PAOI EVENT IS “A NIGHT AMONG THE STARS”
On November 9th the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (PAOI) held a fundraising dinner in downtown Los Angeles at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Reminiscent of a 1940’s Hollywood event, the evening proved true to its theme, “A Night Among the Stars,” with big band tunes from Dave Damiani and the No Vacancy orchestra and entertainment from famed Greek comedian and actor Angelo Tsarouchas. Lyric Soprano Michele Patzakis Prappas sang an opening personalized to the honorees, Sophia and Dr. James Angelos; Christine and Alek Haidos; and Vergie and William Papalexis. Karin Mushegain, mezzo soprano, performed a solo with the No Vacancy orchestra. Master of Ceremonies for this star studded evening was actor and producer, James Anest.
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, of the San Francisco Metropolis made opening remarks encouraging continued support and expansion of the Institute, which is part of the Graduate Theological UNion (GTU) at Berkeley, and referred to the Institute as the “public presence of Orthodoxy,” at an academic Institute. His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas, who is the Director of the Institute noted the work of PAOI that includes supporting a library, master’s program, Orthodox Christian fellowship, scholarly lectures and programs. The new Chairman of the PAOI Board of Trustees, George Bezzerides, was also in attendance.
The event highlighted the many contributions of the three honoree couples who have supported PAOI since its inception over 20 years ago, as well as their respective churches and Hellenic organizations for decades. Sophia and Dr. Jim Angelos are members of St. Anthony church in Pasadena. Christine and Alek Haidos are members of St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles and St. Katherine Church in Redondo Beach. Bill and Vergie Papalexis are also members of St. Sophia Cathedral. Sophia, Christine and Vergie have all served on the PAOI board as president or other positions.
Organized by the PAOI Women’s Board Southern California, the event committee, was headed by Stephanie Duncan, the Chair of the Event, who is becoming known for directing extraordinary events. The committee included Melanie O’Regan, the Co-President of the PAOI Women’s Board Southern California, Katrina Beers, Georgia Defterios, Rosalind Halikis, Kynthia Furgis and Bess Pappas.
The fundraiser will benefit the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, an inter-Orthodox endeavor, founded in 1981, representing the diversity of Orthodoxy in America. The Institute is an integral part of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an ecumenical and interfaith consortium of theological schools and institutes based in Berkeley, CA. The Institute has a unique relationship and affiliation to the University of California, Berkeley. At the GTU, the Institute offers a 2-year Master of Arts degree in Orthodox Christian Studies, the only program of its kind west of the Mississippi.
PAOI’s next event, at the Getty Villa in Malibu, is a private dinner, tour and lecture on Byzantine Art on April 26th during the opening week of this exhibit.