Bulletin # 136

Posted by: Editorial Committee  :  Category: News & Articles

THE HELLENIC LINK, Inc.

 

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Editorial Committee: Achilleas Adamantiades, Dimitri Dandolos, Alex Economides, Gerasimos Merianos, Panagiotis Siskos, Stella Tsirka;     Associate Editor : Dean C. Lomis, Acting Editor: Costas Efthymiou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 136, February-March 2016

The Hellenic Link Bulletin is happy to host in this issue a Greeting from Professor Marina Mathaiakis of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Chairperson of the Committee supervising the University’s Modern Greek Language School. The Greeting is addressed inclusively to all American students who are interested in learning the Greek language and familiarize themselves with the Hellenic culture.

As our readers know well, Professor Mathaiakis’ Institution has developed a special program consisting of a series of four courses offered in the summer, primarily aimed at assisting North American students to fulfill their foreign language requirement for graduation at their home academic institution. The Program embodies features suggested by the Council on Hellenic Education of the Hellenic Link, Inc. We avail ourselves of this opportunity to express gratitude for the sensitivity and impeccable cooperation shown by the academic leadership of the School of Modern Greek in discussing and accepting ideas we have submitted.

The following candid message from Dr. Mathaiakis goes far beyond the syllabus and related information on the Program, already presented in detail by the Hellenic Link to the Greek and global public on various occasions. The very interesting fact, explained herein by Professor Mathaiakis is that the mission of her School to teach Modern Greek as a second/foreign language is achieved through a smooth integration of didactic, research, and cultural activities, constituting the premise of the Program: thus, the long experience of the University in teaching   the language, continuously sharpened by linguistic and pedagogic research, coupled with programmed opportunities for extramural practice and cultural experiences in the natural Greek setting, make the program for the aspiring student the ideal “study abroad” experience. Cognizant of these characteristics, prospective students of Greek would do very well to heed the message and take advantage of its offered features.

C. J. E.                                              

The School of Modern Greek Language

By Professor Marina Mathaiakis

The School of Modern Greek Language in Thessaloniki (SMG) has been operating under the supervision of the Faculty of Philosophy (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) since 1970 and has a long-standing experience in the field of teaching Greek as a second/foreign language.

The SMG is an academic unit with dynamic development. Its basic aim is to promote the Greek language and culture through a combination of educational, research, as well as cultural activities. The school’s mission is not solely to support the teaching of Greek as a second/foreign language, but also to provide learners with rich language and cultural experiences; thus, the learning of the language is achieved not only through explicit but also through implicit methods.

The SMG offers courses in Modern Greek language and culture to foreigners as well as repatriates of various levels of proficiency and different language needs. The School organizes and provides tailor-made language programs, as well as teacher training courses for teachers of Greek as a second/foreign language in Greece and abroad. In order to help people who may be interested in starting learning Greek while living abroad, the School offers long-distance language programs at A1 and A2 levels.

The teaching staff of the SMG are highly qualified and have long experience both in teaching and in material design for learners of Greek at all levels (A1-C2), as well as for learners with specific language needs (e.g. employees at international organizations). All teachers working at the SMG have authored textbooks for various language levels and have been involved in designing and creating electronic material for long-distance learning programs. Every year, the SMG organizes exams for the Certificate of Attainment in Greek, a prerequisite for all foreign students who wish to enter higher education in Greece.

Being a part of an academic institution, the students and teachers of the SMG often participate in research studies related to language acquisition, pronunciation acquisition and teaching, curriculum design and language assessment and evaluation. The results of these studies inform teachers’ choices and aim to support teaching practices and techniques. Thus, research and teaching contribute to the achievement of a common goal: the continuous improvement of the quality of instruction provided.

The SMG organizes and participates in several cultural events and these are an integral part of its educational program. Such events may include visits and excursions to museums and archaeological sites, thematic workshops, visits to wine breweries, traditional dance classes and classes in archaeological sites.

Also, the SMG organizes summer school programs which host students from various countries, and participates in well-known programs, such as PAIDEIA and IASON. Such initiatives aim to offer the chance to as many foreign students as possible to become acquainted with Greece, its language and civilization, ancient and modern alike.

