Mrs. Katherine Pappas was appointed the fourth National Philoptochos President by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory in 1974. Mrs. Pappas had devoted many years of service to Philoptochos in various capacities and served as President from 1974 – 1982. Under her leadership the national organization flourished and expanded its philanthropic work.
In the 1970’s, national humanitarian and educational programs were undertaken and Ecumenical activities were a high priority. Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and St. Photios National Shrine became national Philoptochos projects. A Cardiac Program for Greek children was launched, and Philoptochos participated with the Archdiocese in assisting Greek Cypriots after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus by developing and undertaking the Cyprus Foster Parent Program.
The organization expanded its participation in Church Women United with three ladies appointed to represent Philoptochos and the women of Philoptochos continued to embrace the entire world by giving support to those devastated by the Guatemalan earthquake; Hurricane Agnes; Cambodian refugees and the Italian and Greek earthquakes including Salonika.
From 1976-1978 Philoptochos reached a new level of giving by contributing an timated one million dollars to various worthy causes.
In the 1980’s, the National Philoptochos participated in a year-long celebration of the United Nation’s "Year of the Child" and joined with AHEPA in the "Ride for Life" to support finding a cure for Cooley’s Anemia.
During Mrs. Pappas’ tenure, Philoptochos celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary 1931-1981. Special activities included a Philoptochos Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate where His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios of blessed memory offered an Artoklasia to celebrate the visit; an Ecumenical Tea held at the Greek Archdiocese in June 1981 and a gala luncheon attended by nearly 1,000 women at the Hotel Pierre in November. To mark this 50 year milestone, Philoptochos established an endowment to fund many Hellenic College/Holy Cross scholarships and published a 50th Anniversary Album.
Mrs. Pappas received numerous honors including being named Alpha Omega’s First Woman of the Year where she was recognized for her contributions to the Greek Orthodox Church and the National Philoptochos; being one of the first women appointed to the Archdiocesan Council; receiving the patriarchal designation as Archondissa from the late Patriarch Athenagoras; serving as a trustee for Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology and receiving the Medal of St. Paul from Archbishop Iakovos. His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, Metropolitan of Boston, bestowed the Metropolis Service Award on Mrs. Pappas in 2005.
Mrs. Georgia Skeadas, National Philoptochos President, offered the following remarks when she informed the membership of the falling asleep in the Lord of our Honorary Past National Board President, Mrs. Katherine Pappas:
"As President of the National Philoptochos Society, Mrs. Pappas has been an inspiration to each and every Philoptochos member. She had offered an inestimable life of unparalleled service to her family, her Church, and the community at large. Under the leadership of Mrs. Pappas, a true visionary, the Philoptochos Society not only continued and expanded its philanthropic outreach, but embarked on several innovative programs designed to make the Society a vehicle for all Greek Orthodox women to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory, had appointed Mrs. Pappas as National President from 1974-1982, had stated, ‘The Philoptochos Society’s outreach in the areas of philanthropy and social and moral concerns in the local community, our Archdiocese, across the nation and in Greece and other parts of the world has been successful, perhaps even indescribable. Most importantly, it bears the seal of the sensitivity and refinement that is the hallmark of your loving soul as a Greek Orthodox Churchwoman.’ Mrs. Pappas had served with a loving spirit and a passion for excellence, along with a deep commitment and devotion to the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society. May her memory be eternal."
By Christine Karavites
Mrs. Katherine Pappas died May 12, 2007. She was the wife of the late Judge John C. Pappas. Born and raised in the Boston area, she was the daughter of the late Athanasios and Vasiliki Plakias. She is survived by five children, Valerie Sapounakis, Georgia Pappas, Diana Hamilton, James Pappas, and T. Peter Pappas, fifteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She was predeceased by a daughter, Sophia Martha Tiros and a son, John C. Pappas, Jr.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America presided at the funeral service of Mrs. Pappas on May 17, 2007 at the Annunciation Cathedral of Boston. He was assisted by His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, Metropolitan of Boston; His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Metropolitan of San Francisco and area priests. In his words of condolence to the family, Archbishop Demetrios stated, "As we bid farewell to this beautiful woman of grace and kindness, we recall her dedicated service to her family, her Church, to those in need, and to the vision and purpose of the Philoptochos Society. We pray for the repose of her soul and memory eternal."
In offering the Funeral Eulogy, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios recounted Mrs. Pappas’ service to the Church and the Community:
"….Katherine Pappas was loved and respected. She was admired and revered not only by the Omogenia (the Greek American Community), but by the greater American Community. As one of the hymns we chanted today reads, she was an ‘image of the ineffable Glory of God.’ She will be remembered for her support of the arts – the Museum of Fine Arts, The Science Museum, the Boston Symphony and the Boston Opera. A dedicated Church woman, she will be remembered for her life long support of this Cathedral parish and the Community of St. Catherine in Quincy which is now building a beautiful Church in Braintree, on property previously owned by the Pappas family. The Community was given the name St. Catherine, (let us remember), in honor of Katherine Pappas."
"…She will be remembered as a faithful supporter of the Hellenic Nursing Home, the EOK and the Volunteer Women, and many other organizations."
"…Katherine was the first woman ever to receive the Alpha Omega Council’s Life Achievement Award and the first Orthodox Christian woman, (to my knowledge), to be honored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews."
"…She was an "Archondissa" not only because she was bestowed this patriarchal designation by Patriarch Athenagoras, but because she was an archondissa. She was truly someone very special. She was someone who stood apart. She radiated beauty. Not only physical, but she manifested an inner beauty, a beauty that emanated from her heart and soul. She defined dignity, kindness, goodness, wholesomeness, and other virtues far too many to enumerate."
"…Who can ever forget her lifelong dedication to philanthropy? I refer not only to her 30 years as a member of the Philoptochos society or her 8 years of sterling leadership as President of the National Philoptochos, but I speak of the countless acts of philanthropy that no one knows about and the hundreds of people she helped without fanfare or publicity."
In Metropolitan Methodios’ closing remarks to Katherine’s family, he said, "She was a special woman. She was the epitome of elegance. She was a great person. May God grant her rest in His Kingdom, and may He embrace your entire family in His loving care. "
"May you live long lives to remember her and your beloved father both of whom bequeathed to you a covenant of excellence and commitment to the eternal values of our Greek Orthodox Faith and Cultural Heritage."
By Christine Karavites