr. Andreas Markakis, Mr. Demetrios Mihaltses and Mr. Nick Zanikos contributed their chanter services. The Transfiguration of Christ Church has a new chanter, Ioannis Rontiris. Mr. Nick Zanikos took over altar duties, assisting Rev. Makrinos during the liturgy. The acolytes, Anastasios Kassapidis, Pantelis Pando, George and Emmanuel Moustakos, are thanked for their services.”
“I take this opportunity to thank the Chairpersons Manny Constantine, Barbara Thermos, Emily Kavourias, Irene Kalogeras, Kosta Diakovasilis and all the volunteers who made this 44th Festival very successful this year,” said President Tony Coutsouros. “Mrs. Irene Nanos and Mrs. Irene Moustakos help every year creating our delicious loucoumades. It was one of the best Festivals of our parish. I also thank all the youth and cooks who helped us during the Festival.” Over fifty thousand was raised.
“The church outside beautification project is the result of Mrs. Amal Constantine’s efforts,” he explained. “Flowers and shrubs were donated by Mrs. Constantine. A chandelier in memory of Mr. Michael Pappas, Mr. Vasilios Raptis and Mr. George Zachariadis was graciously accepted by the church.
Ourbeautiful church with traditional Byzantine iconography is enhanced by the brilliant lighting of the new chandelier. The Philoptohos has provided refreshments all year. Parishioners get together and develop friendships during coffee hours and socials.”
He believes “the October 19, 2013 Dance Journal was a phenomenal success, because of the unique efforts of Virginia Tripolitis. Mrs. Maria Kavourias is always in the church office assisting Mrs. Tripolitis. Mrs. Despina Demetriades does the recording of the finances. I sincerely appreciate the spiritual guidance of Very Rev. Constantine Makrinos. The advice and know-how of former President Pantelis Syriodis, the parish council members, chairpersons of socials and community members aid me in my leadership. The generous financial offerings of all are respected.”
The 2013 Parish Council Board, Committee Members and staff include: Rev. Constantine Makrinos, Protopresbyter; Anthony Coutsouros, President; George Giannoukakis, First Vice President; Calliope Kentrotas, Second Vice President; Mary Kavourias, Treasurer; Sophia Lahana, Assistant Treasurer; Argyro Mavrikos, Recording Secretary; Parish Council Members, Vasilios Frangias, Dino Demetriades; Alex Mavrikos, Nick Neocleous, Irene Markotsis; Andreas Markakis; Calliope Orfanidis, Harriet Zanikos; Virginia Tripolitis, Church Secretary;
The 2013 Philoptohos Board are the following: Irene Nanos, President; Honorary President Cynthia Pylarinos; Irene Moustakos, First Vice President; Sophia Lahana, Second Vice President; Chrystalla Stamatis, Treasurer; Katina Mihaltses, Secretary; Lucretia Kratsios, Recording Secretary; Harriet Zanikos, Assistant Treasurer and Voula Anastasiades, Raffles. This is an incomplete list taken from the 2013 Dance Journal and 2013 Parish Council documentation. If any name has been omitted, please contact the Transfiguration Church at 631-298-9652 or e-mail [email protected].
Photo 1: President Coutsouros with Mrs. Stagias during a Sunday Liturgy.
Photo 2: His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, with President Coutsouros. at August 5th, 2013 visit.
Photo 3: President Anthony Coutsouros.