The SMG is situated at the center of Thessaloniki, a multicultural city located at the crossroad between East and West, Europe and Asia. Here one is able to hear the voices of ancient and byzantine history merging with those of modern everyday life.

In this historic place, the SMG has become a point of attraction for aspiring researchers of the Greek language and civilization from all over the world. Thus, it has developed a multicultural profile and a dynamic structure that supports the implementation of various educational and cultural programs. We will be delighted to welcome you to Thessaloniki hoping to enjoy your journey to the Greek language and culture!

Spiros Alexander Malaspina

Manifestations of appreciation of Hellenic Heritage abound lately, as evidenced by a plethora of cultural activities of our churches and their affiliate organizations, as well as by numerous civic and fraternal organizations, luxuriantly reported in the press and the social media. This is all for the good, as it contributes to the preservation of the Hellenic cultural consciousness in the Greek American Community and beyond that it contributes to the cultural enrichment of the multicultural society of the United States. That the latter outcome is appreciated by broad segments of the American society can be put easily to a test. One has to observe what happens when a Greek Orthodox Community organizes its annual festival: even if it is only a single, small Orthodox Community in town, somewhere in the U.S. heartland, for the days of the festival its ground becomes the crowded meeting place for co-celebration of the entire municipality and its suburbs.

While as organized communities we work hard and do just fine in upholding our historical anniversaries and religious holydays, we place however limited emphasis on the need to develop and live the substantial characteristics of our Christian Faith and Hellenic ideals, through “grass root” initiatives and efforts of local leaders.

Avowedly, there is scarcity of such well-rounded spiritual leaders whom the Omogeneia vitally needs to ensure its cultural fulfillment.

Fortunately, there are a few bright exceptions; in this Bulletin we present one, which deserves to be cherished and to be emulated.

What follows is excerpts of the dedication ceremony in which a Community – the Holy Trinity Church in Egg Harbor, NJ – paid tribute to their fellow-member Spiros A, Malaspina) who had served all of them with warm faith and love, perseverance, indefatigable commitment and with great wisdom and skill, until a long terminal illness took him from their midst. We owe much to Rev. Drs. George Liacopoulos (current priest of the Holy Trinity Church) and Demetrios Constantelos ( the predecessor priest), worthy Stewards of the spiritual and ethnic cultivation of their Community, as well as to Mrs. Eugenia Kramvis (outreach ministry) for sharing with us the record of their memorable kind manifestation of fitting gratitude, of September 6, 2015.

[ Introductory message from the Community]

Dear Dr. Efthymiou,

I hope the information included will assist you in presenting a beautiful and inspirational article honoring our beloved brother in Christ, Spiros. Below is a synopsis of the day.

The event began with an invitation for all family and friends to join our Holy Trinity family and Spiro’s family for the Divine Liturgy worship service. Afterwards, everyone was directed to the area facing our Community Center where the Naming Ceremony took place. The lettering, Spiros A Malaspina Community Center, was already on the Building and was admired by all. Father George Liacopulos, our priest, together with Father Demetrios Constantelos, our respected Pappou and retired first priest at Holy Trinity Church, presided over the Dedication Ceremony. Tom Papademetriou, served as our chanter, and is a Hellenic College, Holy Cross Alumnus and Professor at Stockton University, and four of our altar boys, Nick Psilopoulos, Nick Efstatos, Alexander Bairaktaris and Jonathan Salkeld.

At the end of the ceremony, Father George blessed each person, as we filed into the building for the reception. Our Master of Ceremonies, Anthony Panetta invited Father Demetrios to begin with a prayer of thanks and blessing for the food. Father Demetrios also spoke of his common bond and friendship of many years with Spiros’ father, Mr. Alex Malaspina, their immigration to America and their aspirations to achieve a higher education and to create a better environment for mankind in their adopted country, America.

