submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 09.10.2020
Like many of us in 2020, we found that COVID concerns changed our lives. We couldn’t travel to our beloved Kythera during the summer, and were unable to hold our in-person annual Kytherian Society of California (KSOCA) Panigyri of the Myrtidiotissa Luncheon. Not letting a pandemic stop us from getting together, we decided to hold a virtual, worldwide panigyri and invite our relatives and friends!
We are delighted to report that our first ever Global "ZOOM" Panigyri, held on Sept. 26, 2020, was an outstanding success! About 120 Kytherians and Philo-Kytherians from around the world took part in this historic event, meeting with old and new friends and relatives in real time from the comfort of our own homes.
Within the USA, attendees participated from Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois Indiana, Maryland, Connecticut, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
Our international Zoomers joined us from Sydney and Brisbane, Australia; Paris and Plottes, France; Berlin, Athens, Kythera, Dublin, and various UK locations including London, Birmingham, and Hertfordshire. We applaud the Aussie Kytherians, who unflinchingly woke up to join us at 3 am local time!
Highlights of the meeting agenda included:
• Opening and welcome remarks from outgoing KSOCA President Katherine Stathis
• Prayer by Fr. Niko Bekris, Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church, Castro Valley
• The Apolytikion of the Miracle of the Theotokos, sung by Dr. Tikey Zes in the English translation
• Introduction of KSOCA Board, and newly-elected President Vikki Vrettos Fraioli, by Katherine Stathis
• Brief history of the KSOCA, by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli
• 2020 Anastasia Conomos Condas Scholarship award presentation by Scholarship Chair Melissa Neofes Mischak to Elle Scandalios
• Updates from presidents and representatives from additional Kytherian associations were received from:
✴ Diane Homberg, President, Kytherian Brotherhood of Baltimore, Maryland
✴ Tina Dapontes Damiris, President, Kytherian Association of New York
✴ Emmanuel Alfieris, President, Kytherian Association of Australia, Sydney, NSW
✴ Victor Kepreotis, Past President Kytherian Association of Australia, Sydney, NSW
✴ Elias Marsellos, Director, Kytheraismos Institute, Athens, Greece.
✴ Stratos Charchalakis, Mayor of Kythera
• Mini Presentations on Kytherian topics of interest by:
✴ Lita Tzortzopoulos Gregory: Kythera News
✴ Helen Tzortzopoulos: the Migration Museum in Agia Pelagia
✴ Jean Marie Stratigos: Wind Turbine Update
✴ James Prineas: www.kythera-family.net, purekythera.com
• Raffle-Even a raffle can be held via ZOOM! Selling raffle tickets in advance raised almost $800, with the proceeds benefiting the KSOCA Scholarship Fund! Raffle Chair Elaine Moulos called out the winning names of USA participants, who received gift cards and other prizes. Elaine decorated the raffle station with the flags of all the countries represented in the ZOOM Panigyri, lending a festive air. The KSOCA would like to warmly thank all who donated prizes for the raffle as well as those who purchased raffle tickets.
• Breakout Rooms - The highlights of the Global ZOOM Panigyri were the breakout sessions, allowing participants to chat with each other in small groups.
Originally slated for 90 minutes, the ZOOM Panigyri call ended after 3 pm PDT, more than five hours later! We continued our conversation in the Main Room, and a few Sydney Aussies joined us at the respectable hour of 6 am local time. Kudos to George Poulos from Sydney, who determinedly held on for three hours. Antony Zaglas, from Sydney, won the Endurance Award for ZOOMING from beginning to almost the very end!
The KSOCA plans to hold more Global ZOOM chats in the future, allowing Kytherians and Philo-Kytherians worldwide the opportunity for fellowship, conversation, and connection.
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