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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Job Opening at AHEPA Headquarters for Digital Media Strategist

AHEPA Digital Media Strategist
 
Job Description
We are looking for a dynamic, self-motivated individual to direct the overall growth and strategic direction of our organization's online presence. The Digital Media Strategist is responsible for developing and managing a comprehensive online strategy, including internal and external promotion, content creation, design development and implementation, and online partnership building. The Digital Media Strategist will also support membership recruitment efforts, editorial & consumer marketing decisions, issues campaign management, design plans, and overall strategic planning for AHEPA. This is a leadership position that requires someone who can motivate others to ensure the success of the department, and the organization as a whole.

Experience
This is not an entry-level position. At least 2-3 years of experience in the field of digital strategy is required.
 
Minimum Requirements
Social Media, Marketing Web Skills and knowledge of content management systems. Knowledge in using and administering social media accounts at sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the ability to quickly learn to use other social media as required. Also should be checking on the future development of further social media platforms as they develop (i.e. Google+, etc.). Experience maintaining a blog including writing, including images and videos, and promoting on social media. Basic HTML and website administration knowledge. Ability to deploy online solutions for compatibility with multiple browsers. Familiarity with SEO techniques, monitoring and software. Understanding of how to analyze user statistics on Facebook, Twitter, website (Google analytics), etc. and monitor interaction via Facebook mentions, retweets, etc.
 
Writing Skills
Ability to write professional, concise email messages curated to targeted email lists in a timely manner. Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to write public and internal communications and reports in professional writing style. Knowledge of AP Style, willingness to learn internal AHEPA Stylebook.
 
General Requirements
Ability to maintain brand consistency across all social media platforms; willingness to work with multiple internal AHEPA departments to ensure brand consistency. Ability to work independently, multitask and meet deadlines for multiple internal and external customers simultaneously. Reports directly to the Executive Director
 
Consideration is given to Sons of Pericles/Maids of Athena or AHEPA Family member who qualify. 
 
Applications and CV can be emailed to ahepa@ahepa.org to schedule an interview, closing date January 31, 2015

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Greek Food Bazaar Returns to Reading, Pa., on Oct. 17-18-19



By Tony Phyrillas
READING – The largest ethnic food festival in Berks County returns this weekend for its 44th year at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church.
In addition to authentic Greek food and pastry, the three-day festival (Oct. 17-18-19) features live music, folk dancing, gift rooms and church tours.
New this year is The Plaka, where local crafters will be selling their wares, as well as children’s activities, including a train ride. Also new is an expanded seating area under an outdoor tent, which will offer new food choices and music/dancing to the sounds of the band Enosi, which will perform Saturday from 6-10 p.m. (There is cover charge for the Enosi performance).
“The food has always been the big draw at the Bazaar, but we’re trying some new things this year to give younger families and young adults more activities,” said Achilleas Lambriodes, who is chairman of the outdoor activities. “There’s a lot more to see and do this year.”
The food is prepared and cooked on the premises by church members using family recipes handed down through generations. All food items are available to eat-in in or take-out.
Athenian-style chicken platters, which comes with Pastitsio or rice pilaf, Greek-style string beans, a Greek salad, roll and butter for $12 will be offered all weekend in the main dining hall. You can substitute Plaki (fresh fish fillet baked with vegetables, herbs and wine) or Souvlaki (chunks of marinated pork) on the platter meal.
There are also a la carte items such Gyro (marinated beef and lamb slices) and Souvlaki (pork shis-ke-bob) sandwiches; Calamari (squid) cooked in tomatoes and wine; Moussaka (eggplant casserole); Arni Psito (roast lamb cooked with herbs); and Pastitsio (layered Greek pasta, seasoned with chopped beef topped with b├ęchamel sauce).
A variety of imported Greek wines and spirits, including Ouzo, an anise-flavored liqueur, are available, as well as domestic and imported beers.
While enjoying a meal in the main dining hall, visitors will be treated to Greek music by Stavros & Maria, a brother-sister duo who are also members of the church.
The church’s youth dance group, Kefi, will perform traditional Greek dances wearing colorful costumes on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
After a hearty meal, there’s plenty to see and do on the church grounds. The Agora (Greek market) offers packaged Greek foods and prepared dishes to go. The Kafenio (Greek coffee house) features fresh-brewed Greek-style coffee, rice pudding and pastries in a relaxed atmosphere.
Visitors can also shop for original artwork, gold jewelry and items imported from Greece in various gift rooms.
A popular stop for all visitors is the pastry room, where you can sample Baklava (almonds, butter and honey layered in flaky pastry), Teelikta (walnuts, butter and honey rolled in flaky pastry); Kourabiethes (butter cookies topped with powdered sugar); Koulourakia (Greek twisted butter cookie); and Galaktobouriko (a filo pastry filled with custard and moistened with honey syrup).
Another Greek delicacy offered throughout the weekend is Loukoumades (puffed honey balls), a warm, dough pastry topped with syrup, cinnamon and chopped nuts.
Tours of the church interior, which features one of the largest collections of Byzantine iconography in the United States, are offered on the hour throughout the weekend.
Bazaar hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Additional parking is available at the adjacent Berks Catholic High School. The event will be held rain or shine.
The church is located at 1001 E. Wyomissing Blvd., about one mile from Business Route 222 South (Lancaster Avenue).
For more information, call 610-374-7511 or visit www.stsconstantinehelen.org