Other speakers included Mr. Alex Malaspina, Brian Sacco, our Parish Council President, followed by Father George. Mr. and Mrs. Malaspina were invited to the podium to receive an icon of the Holy Trinity, a dedication from our Holy Trinity Parish. Kimberly, Spiros’ wife, received an icon of St. Spyridon, and for herself and her children, Alex and Lily, each were given a plaque with a rendering of the Community Center, honoring and thanking Spiros for his commitment.

An area was set up with many archival articles and photographs, attractively and artfully displayed by our church photographer and archivist, Eleni Stamelos. The display depicted the many stages of the Community Center and highlighted Spiros, interviewed and photographed, as he stood in the midst of the foundations and bare building framework.

During the meal which followed, our parishioners were invited to speak of their experiences and inspirations with Spiros. Many came forward and offered inspiring and emotional words of praise for his dedication, motivation, and many times, in the face of opposition, his steadfast belief and encouragement in the completion of the building of the Community Center.

It was a memorable, historic and significant occasion. Our Holy Trinity family will forever honor Spiro’s name and his contribution to our Parish and Community.

A few Sundays later, Father George read Spiros’ Father’s Day message (see content below) delivered in 2011. It was a message to all of us of his love for our Lord and His Church. May his memory be eternal.

On behalf of Father George and our Holy Trinity family,

Eugenia Kramvis

Welcoming Address from the President of the Parish Council

I’d like to welcome everyone to the Naming Ceremony of the Spiros A. Malaspina Community Center. Thank you everyone for being here to participate in this honorable day, especially Mr. and Ms. Malaspina, Kimberly, Alex, Lily, family and friends.

We had planned to have this naming ceremony over a year ago, when Spiros was with us. We miss our dear friend, but today, he is with us in spirit, and his memory lives on in our hearts, and in this wonderful community center that he helped envision.

By walking the halls and visiting the rooms, you can still feel the effort and the sacrifice that it took to make this community center possible. It took many years of planning, debate, and meetings to put it all together, and Spiros dedicated many hours to the planning and building effort.

He said during the opening ceremony of the community center in 2007:

“Tonight we celebrate ten years of dreams, effort, time, sacrifice, camaraderie, sweat, debate and realization of ideas. We have been planning for the spiritual and family growth of our church and our community, through the many uses of our center.”

Since that time, for the past eight years, the community center has been host to many events and purposes. The joy experienced by all who have walked through these doors is a reminder that a vision, followed by planning and hard work, have a great and lasting impact on a community.

The continued support of the center that has been received through the years is greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten.

We are proud to have Spiros’ name on the community center, for our generation, and also for future generations, so that they will know of the vision, hard work, and sacrifices that it took to make this center a reality.

I’d like to close with a quote from Spiros from the time of the opening of the Community Center in 2007. He said:

“Over ten years, we as a church community have been blessed with volunteers to this project who expected nothing back and have come together in a common endeavor which is designed for the good of others. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Egg Harbor Township is remarkable for its focus on our children and their future. Our church is also known for connecting with the community and celebrating spiritual and family life. The flowering of the center will be in its many uses in the years to come.”

I pray that we can all carry on the legacy that Spiros envisioned, in his honor, for the future of our faith, our children, and our community.

Thank You,                                                                                                                      Brian Sacco

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[ Self-view of responsibility being a member of the Greek Orthodox Faith]

