COLABORATING INSTITUTIONS , CHRISTIAN BROTHERHOOD “APOLYTROSIS” HISTORICAL REVIEW OF THE CHRISTIAN BROTHERHOOD “APOLYTROSIS” SINCE 1932
By Archpriest Athanasios Kokkinopoulos , Brotherhood’s President
The Brotherhood was founded in 14 September 1932 by the dearly departed Theologist Professor Dimitrios Kallonas as its first president. He was one of the first people of the organization who along with a team of religious Corfiots coming from all the social classes, under the protection of the Metropolis, decided to help their fellow men.
Their sole ambition was to fight side by side with the Church, for crushing the power of the devil. At that time, the situation was difficult and many people fended away from the Church and the Orthodox faith. Therefore, it was vital for the Christian Corfiots to get organized and be able to defend their faith. Thus, in September 1932 with the blessings of the Church, they established the first Christian Institution in Corfu, having as an emblem and flag the Redeeming Cross of Christ.
After a while, this small team got bigger and bigger and in minimal time, they achieved great. Until the 1940 war, the Brotherhood made its pious work, and the number of its members according to various catalogs of the archives excedeed five thousands. In every official event, representatives of the State and the Church were speaking enthusiastically about the great activity of Apolytrosis. As it is known, our Brotherhood was founded according to the statutes and its purpose and project were: 1. The spread of the Divine Word, with preaches and speeches in the Churches and in various venues, 2. the fight against heresies, with relevant speeches and the publishing of the existing till today magazine “APOLYTROSIS” 3. the charitable work and the solidarity to misery and human suffering to the fellow men in need 4. entertaining and educational excursions, and 5. publishing of religious books.
The mission of this Christian Association extensively:
A) To spread the Divine Word. At that time, the preaching in the churches was scarce. For this reason, a prime group by the capable preachers of the Divine Word, was teaching to all of the city churches and suburbs the Evangelically truths. In the monastery of “Platytera”, the late lawyer Andreas Karydis was speaking to a big audience and in his absence the rector of Corfiot monasticism Archimandrite Kallinikos Metallinos replaced him. In Saint Eleftherios Church, Spiros Lavranos was addresing the public, in “Panagia ton Xenon” Professor V.Skouteris. In Saint John of the Town, Professors Dim. Kallonas, John Sourvinos, Spiros Grammatikos and Savvas Martzoukos were speaking. In Saint Andrew in “Mandouki” the late priest Kourtesis and others and also the theologists K.Fagogenis, G.Dimogiannis.
B) Second Achievement of the Brotherhood was the establishment of Vespers preachings with moral and religious subjects with the aforementioned speakers. However, the association had not the means to create special place of preachings, because the rich Corfiots, while were applauding the action of “Apolytrosis”, offered their savings and houses to other institutions, which were not in such a need. This lack of space was covered from the first monet by the Church of Saint John of the Town. All the Temple Councils, without even reckoning the costs or the physical wearing , they ceded the temple to the Brotherhood, which till today continues its actions.
C) Third Achievement of the Brotherhood immediately after its establishment in 1932 was the publication of a magazine with the title “APOLYTROSIS”. This magazine began by the old Board of Directors with preaches of moral and religious content, and then they enriched it with catechism and antiheretic messages.
D) The Achievement of the Charity. From the very first day of its foundation till today the Brotherhood stands close to the human pain and unhappiness, with monetary allowances, foods, medicines, clothes, tickets, and generally with all kinds of necessity for our distressed brothers. Students and pupils are benefited from our help and love. Also, we give help to the poor families,during Christmas and Easter season.
E) Another achievement of Brotherhood was the organization of trips for the Corfiots, either members of the group or not. These trips have as their purpose the clamping of the members of Brotherhood, combined with the entertainment and the wandering in christian and other monuments, both in our country and abroad, for a single or more days.
The war of 1940 and the following events led to the inaction of the Brotherhood. Their only activities were to spread the word of God through preaching and other speeches in churches and other places. They also published occasionally their magazine.
In 1954, some Corfiots with the initiative of Spyridon K. Skafidas who was then a graduate of the School of Theology of the University of Athens met in St John’s church in Corfu Town and decided to activate again the Brotherhood. The legal matters were assigned to the lawyer spyridon Karidis. As for the position of the President, the Professor of Theology, Konstantinos Fagogenis was chosen. Members of the brotherhood were priest Alexandros Poulimas the veric of St John’s church, Aristotle Ginis a businessman, Alexandros Petsalis lawyer, Ioannis Tsilibaris a teacher, Spyridon Tsagkarakis sanitary employee, spyridon Skafidas Theologist and Spyridon Karidis, lawyer. For the nexr 4 years until his death in 1967, Georgios sourvinos, a retired schooll headmaster was elected and they continued their work as it was decided back in 1932.
After Georgios Sourvinos died, the next president was Father Ioannis Skiadopoulos till Christmas day of 2004 when he died. He continued working in the same way that his predecessors did along with young associates, clerics and Theologists: Spyros Kontogiannis, Spyros Skafidas, Kostelletos, Aristeidis Tsilibaris, Nikos Giannoulis, Spyros Mesimeris (philologist) and so on. He recreated the magazine as he added all the local Church news and published many historical projects for the Churches and the clerics of Corfu.