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Reading Chapter Honored By AHEPA Supreme President Phillip T. Frangos


Chapter President George Giovanis, left, accepts an award on behalf of William Penn Chapter No. 61 from Phillip T. Frangos, Supreme President of the Order of AHEPA during a visit to the Reading, PA, chapter on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. The Supreme President presented two plaques to the Reading Chapter as the Chapter with the Largest Membership Increase and Chapter of the Year in the entire AHEPA domain for 2014.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

US Rep. Bilirakis Condemns 40 Years of Turkish Occupation of Cyprus

AHEPA Marks Somber 40th Anniversary of Invasion, Occupation of Cyprus

AHEPA Marks Somber 40th Anniversary of Invasion, Occupation of Cyprus

Calls for Removal of Turkish Troops from Cyprus; Movement on Confidence-Building Measures

WASHINGTON, DC - Supreme President Anthony Kouzounis issued the following statement on the 40th anniversary of the illegal invasion and subsequent occupation of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey that occurred July 20, 1974:

"Today we ask, 'How long?' as we mark a somber day-the 40th anniversary of the illegal invasion and occupation of the Republic of Cyprus by the Republic of Turkey. This was, and remains to this very day, an intolerable act; one that is a gross violation of the rule of law, human rights, and democratic ideals. We pause to remember the innocent civilians who lost their lives and the thousands who went missing, including four American citizens whose investigations remain incomplete. The illegal invasion and occupation caused the displacement of 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees who to this day are unable to return to their homes which is also a violation of human rights as determined by the European Commission on Human Rights. Moreover, Turkey's restrictions upon religious freedom and destruction of Cyprus' cultural and religious heritage in Turkish-occupied Cyprus have been well-documented by the U.S. Helsinki Commission, the Law Library of Congress, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and several media publications.

"In February, the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots agreed to a Joint Declaration that provided the foundation for the resumption of settlement talks. Included in the declaration was a commitment 'to efforts to implement confidence building measures that will provide a dynamic impetus to the prospect for a united Cyprus.' Unfortunately, after a promising start, the return of Famagusta or movement on other confidence-building measures has stalled, demonstrating Turkey's intransigence. We hope that bridge-building measures such as the Good Friday service that brought Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots together can serve as an inspiration going forward.

"We vigorously applaud the recent high-level engagement by United States government officials with the Republic of Cyprus, including Vice President Joe Biden's historic May visit and subsequent engagement by the vice president and U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense officials. We also laud the bipartisan action taken this week by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and U.S. Representative Ed Royce, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Together, they urged the Obama administration to increase attention to the goal of reunifying Cyprus in a joint letter.