TREASURED STEWARDSHIP MESSAGE FROM THE PAST 

BY SPIROS A. MALASPINA ON FATHER’S DAY 2011

Stewardship is how we manage all the gifts given to us by God, in order to honor God and improve life on earth. My experience with ideas of stewardship changed for me through my life at Holy Trinity. I first joined Holy Trinity fifteen years ago, somehow knowing instantly that I wished this to be my church for life. We soon brought my son to be baptised here. Later my daughter was baptised and my wife was chrismated. If my parents lived near us, they would be members too. Bringing others to our church can be one way of stewarding, I began my giving back to the church with weekly and yearly financial donations. In my first year, I tried cracking clams at the festival, but I was not skillful at this. I found that I liked to speak to people in all areas of my life about Holy Trinity Church. The desire to ‘get involved’ quickly came to me as I am sure it does to many of you. In a couple of years I joined the Parish Council and put more and more time and energy into various council functions and projects. One would think that a four hour council meeting, ending at ten p.m., would be exhausting. But I often leave these meetings energized, excited about possibilities, almost wishing we could go a few more hours. Credit for this goes to Father George and the many wonderful people I have met here. Stewardship can be very creative when good people come together for a single purpose. I find that efforts put into volunteering, as contrasted with ‘work’, leave me with an uplifted heart, motivated to do more and with a deep sense of satisfaction. Stewardship creates joy. Many things evolved through these past ten years as you know. There has been a wonderful growth in our church and outwards into the community. For myself, recently, a combination of circumstances has taken away some of my time and energy for the council and I miss it. My conundrum now is to figure out what I can do as a steward. And I know that times will change things still in the future. Many years from now, I will want to be a steward for the church by bequest. I am still learning how to manage God’s gifts and how to return them to the church. Thank you Father George for letting me speak today and for the many other opportunities you have given me. My hope is to open a continuing dialogue with all of us on Stewardship. Happy Father’s Day!

[ Profile of Spiros’ character given by his father Dr. Alex Malaspina in the following address on the occasion]

NAMING CEREMONY – SPIROS A. MALASPINA COMMUNITY CENTER

Today is a memorable day for the Malaspina family, a day that will strengthen all the wonderful memories we have about Spiros and his exciting life.

I am certain that he is fully aware of what is happening this very moment in his beloved church.

Spiros did not grow up a particularly religious person, but this changed after his son Alex was born. His two children were baptized in this church, and his wife, Kimberly was Chrismated ro become Orthodox. Spiros was a very active member of the church and eventually he was elected President of the Parish Council.

I am certain that what contributed to this transformation is no doubt the love and devotion he felt in getting to know Father George as his spiritual father and also as a close friend.

Spiros transferred his love for the church to his family. Kimberly’s faith helped her a great deal to remain strong and resilient during the difficult years of Spiros’s illness.

That same faith has been a source of strength for Lily and Alex, who have continued to do well in school and sports. Alex just entered Rutgers, and Lily has excelled in her pursuit of music. She has learned to play 4 instruments and is now learning the violin.

Spiros loved to teach Math to young people. After he got his MS degree, he taught Math for one year and then he decided to enter Medical School. However Education was always of great interest to Spiros and as Father George mentioned he became the President of the School Board in 2007 for five years.

In addition, Spiros devoted much of his energies in helping to build the Community Center and launch the School.

You will be interested to hear about an email that Kimberly sent to Spiros’s siblings — and I am quoting:

“Spiros is strongly suggesting that NO ONE give him any gifts for his birthday or any other holyday and instead make a donation to his church.’’ Kimberly then proceeded to explain why the church needed money badly to proceed with building the school.

Spiros loved his profession, of being a psychiatrist. He cared a great deal about all of his patients and wanted to make them be in better health. His patients , in turn were very happy to have Spiros as their doctor.. Many of his patients wrote very warm letters to him for all the care he gave them.

To help his patients further Spiros kept up vigorously with the medical journals and with learning about the advances in medicine. He was always very interested to know whatever was new in psychiatry, so that in turn he could advise his patients about new medicines .

Spiros was an avid athlete . He could play most sports but his passion was Rugby. He became a great player and took part in even international matches. While at Emory University he became the coach of a Girl students ‘Rugby team , which he founded. The first such team at Emory.

For me and my wife we were always so worried that the game was too rough and that he may get hurt.. He kept assuring us that this was a “gentle” game, and so one day my wife and I got the courage to watch his game in Atlanta. Contrary to Spiros’s assurrances we found the game to be as rough as we had imagined, but Spiros loved it anyhow .. The truth of the matter is that Spiros received several injuries from playing Rugby, but he never , ever complained. He continued to play through his early 50’s until he was diagnosed with MS. He was very brave

Spiros loved Greece and especially Santorini, the island my family came from. He visited Santorini many times. His Grandfather, whose name Spiros inherited, was very fond of Spiros and loved to take Spiros to Santorini. I am certain that Spiros’s Grandfather would have been very proud of this event.

