Welcome to Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Cardiff-By-The-Sea, California. Our mission is to serve the liturgical, sacramental, and community needs of Orthodox Christians in our parish through the Word of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Tradition of the Church. By practicing charity through stewarship and ministries we will create an environment where all are welcome and desire to be involved in the life of the Church. "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me" (John 15:4). We have an Academy Preschool see the Tab above for more information. Please join us as we journey through Christ's holy vineyard. Rev. Fr. Michael Sitaras.
Below is our most recent News. You can also get caught up on archived News by clickinghere.For upcoming events click here.
FATHER AND PRESBYTERA PHILLIPS 60TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY - On Friday, July 5th 2013, Father and Presbytera Phillips celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. On Sunday, the Parish celebrated with cake, speeches, and a beautiful finale of Father and Presbytera releasing Doves. Congratulations!
CHURCH MUSIC FEDERATION 2013 - Saints Constantine & Helen Choir Participates in Church Music Federation Conference Held at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles 2013 Church Music fest under the Byzantine Dome -- June 27-20, 2013
Our church was represented by eight choir members. Those in attendance were the following: Argie Demas, Maria Leslie Georgiou, Florence Peters, Markayla Stroubakis, George Tsoris, Pauline Tsoris, Georgia Vourlitis, and Panayiota Xirogiannis.
A total of 25 parishes participated in the Conference -- choir directors, Adult choirs, Youth Choirs and Chanters. Metropolitan Gerasimos and the Clergy were also in attendance. We spent two days diligently rehearsing liturgical music under the direction of John Kollias, Choir Director at St. Sophia. Prior to his rehearsal, on Friday, we had a vocal workshop with an instructor in the vocal arts, Nancy Struck. She supplied us with ideas and techniques to improve our musical sounds.
We were blessed to have with us another devoted church musician, Tikey Zes.In his many years as a church composer he has arranged an entire liturgy and composed many liturgical hymns, like the beautiful "Soma Xristou" which we sing during communion at Easter time. Tikey is the Choir Director of St. Nicholas Church in San Jose. He is also the leader of the Church Music Institute program (CMI) -- Tikey never standstill. CMI's focus on education and choral techniques. There will be a CMI in his church in October; one in Sacramento in November; and Phoenix in January. The Ascension Greek Orthodox Church in Oakland will host the Choir Federation Conference in 2014.
At the Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, we were thrilled when our own talented Markayla Stroubakis was honored with the Katherine Trapp Youth Musician Award as the most promising church singer and chantress.
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos was the featured speaker at the Saturday evening banquet. In his talk His Eminence emphasized that "Music ministry is an important component of our worship as Orthodox Christians."
The highlight of the Conference was the singing of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, All Saints day. The exalted sound of 130 voices was an inspirational liturgical experience that captured the hearts of all worshipers.
PROJECT MEXICO TRIP 2103 - Five members of our parish, John Bonadero, Marco Van Buskirk, Barbara Anaya, Merianne and Nathaniel Cochran were part of a group of over 75 orthodox parishioners from throughout the Unite d States and Canada who spent a week of spiritual enrichment, fellowship with the boys at the ranch, as well as building a home for 7 needed neighboring families. If you are interested in attending or sponsoring an individual for a trip of a week or shorter duration please contact Merianne Cochran, firstname.lastname@example.org.
VACATION CHURCH SCHOOL 2013 - Thank you to everyone who gave their time and talents to ensure an amazing week of our Pan Orthodox Vacation Church School “Traveling on the Ark of Salvation.” This was our most successful VCS with 64 registered children from several different churches including St. Anthony of La Jolla, St. John Damascus of Poway, St. Spyridon, St. Katherine and St. John the Theologian. We had 30 volunteers providing a safe, fun, and memorable learning environment as the children explored the different feasts days of the Theotokos.