"However, the key to a successful settlement rests in Ankara. We once again call on the U.S. government, as we do every year at this time, to convey a strong message to Turkey that it must provide the Turkish Cypriot community with the necessary freedom to negotiate a solution within the United Nations framework, and equally as important, that Turkey must play a constructive role in the movement of confidence-building measures and facilitate the removal of 40,000 of its troops from the island. Thus, on this somber anniversary, we again call on Turkey to begin the removal of its troops from Cyprus. These are troops that we contend would serve a better purpose, especially to NATO, in another theatre, as opposed to Cyprus, where there have been more than 17 million incident-free crossings by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

"Therefore, we restate our call for a reunified Cyprus with a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship; and with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded as described in the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. We contend that such a solution is in the best interest of all Cypriots, and must emanate from Cypriots themselves without arbitrary timetables.

"We call for these actions in the best interests of the United States. A just and viable solution to the division of Cyprus will strengthen the eastern Mediterranean and bring peace and security to the region. This is especially important with the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves within the exclusive economic zones of the Republic of Cyprus and Israel by a U.S. energy firm. Furthermore, a just and viable solution will aid Turkey's candidacy to become a member of the European Union.

"Today, we say 40 years is too long. Our hope is that we will no longer need to observe this 'black anniversary,' but instead, celebrate the anniversary of a settlement. AHEPA remains committed to doing all within its power to keep the Cyprus issue in the public eye until a just and viable solution that benefits all Cypriots is realized."

AHEPA to Mark Anniversary at Supreme Convention

AHEPA will remember the victims of Turkey's illegal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus with a Moment of Silence at the Opening Ceremony of its 92nd Annual Supreme Convention which will be held July 21, 2014. Also during the convention, AHEPA will host AHI Founder Eugene Rossides, a Life Member of AHEPA, for a presentation on his new book, "Kissinger & Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness," on July 24, 2014.

AHEPA proudly participated at a "Rally for Cyprus" on Capitol Hill organized by PSEKA that marked the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the Republic of Cyprus, July 16, 2014. AHEPA Chairman of the Board and Past Supreme President Nicholas Karacostas, a refugee from Cyprus, and Executive Director Basil Mossaidis, represented AHEPA on behalf of Supreme President Anthony Kouzounis. Several Ahepans also participated as representatives of other Hellenic or Diaspora organizations. Philip Christopher, president, PSEKA, is also an AHEPA member and special advisor on Cyprus to the AHEPA National Cyprus & Hellenic Affairs Committee.

"We congratulate PSEKA for organizing an outstanding public awareness and advocacy event," Kouzounis added. "We pledge to continue to work with all organizations to ensure the Cyprus issue remains visible and that a just and viable solution for Cyprus and all Cypriots becomes reality."

Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, to protect individuals from the evils of bigotry and discrimination, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with more than 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Europe. The mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.

For more information about AHEPA or how to join, please visit ahepa.org or contact AHEPA Headquarters, 202-232-6300.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In Memorium: Constantine 'Gus' Comins

Constantine P. Comins, 87, of Wyomissing, passed away June 13, 2014 in the Reading Hospital, where he was a patient for 2 weeks.

He was the loving and devoted husband to Mary T. (Tabakelis) Comins who passed away June 21, 2012. They celebrated 60 years of marriage. Born on November 5, 1926 in Birdsboro, he was the son of the late Peter J. and Mary (Alexander) Comins.

Constantine was a 1944 graduate of Reading High School, Emory University in Atlanta, GA where he earned a BS in Chemistry in 1950 and Franklin Marshall in 1960, MS in Chemistry. He was a member of Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, where he was former member of Parish Council. He served in the US Navy during WWII.

Mr. Comins was employed at former Western Electric as a chemical plating engineer for 36 years, retiring in 1988. Mr. Comins was involved in many organizations which included former memberships: Order of A.H.E.P.A, Masonic Order, Williamson Lodge #307, past president of the Reading Chemists Club, Director of Reading/Berks Science and Engineering Fair.

