Pancyprians of Staten Island ‘Aphrodite’ Host Annual Celebration

Pancyprians of Staten Island Aphrodite event group Left to right: Fr. Vasileios Apostolidis, Martinos Kyprianou, Consul General of Cyprus in New York Michalis Firillas, NYS Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, FCAO President Kyriacos Papastylianou, PSEKA President Philip Christopher, Cyprus Children’s Fund President Nicos Zittis, Pancyprians of Staten Island ‘Aphrodite’ President Philip Phytides, and Fr. Nicholas Petropoulakos. Photo: TNH/Michael Kakias
STATEN ISLAND – The Pancyprians of Staten Island ‘Aphrodite’ hosted their annual celebration on March 2 in the Katsoris Hellenic Center at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

The guests enjoyed traditional Cypriot food and sweets, live music by the band ‘Panel’ and dancing by the youth groups of the parish.

Pancyprians of Staten Island ‘Aphrodite’ President Philip Phytides spoke with The National Herald and expressed everyone’s joy and appreciation for the organization of the event, thanking the volunteers for their contribution, the attendees for their presence, and referred to the efforts made to preserve and spread the customs and traditions to the younger generation.

He said: “Although our association was founded only a few years ago, we already have 70 members, all residents of Staten Island. The purpose of today’s event is to collect and send money to the hospital for children with cancer in Nicosia and to help seven families who went from Cyprus to Germany for the treatment of their children, to cover the costs of their housing, food and more.”

The Pancyprians of Staten Island ‘Aphrodite’ hosted their annual celebration at the Katsoris Hellenic Center on March 2. Photo: TNH/Michael Kakias
Phytides continued: “At the same time, we are given the opportunity to get together, see dear friends and fellow citizens, exchange best wishes and have fun. We are optimistic that the future of our association will be even brighter and more successful.”

PSEKA President Philip Christopher also spoke to TNH, congratulating the association for the remarkable work it is doing and referred to the events of memory and honor on the occasion of this year’s tragic 50th anniversary since the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

“The theme of the New York Greek Independence Parade on 5th Avenue on April 14 will be dedicated to Cyprus, June 11-13 we will be in Washington, DC, on June 20 we are holding our big demonstration, and again on July 20, and many more events with the main purpose of reminding all of us who we are and American citizens to continue the struggle until the freedom our island is free,” he noted.

Consul General of Cyprus in New York Michalis Firillas, thanked the association for the invitation and wished it every progress and success. “I have been impressed by the spirit of the association members and the love they have for the country,” Firillas said. “They deserve many congratulations for the holy cause they have set at today’s event to send money to sick children. I personally and the consulate will always be by their side in every effort.”

New York State Assemblyman and Staten Island Republican Party Chairman Michael Tannousis spoke movingly of his parents’ uprooting due to the Turkish invasion, settling in America, and the need to find a just and sustainable solution to the Cyprus problem that removes barbed wire fences, dividing walls, and foreign troops.

Federation of Cypriot American Organizations President Kyriacos Papastylianou expressed everyone’s pride in the national, social, and charitable work carried out by the Staten Island association. He noted that “fifty years later we don’t forget. We honor and search for our fallen and missing. I am sending everyone a message of resistance and refusal to accept what has been done. The decision of us all is to continue the struggle no matter how long it takes, no matter how many sacrifices are required until the victory, until there is justice.”

Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas presiding priest Fr. Nicholas Petropoulakos asked the faithful to pray to Saints Nektarios, Savvas, Nikolaos, Spyridon and Parthenios to help all the children suffering from cancer and at the same time to financially support the families to cope with the huge costs of treatment.

Fr. Vasileios Apostolidis, the community’s assistant priest, congratulated the members of the association for the excellent initiative and wished that such events would inspire other organizations and associations in the future.

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