Church traditions help support children in need

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The Ladies Philoptochos Chapter continued two treasured traditions Sunday inside the Rev. Peter G. Mihailides Center in Cranston.

Known as the highly acclaimed philanthropic arm for the Church of the Annunciation on Oaklawn Avenue, the Philoptochos Society hosted its annual Vasilopita Luncheon to support St. Basil’s Academy in Garrison, New York.

“This is perhaps the most important and rewarding event all Philoptochos chapters throughout the country hold every year,” said Georgia Pappas, former society president. “The Vasilopita Luncheon helps maintain a safe home and school for orphans and other children of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.”

Pappas – whose late grandfather, the Rev. Peter G. Mihailides, served as pastor when the Church of the Annunciation was located in Providence – sold loaves of sweet bread and raffle tickets during the luncheon alongside Carol Rothemich.

“Without the support of everyone here today, St. Basil’s could not continue its wonderful work of helping children and families though difficult times because every penny collected goes to our Greek children at St. Basil’s,” Pappas said.

The Philoptochos Society’s Vasilopita Dinner is also held every January at Greek Orthodox churches throughout the country.

“Vasilopita means the Sweet Bread of St. Basil and symbolizes the sweetness and joy of life everlasting and hope for the new year,” Pappas said.

Bread is prepared and a cold coin is baked into the ingredients. When the observance begins, the priest cuts pieces of the bread for each organization and everyone at the Vasilopita Dinner.

“Whoever finds the gold coin in their piece is considered blessed for the year,” Pappas said. “Our committee and all Philoptochos members want to thank everyone. Today is, without question, golden for all the children who have a safe place and Christian home to be raised in at St. Basil’s Academy in New York.” 

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