The Spirit of the Cephalonian Through "Aenos":
A Flame Well Lit

By Maria Filippatos

and HCS writers

Cephalonian spirit filled the air on Saturday, December 2, 2006, as the 74th annual Cephalonian Association "Aenos" Dance was held at the Ramada Plaza near JFK airport in Queens, New York. The Cephalonian Association "Aenos" was established to preserve the spirit, culture, and characteristics of the native Greek Island Cephalonia, deriving its title from the loftty Aenos Mountain.

Much work and dedication went into making this year's annual "Aenos" dinner another success. Among those active on committees planning the event were Chairman George Vandoros, Co-Chairman Spiros Drakopoulos, Master of Ceremonies Panagis Vagelatos, also Gerasimos Minetos, Ourania Andreatos, Memi Zapantis, Eleni Pavlatos, Gerasimos Theodoratos, Valsamakis Sclavounos, Nick Vartholomatos, Andreas Dorizas, and Spiros Menegatos.

Rev. Marketos of Transfiguration of Christ Church in Mattituck, Long Island opened the evening with a blessing. Chairman George Vandoros and President Vasilios Kokkosis gave welcoming and congratulatory remarks. In their speeches they talked about what it means to be a Cephalonian. Mr. Kokkosis spoke passinately about his island, "Cephalonia is a love that can not be erased. It is a flame that burns within all of our hearts; it is the island of mysticism."

(Photo at left: Panagis Vagelatos, Master of Ceremonies looks on at left while President Vasilios Kokkosis delivers his address.)

Families and individuals of all ages attended the annual dinner. Students from nearby St. John's University also filled the hall. Last May three students from St. John's University Modern Greek Language and Literature Program received awards from "Aenos": Fereniki Konstantatos, Polly Nikolovienis, and Harilaos Thomatos. On this evening, however, the award recipient was President Kokkosis. Catherine Tsounis, an Adjunct Professor of Modern Greek in the Languages and Literature Department of St. John's University in New York, presented Mr. Kokkosis with a certificate of appreciation for his dedication to the promotion of Hellenism and for the generous contributions of "Aenos."

The success of the night was confirmed by many people's responses. "I've never seen anything so spectacular. The food and life of the night is amazing," commented Yvonne Montesantos during dinner. The evening was filled with traditional dancing, laughing, socializing, and reflecting on the beauty of Cephalonia and on being a Cephalonian. Red Rombola wine from Cephalonia accompanied traditional dishes and desserts such as mezedakia, spanakopita, tiropita, baklava and kataifi. Circle, line, and club dances spread across the center of the room and lasted until the early morning hours. The night was a true example of the spirit that characterizes an authentic Cephalonian.

(Photo at right: Prof. Catherine Tsounis of St. John's University presents Award of Appreciation to President Vasilios Kokkosis (right) for "Aenos'" unique scholarship effort to aide the students of St. John's Modern Greek Language and Literature Program.Poet/Master of Ceremonies Panagis Vagelatos looks on.)

Cephalonian Association "Aenos" is a direct reminder of how Greek culture, more specifically Cephalonian culture, is invaluable and deeply embedded in natives, despite the fact that immigrants have assimilated into American culture. "Aenos," through its annual dinner and events, has preserved the idea that one must not forget one's Hellenic island roots, and furthermore, must preserve the culture for the future generations.

Photos: (above) Th
e Board of Directors of the Cephalonian Association "Aenos" NY, Inc.; (left) Ferenlike Konstantatos, 2006 Cephalonian Association "Aenos" NY scholar, with her mother, Maria. The Konstantatos come from the village of Tsakarisiano, Pirghi, Cephalonia.

The Cephalonian Association "Aenos" NY Center is located at 23-17 29th St., Suite 1, Astoria N.Y. 11105. For more information, call 718 726-1840, fax to 718 726-1840 or email

(Posting date 08 December 2006

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