"Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble." Psalms 41:1
Membership: Women 18 years of age or older and member of the parish. Auxiliary members are spouses who have not joined St. Andrew's parish and men can also join. These members do not hold office. Our meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 7pm. (check current month for exact date.) The mission of Philoptochos is the outreach to those in need locally and in the Diocese and national levels.
The philanthropic endeavors of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society during more than six decades is a genuine expression of love and Christian Charity. This expression of love is evident in the multitude of meaningful programs and services undertaken during the past sixty-five years.
With the arrival of the Archbishop Athenagoras in February, 1931 to assume leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America, an era began in the life and mission of the Greek Orthodox Community.
The Thirties were turbulent times for the Greek people in America and Archbishop Athenagoras soon realized that there was an urgent need to provide philanthropic and relief services to the poor and suffering omogenia.
With the convening of the Fourth Archdiocesan General Assembly in New York City, on November, 1931, His Eminence, Archbishop Athenagoras urged the establishment of a National Women's Organization as the official philanthropic arm of the Church in America and to function under the Archdiocese. Many parishes had women's organizations and became the nucleus of a National Federation of Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Societies (Adelphotis), of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. In order to immediately develop the proper structure, the Archbishop utilized the incorporation or charter issued to Holy Trinity Philoptochos by the State of New York in 1928. On October, 1932, His Eminence, Archbishop Athenagoras sent his first encyclical to the Philoptochos chapters, enclosing the BY-LAWS and guidelines under which the organization would function.
The first General Assembly of the Philoptochos convened in Boston, Mass., on October, 1935 with Archbishop Athenagoras presiding. Over the years His Eminence addressed may encyclicals to the Philoptochos offering suggestions, counseling their efforts and praising their accomplishments, as he did on June, 1936 in an encyclical to the Priests, Parish Councils, and all Greek Orthodox Christians in the Archdiocese, stating: "the mission promoted through the Philoptochos in many parishes has accomplished miracles." The Archbishop also asked that the Feast-Day of Saints Cosmas and Damianos which is observed on November 1st, be designated at the Patron Saints of Philoptochos.
Archbishop Athenagoras, in 1937, established the Holy Cross Theological School in Pomfret, CT and challenged the Philoptochos Chapters to offer financial and moral support to the Seminary. To this day, Hellenic College/Holy Cross Theological School continues to receive considerable financial support.
World War II brought many new challenges. Philoptochos played and important role in helping the Greek War Relief effort, sending food, clothes, medicine, blankets, hospital equipment and an ambulance to Greece. Philoptochos ladies also worked with the American Red Cross and sold United States War Bonds.
At the request of Archbishop Athenagoras Philoptochos purchased a 250 acre estate in Garrison, NY., on March 1944. This became St. Basil Academy, where children for broken homes reside and receive an education though 8th grade. St. Basil Academy is a major National Philoptochos program.
Under the leadership of Archbishop Iakovos, Philoptochos developed many new programs i.e., Social Service Office to assist new immigrants from Greece, the Sisterhood of St. Basil Academy, a Foster Parent Program was established to help Cypriot refugee children, the Philoptochos Children's Cardiac Program for children from Greece and Greek-American children. The Social Services Office was expanded on October, 1988 to include new committees on AIDS, Aging, the Homeless, child abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, battered women, Children's Medical Fund to assist children with life-threatening illnesses, i.e., AIDS, kidney and liver ailments, Juvenile Diabetes, as well as Cancer.
Social and Moral issues are of primary concern and include information on fighting child pornography and teenage pregnancy.
Other current National Philoptochos programs include Archdiocese Missions, St. Photios Shrine, and the Philanthropies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Philoptochos, is represented at the United Nations on the Economic and Social Council and the NGO- Non Governmental Organization. Also, UNICEF. National Philoptochos is a member of the National Council on Aging, National Religious Coalition Against Pornography and the General Federation of Women's Clubs. National Philoptochos is a major benefactor of the Restoration of Ellis Island.
"The life of our parishes would really be in a sorry state is it were not for the Philoptochos Society."
Currently under the leadership of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Philoptochos heads to the next millennium with many years ahead to provide love, community service and unity for all.