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GreekReporter.comDiasporaRebirth of a Church: Transfiguration of Christ Church, Mattituck, 1978-2015, Part 2

Rebirth of a Church: Transfiguration of Christ Church, Mattituck, 1978-2015, Part 2

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Due to a lack of all-year-round families, some young persons view the Transfiguration of Christ Church in Mattituck as merely a haven for senior citizens. While senior citizens are changing that image into a new beginning for many late in life, the church hails younger members as well. “We welcome young people,” said Rev. Makrinos. “Since I have been here, I have been trying to bring youth in church and on the parish council board.”

Rev. Makrinos was bestowed the honor of Protopresbyter by His Eminence on August 6, 2010. This is the highest rank for a married priest in the Greek Orthodox Church. The honor is bestowed upon a Greek Orthodox clergyman after 25 years of service. Rev. Makrinos is from Kardamyla, Chios. “It was a great honor to receive this title from His Eminence’s hands,” he explained. “I prayed to receive this honor from his hands. On August 4, 2011, I completed 26 years of my ministry, performing all church services and sacraments.” Church Secretary Virginia Tripolitis created a unique Journal book with the help of the Greek-American community of New York City in 2012. Her outstanding work as Dance Journal Chairman is continuing. “This year Virginia Tripolitis is undertaking the publication of the 2013 Journal to honor the memory of George Zachariadis,” said energetic President Tony Coutsouros. Mrs. Tripoliotis continued this unique effort in the 2014 dance journal.

The late Crystalla Petropoulou, who achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a nun at All Saints Greek Orthodox Monastery, was one of the original members. Her parents, the Petropoulos, and the family of Panagiotis Demetriou and Anna Orros have been supporters from the beginning. “I believe this is the Church of love and a bright light,” said Coutsouros.

“When good men die, their goodness does not perish,” – Euripides. A community makes or breaks a church. Worshippers beautify the service with their sincere religious faith. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, accompanied by Deacon Aristidis Garinis, celebrated the liturgy for the third consecutive year on Sunday, August 3, 2012. An inspired choir gave the performance of a lifetime. Their ill choirmaster, Demetrios “Jimmy” Talas passed away hours before at Peconic Bay Hospital, Riverhead. His Eminence said, “Demetrios Talas left us to chant with the angels in Heaven.” The hymn, “Soson Imas Yie Theou” (Save Us, O Son of God) was sung with passion unheard of on former Sundays, in memory of their beloved choirmaster.


Coutsouros, the son of immigrants from Heraklion, Crete, initiated social change in 2013. His new approach is altering the path the church has been taking since the demise of the WWII Greek and Cypriot Americans. The big change is in the reintegration of English in church life and accountability of all expenditures. Coutsouros reached out to the Southold government and mass media for free services. 2013 Festival Posters on a grand scale were seen on route 25 from Riverhead to Greenport, Long Island. His actions laid the groundwork for the historic success of the 2014 summer Festival.

Mr. George Zachariadis, a famous chanter and leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, who was an immigrant from Nisyros, recently passed away. A genuine loss is constantly expressed. Anastasis Kassapides was honored as an altar acolyte (assistant) for 15 years of service in August 2013. His seriousness and attention to detail is unique. He was granted the honor of serving as reader by his Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America. The reader is responsible for reading excerpts from scriptures and epistles during the liturgy. Manoli and George Moustakos were honored in September 2013 as profiles of the month. They both serve as altar acolytes. George Moustakos was blessed with the honor of “Reader” by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America.

The best of the summer 2014 season was celebrated on July 25-27 on church grounds through a unique festival.  Extraordinary Greek menus, flea market, vendors and rides were presented. The community cooked up a Greek feast and cars were parked for blocks, resulting in local parishioners walking to the Church grounds on Breakwater Road in Mattituck. The Co-Chairpersons were Barbara Thermos, Irene Kalogeras, Manny Constantine and Emily Kavourias. Generous donations to cover expenses were given. A similar Festival will be presented in 2015. Bringing in persons who never helped before is the key to making a community grow. The feeling of working for a good cause and succeeding well was seen on the faces of all volunteers on the final day of the festival. Epicurus said, “Not what we have But what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.”

Vespers, 2012
Vespers, 2012

A Journal prepared for the annual dance on October 4, 2014, honored Pete Demetriou, founder, and Peter Pappas, former president and chanter. Demetriou is a quiet, low key person, who worked to establish Greek-American religious institutions over the past sixty years. He emigrated from Cyprus in the 1950’s to Astoria, New York. “I gave a donation to form St. Demetrios Greek-American parochial school,” he said. “My late wife, Helen, believed in philanthropic activities. When we moved to Mattituck, we continued our philanthropy. We donated the first marble altar screen (iconostasis) of the original Transfiguration of Christ Church on Breakwater Road. Other donations included hooking up the Church to the Suffolk County Water Authority and numerous items the Church needed. We worked together in all our philanthropic projects to help the Transfiguration of Christ Church. For forty years, I assisted priests in the clergy committee, from 1970 up to the time I retired. I enjoyed working with Stelios Nanos in the altar, harmoniously.” He is a founder of the All Saints Monastery in Calverton, Long Island. He lives in walking distance to the Transfiguration Church.

Pappas served as chanter for free at the Transfiguration Church in Mattituck for over thirty years. His late wife Andrea worked with him to rebuild the Church when it was burnt in 1984. He served as President of the parish council from 1980-84. His second wife, Popi, is a member of the Philoptohos. Mr. Pappas continues to volunteer as chanter in the summer months. Unity in faith from one generation to the next keeps the Transfiguration Church alive. The fourth generation is actively involved with one goal: keep the church of their forefathers alive. The following is a list of church leaders and organizations, with a margin of error.

For more information, please contact Virginia Tripolitis, church secretary, at 631-298-9652 or email.

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