State and National Leaders in Attendance to 
Honor the Work of the Metropolis

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco held its inaugural Gala on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. This event was designed to both honor the extraordinary leadership of Theofanis “Fanis” Economidis, Archon Ekdikos, a dedicated volunteer of the Metropolis for over 30 years, as well as celebrate the diverse ministries and programs of the Metropolis which provide for the spiritual, educational and cultural needs of its members in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

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Fanis Economidis and His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos.

The Gala was co-chaired George Marcus, church philanthropist and businessman, and Jeannie Ranglas, president of the Metropolis Philoptochos Society. Marcus and Ranglas led a committee which planned an elegant and entertaining evening to a sold-out crowd which enthusiastically filled the Ritz Carlton Ballroom in San Francisco. The proceeds from the Gala initiated support for an endowment for the ministries of the Metropolis, with $1 million being raised at this inaugural event. Major contributors for the event included “Premier Sponsors”: George and Judy Marcus Family Foundation, Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas, and The Kallins Family Foundation; along with “Illustrious Sponsors”: George and Vickie Demos, and Nikiforos and Georgia Valaskantjis.

The 420 guests attending the sold out Gala included: Governor Jerry Brown; Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; Congresswoman Anna Eshoo; recently retired State Senator Elaine Kontominas Alquist; Consul General of Greece in San Francisco, His Excellency Ioannis Andreades; Honorary Consul of Cyprus Nicolaos Theophanous; and former President of ABC and former Chairman of United Artist pictures, Tony Thomopoulos. Several local religious leaders were also present including recently retired Archbishop George Niederauer from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco; Bishop William Swing, retired bishop of the Episcopal Church; and Bishop William Justice, Auxiliary Bishop for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco; Rita Semel, Chair of the San Francisco Interfaith Council; and Monsignor John Talesfore from St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco.

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Dr. Kenneth Frangadakis; California Governor Jerry Brown; George Marcus; Paul Pelosi.

The program featured numerous and deserving accolades for Economidis, who has served as the Metropolis chief volunteer officer for several years, and has supported initiatives of the Greek Orthodox Church at the local, national and international levels. A special tribute video from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was shown during the Gala in honor of Economidis’ tireless support of the religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. A letter of commendation was also received by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. Representing the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, National Archon Council Member Constantine G. Caras presented a recognition award on behalf of the Archons, as well as special greetings and recognition from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund.

Serving as the Masters of Ceremonies for the evening were Jenni Pulos, star of Bravo! TV’s “Flipping Out” and internationally acclaimed musician, Chris Spheeris. Pulos, who is preparing to release a children’s rap album, customized a rap to honor Economidis and the work of the Metropolis, which brought enthusiastic cheers from the audience. Guests were also entertained by a musical program which included classics such as “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, “Largo ad Factotum” from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, and “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot performed by soprano Michele Patzakis, baritone Constantine Pappas and Rev. Fr. John Bakas. The program closed with an emotional performance of “God Bless the USA” by Fr. John Bakas. This song was a special request by Economidis as it expresses the love he has for the United States and the many opportunities afforded to him throughout his life and career.

This event inaugurated the Theofanis Economidis Award, named in honor of its first recipient and presented to a distinguished individual in honor of their leadership, inspirational vision, hard work, and service to the Greek Orthodox Church.

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Masters of Ceremonies Jenni Pulos and Chris Spheeris.

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The Economidis family: Cynthia, Fanis and Roberta.

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Nikiforos and Georgia Valaskantjis, Maria and Isidoros Garifalakis, Fanis Economidis, Michael and Katina Koulakis, Jeannie and Gerry Ranglas.

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George Marcus; Jeannie Ranglas; His Excellency Ioannis Andreades, Consul General of Greece in San Francisco.

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Rita Semel, Chair of the San Francisco Interfaith Council; Monsignor John Talesfore from St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco; Fanis Economidis.

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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; Cynthia Economidis; Fanis Economidis.

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Master of Ceremonies Jenni Pulos (third from left) with her sister, Diakonissa Krisann Kontaxis; mother Alice Pulos; and husband, Dr. Jonathan Nassos.

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His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles; Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco.

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Angelo Tsakopoulos, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Thomopoulos.

All photos by Drew Altizer Photography.