Friday, March 21, 2008

Local Philoptochos, "Friends of the Poor”, Helping the Community

Philoptochos is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the country. The Greek word Philoptochos translates literally to “Friends of the Poor.” Philoptochos is the right arm of the Greek Orthodox Church: a society of the spiritually faithful, united in love and service. The late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras established the Ladies Philoptochos Society in 1931 for the purpose of helping the Greek Orthodox Church in its ministries. Today there are over 475 chapters and 28,000 members in the United States.

Internationally Philoptochos gives to such organizations as the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) who helped when the Tsunamis hit, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast, and more recently with the tragic fires in Greece. Nationally Philoptochos supports the St. Photios Shrine, shrine of the first Greek Orthodox Church in America, the Children’s Cardiac Fund and Unicef. A total of $1,373,431 was donated in 2007 from the National Philoptochos programs. Philoptochos has exemplified Christian Stewardship in nearly every area.

The local St. Christopher Hellenic Orthodox Chapter of Philoptochos in Peachtree City was formed in September 2004. The St. Christopher Chapter supports the Fayette Samaritans, Fayette County DFACS, the Loaves and Fishes program at St. John the Wonderworker in Atlanta (which serves the hungry twice a day) and the Fayette County Community Christmas Program.

Each January, the St. Christopher Philoptochos Chapter holds its annual Vasilopita Dinner to raise funds for St. Basil Academy in Garrison, New York. Philoptochos purchased the land for the Academy in 1944 and it continues to be one of the main financial supporters of the Academy through various programs. The mission of the Academy of Saint Basil is to provide a loving, Orthodox Christian residential home in which the children who seek the Academy’s protection are transformed through faith, academics, mutual respect, trust, pride, positive values and teamwork.

Over the past four years since its inception, St. Christopher’s Philoptochos has raised over $10,000 in support of St. Basil Academy. Also, in 2007 alone, they raised $6,465 which was donated to charities and commitments. For membership information, please contact Julie Skouteris, Chapter President, at

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