What Does Philoptochos Mean to Greeks?
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The Philoptochos, also referred to as the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc, is an important fixture in Greek Orthodox communities throughout the world.According to the official website, the Philoptochos is, “is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that has offered 85 years of philanthropy through a multitude of programs that make a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world.” Many female parishioners at Orthodox Churches take part in this society, and they are all devoted to carrying on its mission of philanthropy. Here’s a look at what the Philoptochos society is and what it means to Greeks:
Mission of the Philoptochos Society
According to the society’s website, the mission of the Philoptochos centers around philanthropy. They are devoted to helping others, but they also have the role of bringing together the people in the Greek community in a positive way. For example, the Philoptochos may host a community dinner and the proceeds from that dinner will be used for their philanthropic mission.
Here’s a summary of the mission of the Philoptochos society:
- To help those less fortunate, such as the poor, hungry, and destitute,
- To promote their philanthropic and charitable works through lectures and education,
- To preserve and grow the Orthodox Christian faith and its ideals to help bolster families and the church community,
- To bring the community together through planned activities.
Female Orthodox Christians are encouraged to join the Philoptochos society and parishioners of all ages and genders are encouraged to participate in the planned events. Part of their mission is to bring people together.
History of the Philoptochos
According to the National Philoptochos Society website, the idea for the organization came from a Greek concept known as Philanthropia, which dates back to the days of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire is officially recorded as the first State government to offer citizens in need aid and assistance. However, the society itself didn’t develop until the late 1800’s, around the time when Greeks began journeying to the United States to escape the problems of Greece and start a new life.
The society had its official beginnings in 1894 when individuals in the Greek community in New York City started it. Father Paisios Ferentinos, Mrs. Amalia Feramoschos, and Mrs. Penelope Eleftheropoulos were given the task of welcoming new Greek immigrants to the United States. They realized that this task was an overwhelming one, so they begin to look for ways to make this process easier. Inspired by the old Byzantine Greek idea of Philanthropia, the National Philptochos Society was born. It has been going strong every since. The society today gives aid to all those who need it, not just Orthodox Christians.
When asked what the Philoptochos means to them, the ideas of community, family, and philanthropy are what comes to mind. They are devoted to helping those who need it and to also spread the love of the Orthodox faith to the church parishioners, their communities, and the world as a whole.
Categorized in: Modern Greek History
This post was written by GreekBoston.com