At that time, the Brotherhood managed to republish the book “Oi Dio Tafoi’ (The two Graves) written by the late Metropolitan of corfu and Paxoi Methodios Kontostanos and they organised many excursions all over Greece and one in Istanbul.
After Ioannis Skiadopoulos died, the vice president Andreas Koulouris announced a new General meeting in order to organise new elections in Jauary 9th 2005 where a new Board was elected. It was consisted of the Reverend Father Athanasios Kokkinopoulos as President and spyridon Zervos as Vice president, Dimitrios Gkiouleas as Secretary , Andreas Koulouris as cashier, Spyridon Simatis as inspector and simple members Eleni Boua and Georgios Ydraios.
The new Administrative Board, elected on the 9th of January, decided to publish the magazine in a new, renewed edition, to change the coverage and print it in colour and to work together with capable and prominent people of either the church or not, who on a stable basis would write articles and would enrich the magazine in order to become reference point in the area of the ecclesiastical papers and by giving prominence to the Word of God, orthdox history and also to the civilisation of Corfu with a fresh point of view without abandoning in the same time our greek- orthodox ideals. Supporters of this project are first and foremost his Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios, Archimandrite Serapheim Linosporis, Preacher of the Holy Metropolis, Protopresbyter Themistoklis Mourtzanos General Prelatic Warden, Protopresbyters Konstantinos Sourvinos, Dimitrios Koskinas, Evangelos Koutras, Georgios Vlachos, Theologists Gerasimos Maniakis, Aggelos Gkounis, Konstantinos Thimis, Dionisios Alamanos. Also, Educational and School Counselor Mrs Anastasia Liveri Kantere, journalist Giannis Gardikiotis, Graduate of the Patriarchical School Georgios Skordilis, president of the Reading Society Mr. Ioannis Pieris, president of the Corfiot Studies’ Society and Lawyer Mr. Periklis Pagkratis and others.
The next step to make this project even better was the change and improvementof Brotherhood’s charter that was asigned to the lawyer Athanasios Lavranos and it was published from corfu’s District Court.
On Sunday 29th of January, the General Meeting took place under the new rules of the renewed charter of the Orthodox Christian Brotherhood “APOLYTROSIS”,82 members voted, 82 ballot papers were valid and the following people were elected:
1) Protopresbyter Athanasios Kokkinopoulos,79 votes 2) Koulouris Andreas, retired employee of the state, 55 votes 3) Dimitrios Gkiouleas, Policeman Vice-President of Greek Police, 53 votes 4) Spyridon Zervos, Policeman, 50 votes 5) Georgios Ydraios, merchant, 46 votes 6) Spyridon Simatis Accountant, 40 votes 7)Eleni Boua, Homemaker, 37 votes.
2) For the Committee that counted the votes were elected the following:
1) Kokkinopoulou Alice, 68 votes 2) Vergis Spyrdon 47 votes 3) Rarakou Konstantina, 42 votes.
On the 1st of February the Administrative Board was completed and the roles were assigned after a secret voting procedure: President Protopresbyter athanasios Kokkinopoulos, Vice-President Spyridon Zervos, Secretary Dimitrios Gkiouleas, Cashier Andreas Koulouris, Members Georgios Ydraios, Spyridon Simatis and Eleni Boua.
The mission of this Brotherhood extensively:
A) Philantropic Activities. On daily basis, our Brotherhood helps people who are facing difficulties in living, who are in pain and misery, through financial aid, food, medicine, clothes, tickes and everything possible. Students and pupils are in position of constant help and love.
B) We keep trying to help even more poor families during Christmas and Easter celebrations
C) Excursions. We started again organising trips for our members and other people. This kind of trips have as their purpose the clamping of the members of Brotherhood, combined with the entertainment and the wandering in christian and other monuments, both in our country and abroad, for one or more days. D) Events. One more goal for us is to organise other events in order for this Brotherhood to become an important part of the Corfiot society.
E) We have republished the pamphlet of the Asmatical Divine services of the Holy and the Life-Giving Cross that had been out of print since 1902. This pamplhet was published in 1854. It was prologued by His Eminence Our Bishop Nektarios. He particularly wrote that this perfect and elegant version is a devotional and pastoral contribution of the local Church to every loyal Christian. We have received congratulatory letters from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilus, the late Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos, Our Bishop, Nektarios, and many of the Leaders of the Church of Greece,the Patriarchates and other people. We continued to remember our dearly departed brothers members of the Brotherhood every second Sunday of February.
We continued to celebrate the birthday of the Brotherhood on the day of the remembrance of the Holy and Life-giving Cross with many divine services. We continued to commemorate the memory of St. Athanasius the Bishop of Christianopolis who originated from Corfu and is the patron of our Brotherhood. The Admninisrative Board, elected in 2005, has as a target to continue and realize everything set since 1932.
