A Message from the President – May 2015

Pagonis-2015-01Dear friends,

We are living the aftermath of a tragedy; a tragedy from which we –as Greeks have always done- will gain strength and rise again. The fire at Koimisis Tis Theotokou Church was a great shock for our community. Teary-eyed people of all ages grieved as they watched “Panayitsa” in flames. To some members of our community, it brought back memories of Agia Triada, another one of our churches which was lost in a fire years ago.

We will rebuild our “Panayitsa”. The insurance coverage is $1,800,000 for the building and $1,060,000 for the content. A rough and preliminary estimate of the cost to rebuild is approximately $1,000,000. Of course there will be additional expenses as the works progress; however this does mean that no fundraising will be required for the reconstruction phase of the project. With the grace of God, Rev. Nicholas Papageorgiou will once again welcome his parishioners.

Nevertheless, your involvement is very important. You are the driving force of our churches, our schools, and the Greek community as a whole. I was very happy to see so many people attend the HCGM Board of Directors Special Meeting for the rebuilding of “Panayitsa”. You are all invited to the Special General Meeting where you will be able to vote on the future steps of the rebuilding process.

Life is not only full of tragedies; it also has its joyous moments, hard work and creativity. Discussions between Education officials from the HCGM and officials from McGill University’s Phrixos B. Papachristidis Chair of Modern Greek Studies and its Department of Education led to a historic meeting where we received confirmation that one of our most sought-after objectives, the creation of a Bachelor of Education programme, that would offer specialised training in the teaching of Greek as a second language by a local university, would finally become a reality. I congratulate Zoi Batsis, HCGM Secretary of Education, Chris Adamopoulos, École Socrates-Démosthène General Director, and their team for the excellent preparatory work done to achieve this important goal and ensure the future of our education.

In closing, I congratulate Dimitris Tzotzis, Director of the HCGM Hellenic Cultural Institute’s Folklore Workshop, and the group of about 200 performers who practiced for months in preparation for the production of the musical event «Όσα η ιστορία υφαίνει, ο χορός με κύκλους δένει». This series of spectacular productions is very significant in the preservation of our cultural heritage.

Nicholas T. Pagonis