90th Anniversary of Saint Andrew: The Greeks of South Bend Form Ahepa, 1926

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,

As we continue to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of our Greek Orthodox Parish of Saint Andrew, we turn our attention to the formation of the AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) Chapter at South Bend, Indiana.

The South Bend News-Times of April 25, 1926 ran this piece on the organization of the South Bend Chapter of the Ahepa:

"Prominent Greek citizens of South Bend will inaugurate a new chapter of the AHEPA, a national organization of Greek men, on Monday, when the Supreme President V.I. Chebithes, a prominent attorney of Washington D.C., will come to this city for the installation ceremonies. About 75 representatives of Chicago, Ill., Chapter # 76, and Fort Wayne Chapter # 81, together with their presidents and other officials, will be in the city Monday and Tuesday to assist in the work of installation of the South Bend Chapter.

Initiation ceremonies will take place Monday evening at 8 o'clock in the Knights of Pythias hall. At that time about 50 local men will be installed as charter members. On Tuesday evening, a banquet will be given at the Oliver Hotel, when covers will be placed for 125 guests, including the visitors and the new members. The principal speaker will be Mr. Chebithes...The Supreme President. Mr. Chebithes, will arrive in the city at 12:30 o'clock Sunday noon. Headquarters for the other chapter members will be at the Oliver Hotel."

The News Times reported on the banquet in the issue of April 28:

"...Chebithes, attorney of Washington, D.C. in his address dealing with purposes and ideals of the Order of Ahepa. In explaining the role which the organization is attempting to play in the education of the Greek immigrant, he told of the many democratic institutions which have come from Greece and have been adopted by this country."

To promote American citizenship among the Greek Americans, promote commercial cooperation and mutual friendship between the American and Greek-American democracy, were some of the reasons addressed by Mr. Chebithes for the existence of the Order which was founded July, 1922, in Atlanta, Georgia, and which now has a membership of 10.000 members...Rome Stephenson was toastmaster of the evening, being introduced by Pendel Poledor, president of the local chapter. Invocation was given by the Reverend Father Matthew Walsh, President of the Notre Dame University.

The chapter minutes indicate that early meetings were held at the South Bend, YMCA. That year, 1926, the Board of Governors: Eustice Poledor, Spyridon Stratigos, George Rorres, Gust Pappas, and Pete Kandis (who was elected as chairman of the board). On the same evening, they voted to send delegates to the National Ahepa Convention held in Philadelphia, Penn.  The delegates were Spiro Kansas and Eustice Poledor.

Through the efforts of Gust Makris, arrangements were made to rent the Masonic Lodge Room which was vacated . This was an ideal choice for the Ahepa, since meetings would be held in permanent quarters next to the Victoria Lunch Room. Meetings were held on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Initiation fees were $50.00 and annual dues were $20.00.

The South Bend Ahepans finally got their chance to host an Ahepan Convention. On Sunday morning, June 24, 1934, the South Bend Tribune had a picture of the Ahepa Committee in charge of the 3rd District Convention arrangements. The committee included Eustice Poledor, Thomas Tsiolis, Nick Kandis, Leo J. Lamberson, and Spiro Balanis...

South Bend Chapter No. 100 of Ahepa, with headquarters adjacent to Saint Andrew church on William and Jefferson Blvd. hosted the visiting delegates. "Two hundred delegates and members of the Order of Ahepa National Greek fraternity, accompanied by their wives, attended the banquet-dance event...

The delegates to the convention elected the following Ahepa members for positions in the District Lodge: Nick A. Kandis, District Governor; Nick Mentis, Lt. Governor; Leo J. Lamberson, District Secretary; George Speros, District Treasurer; and George Anderson, District Marshall.

Daughters of Penelope and Sons of Pericles Chapters established in 1937.

Eleven years elapsed from the time the Order of Ahepa was organized in South Bend to the founding of the Daughters of Penelope (the senior women's auxiliary) and the Sons of Pericles (the junior Order of Ahepa).

The Chapter members of the Gaia Chapter were: Alexandra Lamberson, Irene Stasinos, Alexandra Poledor, Katherine Kouroubetis, Mary Vouros, Ourania Stasinos, Yiota Poledor, Mary Karras, Bessie Nitsos, Panagoula Brillan, Susane Rorres, Nora Poulos, Georgia Arygris, Helen Rorres, Penelope Kalogreas, Blanche Panos, Helen Chumas, Minnie Poledor, Maria Pappas, Despine Vouros, Amelia Kalafat, Mary Berbas, Areta Adams, Cleopatra Kandis, Alexandra Tsalikis, Irene Manisodis and Joanna Karras.

Sons of Pericles

1937 was a good year for the Greek community, for the church, and for the Ahepa, as well as for the estimated 115 Greek business enterprises in South Bend. At the District Convention I gave the following memo to the delegates:

"Mrs. Leo J. Lamberson and I were instrumental in organizing the Daughters of Penelope Gaia Chapter No. 60. As district secretary I participated in the formal installation of the chapter and its officers. I would like to inform the delegates that I have been encouraging the young men of South Bend to organize a Sons of Pericles Chapter. I am confident that this will be accomplished soon.

Within a month I was able to sign sixteen young men as members of the Sons of Pericles, and on the 26th of July the South Bend Chapter of the Sons of Pericles, No. 160, was officially organized and the young men were initiated by Leo J. Lamberson and myself in the presence of many South Bend members of Ahepa."

Maids of Athena, 1955

The first chapter of the Maids of Athena, as it was originally known, was founded in the Northwest part of our country. Thomas D. Lengis of Seattle, Washington is credited with organizing the first Maid Chapter--Sparta--in Tacoma.

The local chapter of the Maids of Athena was not organized until May 8, 1955. Crestia Chapter No. 114 was under the direct supervision of the Daughters of Penelope.

(Source: The Greeks of Michiana by Milton Kouroubetis)