On Sunday, January 25 2009, the General Assembly of the Orthodox Christian Brotherhood, APOLYTROSIS, voted 128 members, invalid 4, valid ballots 124, and elected the following: 1] Protopresbyter Athanasios Kokkinopoulos with 122 votes, 2] Zervos Spyridon with 98 votes, 3] Andriotis Ioannis with 81 votes, 4] Koulouris Andreas with 81 votes, 5] Dimitrios Gkouleas with 80 votes, 6] Linardos Christos with 72 votes, 7] Georgios Ydraios with 59 votes.
B] For the Voting Committee of the Brotherhood , the following were elected: 1] Kokkinopoulou Aliki with 112 votes, 2] Vergis Spyridon with 106 votes, 3] Presbyter Georgios Chandrinos with 69 votes
On February 27th, the Administrative Board was formed and after a secret vote the following were decided: President: Proropresbyter Athanasios Kokkinopoulos, Vice-President: Zervos Spyridon, Secretary: Gouleas Dimitrios, Cashier: Koulouris Andreas
Members: Andriotis Ioannis, Linardos Christos, Ydraios Georgios
This new page of history of “APOLYTROSIS” which began in January 9, 2005 and continues with the help of God and with the spiritual guidance, of our Venerable Prelate, is page of offer and support to the needy people for the Church of Christ.
LADIES UNION “AGIA THEODORA AUGOUSTA”
These people donated their property (apartments) to the Association, for the purpose of charity in order to provide protection or help materially and morally to individuals or groups of individuals or to families who were in need.
The assistance is provided either financially or medically. They also help people find a job or support them psychologically.
The Association consists of 6-membered Board of Administration and members.
The A.B. decides for any matter related to the fulfillment of aims of the Association, and is responsible for the property e.g. maintenance, damages, tax income etc.
Also the members (according to the wish of the founders) every Friday afternoon (5 o’ clock) gathered for many years in the Metropolitan Church and since 2016 in Saint Eleftherios church. After chanting the Small Supplicatory Canon to the Mother of God they attend a spiritual sermon by a local priest.
Each year an annual memorial of the dead benefactors and members during a liturgy for the members takes place and oin the third Sunday after Easter, in the celebration of Myrrh-bearing Women, the A.B. celebrates according to the traditional Corfiot typikon (ecclesiasticcal rite) an “Artoklasia” (Breaking of Bread, “offering of the five loaves”) is taking place because the members have the title of Myrrh-bearing Women.
Lastly, it should be emphasized that nowadays, the aim of the Association is very difficult to be fulfilled. Taxes, restoration of houses, repairs, damages etc almost exceed the income.
We wish and pray to Saint Theodora with her prayers to the most merciful God, to support the Association and its members in order for the aim to be achieved on the basis of its founders’ wishes.
President of the Administration Board is Mrs. Adamantia Athinaiou.
ASSOSIATION OF THEOLOGISTS OF CORFU
The Assosiation of Theologists of Corfu is a part of the Greek Union of Theologists. It was re-established in 2006. Its purposes are :
– Organising lectures, discussions, experimental teaching.
– Preaching and Writing action, announcements in the magazine “Koinonia”, in the daily press and magazines.
– Organising festivals, exhibitions, tours, gatherings.
– Co- operating with Holy Metropolis of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands.
– Participating in activities of ELME (the local Assosiation of High and Secondary School teachers) and co- operating with them to promote and solve problems of the religion sector and of the education in general.
– Discussing suggestions to problems of our region’s society.
The Assosiation of Theologists of Corfu has 60 members and it has a five member Administrative Board, with Mr Nikolaos Mavronas as its president.
CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS UNION OF CORFU
The Christian Scientists Union of Corfu was founded in 2003, with the initiative and blessing of his Eminence Metropolitan of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands Nektarios, who became the first member of the Union. The Board has office in the Spiritual Center of Metropolis of Corfu (Akadimias 2). 100 scientists are memebers of the Union.
The purposes of the Union are the followings :
A. Supporting and assisting the spiritual efforts of the Orthodox Church and especially those of the Holy Metropolis of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands.
B. Studying and exploring the Orthodox Faith and Life, as well as the mission of the Church to the modern World and especially in the fields of Science, Letters and Arts. Lay people should be active and creative .
D.Informing the members of the Union and the local society on scientific, educational, social, cultural and environmental issues.
E.Operating the Union, in the contexts of civil society, as a support to initiatives, aimed at the spiritual and moral advancement of local society. Dealing with political parties is not allowed.
F. Practising solidarity to each distressed man.
G. Organizing open for the public lessons as program of the institution of the “Open/Free University”.
Unions’ president is Mrs. Elisabeth Koyevina. Spiritual Advisor and link between the Holy Metropolis and the Union is set, and has duties Archpriest father John Vlassis.
The members of the Union, believe and look forward at the value of a loving in Christ relationship, aiming all together, with the help of God, to contribute to the spiritual growth and awakening of the society , and for support to the poor. To date with the collective effort and the wider participation of the members have successfully performed series of spiritual events, with distinguished speakers, priests and laities, politely coming from different places of Greece, on theological, medical and social issue and current interest.