Survivors include 4 daughters: JoAnne G. (Comins), wife of Bruce Rick, Prosser, WA; Marian C. (Comins), wife of Mark Drucker, Largo, FL; Constance C. (Comins), wife of Michael Coleman, Glen Mills, PA; Jayme E. Comins, at home. There are 6 grandchildren: George Rick, Gretchen Rick, Jason Drucker, Peter Drucker, Maria Coleman, Alexis Coleman. Other survivors include brother-in-laws, John Tabakelis, husband of Ruth Tabakelis, Morgantown; Thomas J. Bell, widower of Penelope Bell (Twin sister to Mrs. Mary Comins), Wiliamson, NJ.

Services will be Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church: 1001 East Wyomissing Blvd. Reading, PA 19611 with Rev. Spyridon Papademetriou officiating. Family will receive friends on Thursday at the church from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Burial will be in Charles Evans Cemetery with military honors.

Bean Funeral Homes & Crematory, 3825 Penn Avenue, Sinking Spring is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.beanfuneralhomes.com.

Monday, June 9, 2014

2014 AHEPA Scholarship Banquet Highlights



Pictured from left to right: District Governor James Gregorakis; Supreme Governor Philip Yamalis; the 2014 scholarship award recipients: Sterg Dikos, Stephen Lambriodes and Andrew Lountzis;
Dr. George J. Giovanis, Chapter #61 President; Past District Governor #5 Gust Kraras; and Chapter Scholarship Chairman Athan Dialectos.

On June 5, 2014, the William Penn Chapter #61 hosted a Scholarship Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel ballroom recognizing the following 2014 scholarship award recipients: Stergios Dikos, Stephen Lambriodes and Andrew J. Lountzis. Each scholarship recipient received a $1,000 award and plaque recognizing their achievements. Annually, the Reading, PA, Chapter provides deserving students with the financial assistance needed to pursue their academic dreams.

These graduating high school students from the Church community have very promising futures exhibited by outstanding academic achievement performance, leadership qualities, and active involvement in school, Church and community activities. The awards banquet was attended by the following AHEPA dignitaries from Power District No. 4 and the Supreme Lodge: District Governor James Gregorakis, Executive Secretary Anthony Drakos and Supreme Governor Philip Yamalis. Each year, the scholarship banquet features a local high school show choir for the evening entertainment.

Monday, May 26, 2014

From the AHEPA Archives: William Penn Chapter 61 Hosts Testimonial Dinner for Reading Clergy


On January 12, 1992, William Penn Chapter No. 61 AHEPA hosted a Testimonial Dinner in honor of the two Greek Orthodox clergymen who served in Reading, Pa. More than 200 people, including District and National AHEPA dignitaries, attended the event at The Riveredge Restaurant in Reading. Pictured above are the honorees, Rev. Father Spyridon C. Papademetriou, who served at St. Matthews Greek Orthodox Church at the time, and Rev. Father Thomas L. Pappalas, who served at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church. Also pictured are Tony Phyrillas, chapter president at the time, Michael Firilas and William Sianis, co-chairman of the event. Father Tom continues to serve as Protopresbyter of Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, where Father Spyridon also serves today.

Monday, March 31, 2014

9,000 Page Views

Our site counter has recorded more than 9,000 Page Views to the Reading AHEPA website. If you scroll down on the right-hand side of the site, you can see a listing of the most popular posts. Thanks for checking out our chapter's site ... and come back again.

Friday, March 21, 2014

AHEPA Scholarship Application Reminder



AHEPA Scholarship Application Reminder

Our local AHEPA Chapter #61 in Reading will be sponsoring a scholarship program this year.  Our parish youth who will be graduating from high school in 2014 and continuing their education at an accredited institution of higher learning are eligible.  Contact Ahepan Athan Dialectos for a scholarship application and related information at 610-762-0477 or readingmaaco@epix.net if interested in applying for this scholarship.  The completed application and requested documentation are due on or before April 27, 2014.