During the last few years, Spiros posted in Facebook regularly pictures of Greece and the Greek Islands. He had a real passion of everything Greek.

In closing, I want to thank Father George, Father Demetrios,Ginny Kramvis and all of you for making this event possible. Spiros wanted this dedication to happen very much, and his family will be forever grateful.

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Η 25η Μαρτίου 1821 υπό το Πρίσμα της Σημερινής Συγκυρίας

Ο σύγχρονος Ελληνισμός έχει την 25ην Μαρτίου σαν φάρο καθοδήγησης της εθνικής του πορείας. Στις σοβαρές εξελίξεις που διαδραματίζονται σήμερα στην γενέτειρα και στον κόσμο, ο Ελληνισμός οφείλει στον εαυτό του και στις μέλλουσες γενιές του να θεωρήσει προσεκτικά και αποφασιστικά τον ρόλο που καλείται να αναλάβει για να εξέλθει από τις κρίσεις που τον απειλούν, για να συνεχίσει την διαχρονική του πορεία.

Είναι αναγκαίο να θυμηθούμε εδώ με πνεύμα ευθύνης αλλά και αυτοκριτικής ότι ο Ελληνισμός της «Διασποράς», καθόλην την διάρκειαν του απελευθερωτικού αγώνα, καθώς και μετά από αυτόν, στάθηκε ο φύλακας άγγελος της αγωνιζόμενης πατρίδας, που με τις ποικίλες σωτήριες επεμβάσεις του στήριξε τον αγώνα, εξασφάλισε την αίσια κατάληξή του, κι αποδείχθηκε ο πιο πολύτιμος αρωγός στην μετεπαναστατική ανόρθωση του ελεύθερου ελληνικού κράτους.

Σήμερα η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται ουσιαστικά σε ένα σταυροδρόμι ανάλογης κρισιμότητας, όπως στο 1821, αντιμετωπίζοντας πολλαπλά προβλήματα που την καταπιέζουν και που συνδέονται με θανάσιμους κινδύνους, κυρίως την κατάρρευση της οικονομίας της και τις συνέπειες εισβολής και εγκλωβισμού αναρίθμητων προσφύγων και λαθρομεταναστών στην επικράτειά της.

Τι περιμένει ο Ελληνισμός του εξωτερικού   για να κινητοποιηθεί και να δώσει οργανωμένα και στην αναγκαία κλίμακα “χέρι βοήθειας”; Αν αυτό δεν συμβεί, ποιός άλλος θα το φροντίσει; Η λύση κάθε εθνικής κρίσης αντιμετωπίσθηκε ιστορικά σαν οικογενειακό πρόβλημα όλων των Ελλήνων όπου της γης. Γιατί στους Ελληνες δεν ταιριάζει η ψυχοσύνθεση των λωτοφάγων, του μυθικού εκείνου λαού της Οδύσσειας, που τρώγοντας λωτούς ζούσαν σε μια αδιατάραχτη μακαριότητα και παθητική αδιαφορία και λησμοσύνη!

Η Ελλάδα περιμένει και πάλιν την σωστική επέμβαση των ξενητεμένων παιδιών της. Είναι αυτά που με επαρκέστερους πόρους και γνώσεις, αυτά που συχνά-πυκνά αποδεικνύονται να έχουν υγιαίστερη οξύνοια, πολιτική ευφυϊα, αυτοτελή αντικειμενικότητα και αγνότερα ελατήρια από πολλoύς συμπατριώτες της εθνικής μητρόπολης, είναι σε καλλίτερη δυναμική θέση να προσφέρουν την ειδοποιό διαφορά για την κάθαρση του Ελληνικού δράματος.

