Our Society’ beginnings
Some Epirotans, mostly young originating from Pogoni, felt the lack of an Epirotic organization in New York and in November 1933 they founded the Society of Epirotes “Anagenesis” with the name Epirotan Benevolent Association “Pyrrhus”.
A Constitution Committee was elected, composed of Messrs Spyros Lytos, Pantelis Gonos, Stavros Pantazis, Petros Noulis and Athanasios Galitsis. After they finished their work, on Sunday, March 4, 1934 they invited all Epirotans to a meeting at the Hellenic Center Hall, located at 305 West 54 Street, New York, NY, to approve the organization’s constitution, and to enroll as members. There was no distinction at the time between free Epirotans and Northern Epirotans, and about a hundred people were present at that meeting, from Northern Epirus and the free regions. However, 4/5 of those present said they would leave the meeting and they would neither enroll as members, nor would they ever support the new Association, if its name weren’t changed. A different association had existed in the past with the name “Pyrrhus,”. In 1922 it joined with another Epirotan Association, the “Guard of Epirus”, (member of the Panepirotic Federation of America which fought for the annexation of Northern Epirus to Greece), and It was renamed to “Pyrrhus - Guard”, but with the destruction of Asia Minor and the condemnation of Northern Epirus in Albania, all Epirotan organizations declined. The same happened to “Pyrrhus-Guard,” and, after the death of its last president, it ceased operations. The last president was Stefanos Galitsis.
After a lengthy discussion, and since many of those present began to leave, the founders of the new association were forced to agree to Vasilios Tsiouris’s proposal from Dervitsiani Northern Epirus, who said: “I see here many young people and I propose the name of the new association to be “Anagenesis” (which, in Greek means “renaissance”). Mr. Vasilios Tsiouris’s proposal received the majority of the votes, and since March 4, 1934 our association continues its activity under the name Society of Epirotes “Anagenesis” New York.
To better serve our national struggle, at a later meeting of “Anagenesis” which took place at a hall in “Plato’s School” in reference to the closure of schools in Northern Epirus, the old members of Pyrrhus reorganized “Pyrrhus” with national foundations, and with the founding of our Federation, all divisions set as our main purpose to fulfill the most sacred desire, the unification of Northern Epirus with Mother Greece.
Member of the Board
former Treasurer and former Secretary for 15 years
and former President of “Anagenesis”
CHRISTOS PANTAZIS, President
EVA KANTLIS, Vice President
ANASTASIA MANTZIOS, Treasurer
IPOLITI (POLLY) TOLIS, Secretary
JAMES MOUSTOPOULOS, Assistant Treasurer
ALEKA PANTAZIS, Assistant Secretary
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
- The unity and mutual cooperation of all Epirotes who reside in the City of New York and its environs.
- The mutual aid and mutual support of the members of the Society.
- The development of the social and intellectual bonds among the members of the Society and, in general, between them and the Greek-American community through the establishment of a Cultural Center.
- The preservation of the Greek language and the Greek Cultural traditions; the projection and propagation of the Greek-Christian ideals within the American society through various cultural expressions.
Ladies Auxiliary "Souliotissai"
Established: February 16, 1936, New York.
For the best, more effective and most beneficial communication between its members, at a formal meeting on February 16, 1936, it was decided to establish a Ladies’ Auxiliary of the association with the main purpose of promoting the “Anagenesis ideology,” known as: Ladies Auxiliary of Anagenesis “Souliotissai” .
The objectives and the individual activities of the Ladies’ Auxiliary, as well as the objectives of the Youth Division were incorporated in the by-laws of the organization, since the new divisions are an organic and integral part of the Society.
Established: July 10, 1940, New York.
The care for young people is present in all of the Society’s events. With the establishment of the Youth Division, we aim to bring together and unite the young people at the “Epirotan House”. We make every effort to educate our younger people on the homeland of their parents and everything related to our ancestral culture and modern Greece.
Young people, divided by age, lead the national and religious celebrations and surround the Communities’ Councils. Their role is very broad: they participate in rallies for national issues, they comprise dance groups, theater and sports clubs and, with the help of their families and the Society’s members, they are involved in charitable and philanthropic work. Their primary concern is, the promotion of ancestral values and principles. They participate actively and they assist in solving major national issues, and with their vigor and determination, they empower Greece.
Epirotan Studies Company - Anagenesis Division
Founded: March 12, 1992, New York.
Konstantinos Frantzos, a strong Epirotan personality with diverse action will go down in history as the founder of E.H.M. in which he was president from 1955 (year of establishment of EHM) until his death (1986). He bequeathed Epirus a Foundation with a private mansion, with dozens of publications with Epirotan content, museum and archival collections, a library with thousands of books, reading and lecture halls, outdoor theater at the “EHM’s hill” and many other recreational projects that transformed the city of Ioannina.
Epirus, as a spiritual and cultural center of Greece, offered a lot to the nation’s identity at times of slavery, after the nation’s liberation, and until today. With the establishment of EHM, the cultural level of the Epirus region rose by leaps and bounds.
Its presence shaped the Epirotans’ consciences, highlighting the virtues of Epirus and creating the conditions for a cultural rise of the people of Epirus.
The EHM is now a historic deed which harvests the present and paves the future. Its first president had envisioned the “Epirotan Renaissance” creating EHM as a spiritual and national center of Panhellenic radiance.
The EHM, a spiritual, cultural and benevolent organization (Article 2 of the by-laws) has grown to an important element of the Epirotan life and the wider geopolitical space.
As an institution with a nationwide range, the EHM has stretched its interest beyond the Atlantic.
In 1992, the Boards of both the EHM (Mr. Kon/nos Lazaridis, President of EHM) and the “Anagenesis” organizations, decided the establishment of a EHM branch, which would reside at the Anagenesis’s building in Astoria, New York.
Since then the two institutions work in harmony in their spiritual and charitable purposes and exchange thoughts and views on making their operations more efficient.
The EHM sent all its publications for the library of Anagenesis, as well as authentic local costumes of various Epirotan areas.
We hope that our cooperation will continue and be fruitful in the future. We believe that the brotherly ties that bind the two institutions will remain unbroken and will help to further upgrade the quality of the “Anagenesis” objectives.