Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society

The Ladies Philoptochos Society of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church of Washington, D.C., is a wonderful and vibrant source of fellowship and philanthropic service in our community.

 The mission statement for our Philoptochos is “…to aid the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, the handicapped, the victims of disasters, to undertake the burial of impoverished persons and to offer assistance to anyone who may need the help of the Church.”

In 1933, the parish ladies auxiliary, PRONIA, was organized under the leadership of Mrs. Evangeline Yeonas. In 1961, Archbishop Iakovos requested that all ladies’ church auxiliaries be united under the National Philoptochos Society of the Archdiocese. On March 12, 1961, under the leadership of Father James Kalaris, the earlier PRONIA was changed to the Philoptochos Society. Mrs. Marion Kopsidas was the first president, and Mrs. Kopsidas served for four and a half years. The first Philoptochos Fall Festival was held in 196l on the church grounds and was the beginning of the three day weekend Fall Festival which has continued for many years. Mrs. Kopsidas was awarded The Golden Cross of the Royal Order of Welfare by Greek Ambassador Matsas on behalf of King Constantine of Greece for her distinguished welfare services for Greece and for the American Red Cross. Many ladies of our community have served as Philoptochos presidents. The following is a list of past Philoptochos presidents: 

 Mrs. Louis Kalavritinos
Mrs. Phyllis Averinos
Mrs. Irene Chapin
Mrs. Helen G. Stathopoulos
Mrs. Bess Koutras
Mrs. Cookie Papuchis
Mrs. Helen Thornberg 
A special thank you to our spiritual advisor, Father Jason Houck, for all of his support of our philanthropic endeavors. In addition, we thank all of our past presidents, our past and present officers, and board members for all of their hard work and dedication to all of the Philoptochos endeavors. Also, we thank the community which has supported all of our Philoptochos endeavors.

 The Ladies Philoptochos Society supports both national and local charities.

Our national commitments include the following organizations:

Academy of Saint Basil
Social Services
Cancer Fund
Autism Assistance Fund
Saint Photios Shrine
Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC)
Support a Mission Priest
Hellenic College of Holy Cross
Sisterhood of Saint Basil Academy
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) 75th Anniversary Founders Fund
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF)
Hellenic College Holy Cross Scholarship Fund
Retired Clergy and Widowed Presvyteres Benevolent Fund
National Philoptochos Emergency Fund
Ecumenical Patriarchate
National Sisterhood of Presvyteres Benevolent Fund
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
General Medical Fund.

Our Archdiocesan Direct District commitments are to the following organizations:

St. Michael’s Home
Hellenic Cultural Center
The Holy Cross Scholarship  

Our Local Appeals include the following organizations:

Special Olympics
The Salvation Army
Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-   Atlantic
Playing Cards for American Troops-372nd MP Army Unit-Deployed to Afghanistan
Caring For Others
Children’s AGAPE Foundation
Easter Seals
Christmas Luncheon- raffle gifts
Christmas Luncheon-Christmas favors
Normandie Farm Restaurant
House of Ruth
Angel Tree Program
Fisher House-Bethesda
St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival-Gift Cards
AHEPA Awards Committee-Scholarship
The Children’s Inn at NIH
USO (United Service Organization)
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
Ionian Village Scholarship
Capital Area Food Bank
Central Union Mission
St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival-Program Book
March of Dimes
IOCC-Spirit of Love Action Banquet
Taverna Night

During the year, the Ladies Philoptochos Society supported three families in need.

In January of every year, the Philoptochos sponsors our Annual Vasilopita celebration following the Divine Liturgy. All proceeds are sent to The Saint Basil Academy in New York.

 During the months of February and March, the Philoptochos ladies are busy preparing for the Annual Easter Bake Sale. In April, we have our Annual Easter Bake Sale using the proceeds to support our national and local obligations. In addition, we organize the making of the palms for Palm Sunday, prepare for the Palm Sunday Luncheon, and decorate our beautiful Epitaphion with the help of the GOYANS, GOYA families, Parish Council, Sunday School, Greek School, choir, altar boys, and members of our community. 

 In May, the Philoptochos ladies sponsor a reception in honor of the Feast Day of our Church, Sts. Constantine and Helen.

 During the months of June, July, August, and September, the community, under the guidance of the Ladies Philoptochos, is busy baking for our Annual Fall Festival which has become one of the great cultural events of Washington, D.C. In October, we participate in Greek Taverna Night held at Sts. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, Maryland, and we also participate in the Annual Tea to benefit the Children’s AGAPE Foundation of the Greater Washington Area Philoptochos Societies (helping Orthodox children with financial assistance for medical treatment). The Children’s AGAPE Tea is hosted by one of the Greek Orthodox parishes in the Washington Metropolitan Area.

 Every year, on the first Sunday of November, the Philoptochos ladies offer an Artoclasia in honor of the Feast Day of Sts. Cosmas and Damianos, the patron saints of the Philoptochos. Saints Cosmas and Damianos assisted the poor and afflicted without compensation. A special tray is also passed benefiting the Patriarchate’s programs and charities. In addition, the ladies are busy baking for our Annual Christmas Bake Sale, participating in the Annual IOCC Spirit of Love Action Banquet, and selling tickets for our Annual Christmas Luncheon.

 In December the ladies of Philoptochos organize and participate in the annual Philoptochos Christmas Luncheon and the annual Christmas Bake Sale to benefit our national and local charities. We also have the trimming of the Christmas tree and a pot luck luncheon during the Christmas season.

 During the year, the Philoptochos ladies visit our parishioners and friends who are in assisted living homes, nursing homes, and those parishioners who are homebound. Every day during the week, Father Jason Houck visits the sick in the local hospitals or in their homes and administers Holy Communion. 

 General Philoptochos meetings are usually held on the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. or on Sunday immediately following the Divine Liturgy.  Philoptochos board meetings are usually held on the first Wednesday evening of the month at 7:00 p.m. as necessary.