Στο αισιόδοξο πνεύμα μιάς εφικτής κάθαρσης με την συνδρομή των Ελλήνων του εξωτερικού, θέλουμε να καταθέσουμε εδώ ένα απτό παράδειγμα του τι μπορούν να προσφέρουν στην Ελλάδα σήμερα οι Ελληνες επιστήμονες που ζούν και εργάζονται στη Βόρειο Αμερική

Το παράδειγμα-μαρτυρία μας το προσφέρει ο ΚΥΚΛΟΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΑΣ, μία πολύ μεγάλη συντροφιά ομογενών επιστημόνων που ζουν και εργάζονται στην περιοχή της αμερικανικής πρωτεύουσας. Σε πρόσφατη εκδήλωσή τους, ο διακεκριμένος επιστήμων Δρ. Σταμάτης Κριμιζής παρουσίασε εμπεριστατωμένη Ομιλία με αδιάσειστα στοιχεία, συμπυκνωμένα σε φωτεινές διαφάνειες, με θέμα: “Η Ελλάδα της Επιστήμης—και της Εκπαιδευτικής Οπισθοδρόμησης”. Η ομιλία αυτή αποτελεί εύγλωττη μαρτυρία της σχεδιαστικής και εφαρμόσιμης ικανότητας των Ελλήνων Επιστημόνων να επινοήσουν και να φέρουν εις πέρας το έργον εξόδου της Ελλάδας από την κρίσιν που αντιμετωπίζει και να την οδηγήσουν στην ανάπτυξη. Ο Δρ. Κριμιζής είναι κατ’ έξοχήν ειδήμων: Διαστημικός Ερευνητής, NASA, Johns Hopkins University, USA και Ακαδημία Αθηνών, Ελλάδα, Πρόεδρος, Εθνικό Συμβούλιο Ερευνας και Τεχνολογίας (ΕΣΕΤ), 2010-2013. Ο Ελληνικός Σύνδεσμος παρουσιάζει ολόκληρη την Ομιλία του στον ιστότοπό του http://www.helleniclink.org .                                                                                      Συνιστούμε θερμά στους αγαπητούς αναγνώστες μας να επισκεφθούν τον ιστότοπο και να μελετήσουν προσεκτικά το περιεχόμενο της σημαντικής αυτής μαρτυρίας. C.J.E.

Meeting with Aristotle University President

On Saturday, Dr. Pericles Mitkas, President (Rector) of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, visited the University of Delaware to spend time with his son Alexandros, first-year Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering. He contacted Hellenic member Dr. Dean Lomis, desiring to meet and discuss issues regarding the Aristotle Summer Greek Language Program designed for American students to fulfill their foreign language requirement of their home institutions for graduation. Dr. Mitkas realizes the significance of beginning this important program, and he is willing to consider beginning the first year, June 13 of this year, 2016, with whatever number of students wish to attend. He even mentioned that even 5 may be feasible. He is now on his way back to Thessaloniki to discuss the option with the Modern Greek School faculty of the University, hoping that this can be accomplished. This means, therefore, that the Hellenic Link membership must gear up in the next 7 weeks to recruit students to begin the very important and critical first year. We must be cognizant that the returning students by early August will be the best advertisement for students desiring to apply in future years. So, come on Members. Recruit one, just one student each, and the program will be a success!

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Greece: Science versus Educational Regression

By Stamatis Krimigis

A KYKLOS Presentation in Greek

at the

Hellenic Center, Bethesda, MD, USA

January 21, 2016

Please click title below to view PowerPoint presentation.

Η Ελλάδα της Επιστήµης- και της

Εκπαιδευτικής Οπισθοδρόµησης

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HELLENIC LINK, Inc

A NON PROFIT CULTURAL AND SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION

OF  HELLENES AND  PHILHELLENES INCORPORATED IN DELAWARE

Suite No. 278, 38-11 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, New York 11105

WebSite: http://www.helleniclink.org Email: info@helleniclink.org

Contact Telephone: (718) 217- 0430

HELLENIC LINK, Inc

A NON PROFIT CULTURAL AND SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION

OF  HELLENES AND  PHILHELLENES INCORPORATED IN DELAWARE

Suite No. 278, 38-11 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, New York 11105

WebSite: http://www.helleniclink.org Email: info@helleniclink.org

Contact Telephone: (718) 217- 0430

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