In addition to our local AHEPA Chapter scholarship program, The AHEPA Power District No. 4 Scholarship Fund is also available to our parishioners.  Applicants for scholarships will be selected from high school graduates who are about to enter an accredited institution of higher learning, or from students already attending such institutions.  An applicant must have either a parent or grandparent that is a member of Power District #4 of AHEPA.  If interested in the district level scholarship program, simply forward an e-mail request to the AHEPA Chapter #61 President, Dr. George J. Giovanis, at georgejgiovanis@comcast.net  to secure a copy of the scholarship application.  Include your mailing address and telephone number with your request.  Review carefully the rules governing awarding the AHEPA district level scholarship which is different from our local AHEPA Chapter scholarship program.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to return the AHEPA District No. 4 application postmarked no later than April 17, 2014. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

President's Report

§  Our AHEPA Sunday festivities were a huge success last Sunday, March 16th.  We recognized and honored our Ahepans for their service to our Church and community.  We also celebrated our Church’s 100th year birthday.  Following Church service in which an Artoclasia and prayers were conducted for the health of our members, we has a “photo-op” of all of our members.  I counted approximately 60 to 70 Ahepans in attendance for this event!  Thanks to Chris Kraras, Stam Zervanos, and all of our Ahepan “Kooks”, we had a fabulous Lenten luncheon for all parishioners.  A special thanks for Brother Gust Kraras for composing the AHEPA Sunday booklet publication.  What a special day for our AHEPA fraternal order!
§  The first attachment (AHEPA 2013-2014 Meetings/Activities) has been revised as if 3/20/2014.  I have added another AHEPA business meeting scheduled on Sunday, April 27 featuring the initiation of new member prospects.  If you know of any individuals that you would like to recommend for membership, please contact me.  We already have a least four (4) individuals that have expressed interest in joining our Chapter.
§  The Winter Issue of the AHEPA District #4 Power Line has featured our Chapter #61 activities.  If you want to view a color version of the Power Line. Simply go online at www.ahepa4.org and click on “Power Line”.  The cover page and page 8 have a variety of photos of our Family Christmas Party.  Page 6 of the newsletter highlights our Chapter meetings & activities.  Also check out our Chapter#61 website with a wealth of information designed by Brother Tony Phyrillas.
§  The second attachment includes our AHEPA NCAA Basketball Pool for 2014.  March Madness has already begun!  Please contact me today and let me know how many boxes you want to purchase for the pool.  I am going to be out of town quite a bit between now and the April 7th championship game.  I will not have time to call and remind Brothers to participate in the pool. Sooooo…..e-mail me today at georgejgiovanis@comcast.net and let me know how many boxes you want to purchase.  All details are listed in the second attachment.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In Memorium: George A. Pappas


George A. Pappas, 86, of Reading PA, passed away Wednesday, February 19, 2014 in Charlotte, NC.
George was born September 9, 1927 in Reading, PA, to Evangelos and Androniki (Azadelli) Pappadopoulos.
George served in the US Army, graduated from Kutztown Teachers College, was a teacher and devoted Drivers Education instructor for many years at Reading High School until his retirement.
His later endeavors included ownerships of the Surf Haven Motel in Wildwood, NJ, and the New Jerusalem Inn of Reading.
He was a longtime member and past president of William Penn Chapter No. 61, Order of AHEPA.
George is survived by his cherished wife of 55 years, Kalliope Deligiannis Pappas; son, Evan and wife, Michelle of Reading; daughter, Elaine and husband, Phillip Triantis of Charlotte, NC; and grandchildren: George, Alexa, Jessica, Alex, Jonathan, Kelly and Joshua. George was predeceased by his beautiful daughter, Nikki Pappas Pownall and brothers, Peter and Paul Pappas.
George had a smile for all, a harsh word for none and will be dearly missed by everyone whose lives he touched. Rest peacefully, George.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted with Theo C. Auman Funeral Home, Reading. A Funeral Service will be held Friday, February 21, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 1001 East Wyomissing Blvd, Wyomissing, PA 19611. Friends will be received in the church on Friday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Burial service to follow in Charles Evans Cemetery in Reading.

'Kissinger & Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness'

A new report finds evidence that Henry Kissinger had a major role to play in the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey.

Kissinger & Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness

Monday, January 13, 2014

ROLL CALL OF WILLIAM PENN NO. 61 CHAPTER PRESIDENTS

Just 34 Brothers have held the title of Chapter President over the 90-year history of William Penn Chapter No. 61 in Reading, Pa. Below is a chronological listing of the Brothers who have held the chapter's highest elective office from the most recent ... all the way back to the founding of the chapter in 1925.

    George Giovanis
    Tony Phyrillas
    Strat Marmarou
    Spiro Phyrillas
    William Sianis
    Gus Varish *
    Stanley Theodossiou
    Gust Chaknos *
    George A. Pappas *
    Jim Zaffary *
    Peter Morris *
    Gus Capiotis *
    Mike Firilas
    Nick Kontaxes *
    Thomas Boyer *
    Charles Billys *
    Dr. Christ Ganas
    Louis Vastardis *
    Peter George *
    Gust Kraras
    Nick Rellis *
    Nick Lampros *
    George Govatos *
    George Paskopoulos *
    William Sebecos *
    Louis Daniels *
    John Kraras *
    George Thomas *
    George Pasayotis *
    Louis Sofianos *
    James Grammaticas *
    James Toulas *
    Constantine Mantis *
    C.H. Contos *

Deceased *

PAST CHAPTER PRESIDENTS

  • Tony Phyrillas
  • Strat Marmarou
  • Spiro Phyrillas
  • William Sianis
  • Gus Varish
  • Stanley Theodossiou
  • Gust Chaknos
  • George Pappas
  • Jim Zaffary
  • Peter Morris
  • Gus Capiotis
  • Mike Firilas
  • Nick Kontaxes
  • Thomas Boyer
  • Charles Billys
  • Christ Ganas
  • Louis Vastardis
  • Peter George
  • Gust Kraras
  • Nick Rellis
  • Nick Lampros
  • George Govatos
  • George Paskopoulos
  • William Sebecos
  • Louis Daniels
  • John Kraras
  • George Thomas
  • George Pasayotis
  • Louis Sofianos
  • James Grammaticas
  • James Toulas
  • Constantine Mantis
  • C.H. Contos
- See more at: http://williampenn61.blogspot.com/#sthash.KIQGipT5.dpuf

PAST CHAPTER PRESIDENTS

  • Tony Phyrillas
  • Strat Marmarou
  • Spiro Phyrillas
  • William Sianis
  • Gus Varish
  • Stanley Theodossiou
  • Gust Chaknos
  • George Pappas
  • Jim Zaffary
  • Peter Morris
  • Gus Capiotis
  • Mike Firilas
  • Nick Kontaxes
  • Thomas Boyer
  • Charles Billys
  • Christ Ganas
  • Louis Vastardis
  • Peter George
  • Gust Kraras
  • Nick Rellis
  • Nick Lampros
  • George Govatos
  • George Paskopoulos
  • William Sebecos
  • Louis Daniels
  • John Kraras
  • George Thomas
  • George Pasayotis
  • Louis Sofianos
  • James Grammaticas
  • James Toulas
  • Constantine Mantis
  • C.H. Contos
- See more at: http://williampenn61.blogspot.com/#sthash.KIQGipT5.dpuf

A Brief History of William Penn Chapter No. 61

The William Penn Chapter No. 61 of the Order of AHEPA was organized by one of the founders of the Order, the late George Polos.

Mr. Polos came to Reading in the early months of 1925, and spent several weeks talking to Reading-area Greeks about the AHEPA and initiated the first group into the Order. On March 16, 1925, he initiated another group of 18.

Twenty-five of these brothers signed the petition on May 2, 1925, asking the "Supreme Council of AHEPA," as it was then known, to grant them a charter. The Reading AHEPA Chapter was the sixth one organized in Pennsylvania.

In 1926, the first major banquet was sponsored by the Chapter and among the dignitaries attending were Reading Mayor William Sherman, Berks County Judge John D. Shaffer, and Superintendent of Schools E.M. Rapp.

Another banquet was held in 1928 with Robert Birch as toastmaster, and among those attending were Mayor J. Henry Stump, Rev. Miller, and Congressman Charles J. Esterly.

In 1933, the Chapter was host to the District Convention, and just prior to the Convention, the Reading Times published a glowing editorial on July 10, 1933, praising the AHEPA.

Now came the Chapter’s golden years.  With capable men assuming the leadership, the respect for the AHEPA grew, many activities of all kinds were held, and many more joined the Order.

The AHEPA Patrol was organized, and under the leadership of the late Peter Eleftheriou, won many awards including first prize in Easton’s 50th anniversary parade.

The AHEPA Greek Award was established and was given every year to a student of Albright College who excelled in the studies of Greek.

Then came World War II.  Many members of the Order served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some were wounded in combat, but all eventually returned with honorable discharges to rejoin their Chapter. The Chapter participated in the AHEPA drive to sell War Bonds and, as a result, the entire Order was commended by the U.S. Government for the millions of dollars of War Bonds that they sold.

In 1946, when Sts. Constantine & Helen Church bought the building at 8th and Court Streets, and moved the Church facilities there, the Chapter donated the cost of the Iconostation (Icon Screen). The cost of the Iconostation was $1,835.00, and this was at a time when Chapter dues were $6.00 per year, and Church dues were $12.00 per year.

When the present Church was built in 1970, that Iconostation was taken apart, brought over to the new Church and re-assembled, and was used until the present new Iconostation was installed in 1995. Some parts of the old Iconostation are now in the church’s Heritage room.

On May 5, 1957, the Chapter hosted a banquet honoring President Judge H. Robert Mays and Judge Marks on their retirement that year. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was the main speaker.

In 1959, the Chapter entered in an agreement with the Church to rent the old Greek School building at 734 Walnut Street in Reading for $500.00 per year for its headquarters.

Although this was a commendable effort to provide a home for the Chapter, it later proved to the downfall of the Chapter and almost caused its extinction. Of course, the division of the church that took place about that same time aggravated the situation.

In 1974 the Chapter was re-organized and many new members were initiated, old members re-instated, and became very active. One of the members, Michael Firilas, was elected to the office of District Governor of Power District No. 4.

In 1978, the Chapter hosted the District Convention with many city, county and state officials attending the formal District Banquet on June 17th.

The Chapter enjoyed another renaissance from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, hosting another successful District Convention in 1988, establishing the first Chapter Scholarship Fund and winning recognition from Power District No. 4 for the initiation of most new members and reinstatement of past members. Chapter membership peaked at 80. The Chapter sent full delegations to District and National AHEPA Conventions throughout this 10-year period. Several chapter members served on the District Lodge and one member, Michael Firilas, was elected Supreme Governor. Michael Firilas was also named 1991 AHEPAN of the Year by Power District No. 4.

The Chapter also held several successful Banquets in honor of U.S. Congressman Gus Yatron (a longtime member of the AHEPA) and the two pastors who served the Greek Orthodox Churches in Reading.

As financial scandals rocked the national AHEPA during the mid-1990s, membership declined and the Reading  Chapter, like many others, fell into a period of dormancy.

In 2010, a new effort was put forth to bring the Chapter back to its glory days. Many new members were initiated, and many old members were reinstated. A new set of officers was  elected, who are worthy successors to their illustrious predecessors and who are working very hard for the Chapter today.

The Chapter re-instituted the Annual AHEPA Day in our Church. The day includes a Memorial Service for all our departed Brothers, a Social in the Church on that day, and also a Booklet with all the names of the departed Brothers, the present Chapter Officers, and the present membership that is handed out to all Parishioners.

In collaboration with the local St. Xenia Philoptochos Society, the Chapter organized a very successful Christmas Party for the children of our community in 2011, with about 250 children and adults attending.

Also, a new idea was put into practice of holding regular dinner meetings at Reading-area restaurants, where the Brothers can enjoy each other's company socially, as true AHEPANS.

An annual AHEPA Golf Tournament was organized, bringing the brothers together for a game of golf, and their families joining them for a casual picnic social afterwards. The event was eventually named in honor of our late Brother AHEPAN Ernie Orphanos, who organized the first tournament and chaired the event for several years as Athletic Director.

The Reading AHEPA Chapter was recognized as Chapter of the Year in Pennsylvania in 2012 and 2013.

By the end of 2013, chapter membership topped 100, making William Penn Chapter 61 one of the largest AHEPA chapters in Pennsylvania.

-- Compiled by Gust Kraras and Tony Phyrillas