We had an amazing teaching staff consisting of PK-Amy Drivas, K/1-Patty Diaz, Victoria Pappas, 2/3-Alexandra Aram , Heather Hetrick, Kiki Tavialardis, Glenda McFerran, 4/5-Claudia Lee, 6/7/8-Peter Fellios and Father Michael. Connie Fellios, with the help of Irene Mylonas, taught the children hymns of our church as well as the meaning behind them. Linda Kounelis led the creative crafts, all related to the messages of the week. Maria Leslie Georgiou gave an interactive presentation on our Orthodox Missions. Our high school youth, who reflected good leadership skills and served as positive role models, included classroom assistants Nadia Birouty, Ariana Dalkas, Elisabeth Diaz, Giselle George and Catherine Lee. Team recreation, led by Rene Grevas and assisted by Daniel Birouty, John Fellios, John Kounelis, Andrew Lee, and Luke Stone, provided a fun and safe environment for the children to release their energy.
Carolyn Grage and John Stone captured the spirit of VCS with their photography throughout the week. Vasil Karounas led the snack crew consisting of Nancy Belko, Despina and Stephen Geotis, and mother/daughter team, Pam and Kayla. Vasil created amazing snacks that tasted as good as they looked. We also extend a special thank you to our Parish Council for their support of this important youth ministry. The tremendous success of this year’s VCS was the result of the many volunteers who worked together towards the common goal of planting and nurturing the seeds of our Orthodox faith.
Sunday School Year 2013-2014 will begin September 15, 2013.
HOPE & JOY PARTY 2013 - We would like to thank Tasia Mannasaki for hosting the Hope & Joy end of year party! Your picnic theme was a great setting! Hope & Joy will resume in September under the leadership of Heather Hetrick.
NICHOLAS COROLIS SCHOLARSHIP 2013 - When Nicholas Corolis, a longtime steward and member of our parish, passed away, his family requested that all memorial donations be directed towards a scholarship in his name, to be given to a student from our community who is studying engineering or medicine. We had several applicants for the scholarship, all of whom are hard working, successful, and responsible students, dedicated to helping others and to always doing their best. After spending much time and effort to prepare the application and review the candidates, our committee, consisting of Rene Grevas, Carolyn Koumaras, Michelle Pekos, Gail Slemon, and Diane Truesdell, selected Michaeli Van Buskirk as the recipient of this one-time award. Michaeli, who has grown up in our community, attending Sunday School and participating in GOYA and Greek dance, is currently a student at Baylor University in Texas, studying Health Sciences and Pre-Med. She is on the Dean’s List and volunteers for a local hospice organization, where she provides emotional and spiritual support to the patients she visits. In addition, she participated in a medical mission trip to Uganda with Orthodox Christian Mission Center last summer, where she helped set up eight clinics in remote African villages. Working for two weeks alongside her father and others, she helped “bring knowledge and treatment to many less fortunate people and share God’s love and the Gospel as well”. We are proud of Michaeli and all of our applicants, and wish all of them much success and fulfillment in their futures.
SUNDAY SCHOOL PROMOTION/GRADUATION 2013 - On June 9th, 2013 Sunday School held their Promotion/Graduation with all the Students. Sunday School Director, Linda Kounelis presented Fr. Michael Sitaras with a beautiful gift. On June 9, our Sunday School students and the entire community were treated to a hot dog lunch in honor of their promotion. Stephen and Despina Geotas, who also gave a generous donation, along with Despina and Ginger Walter, Gail Slemon, Helen Koll, and Irene Mylonas planned and prepared the meal for the day. With able assistance from Matina Dale, Diane Truesdell, and Pauline Tsoris, hot dogs were wrapped, salads were tossed, and ketchup and mustard were made ready for a celebration that has been a longtime tradition for our parish.
SAINTS CONSTANTINE AND HELEN ACADEMY (PRESCHOOL) OPEN HOUSE 2013 - On May 19th, 2013 Saints Constantine and Helen Academy (Preschool) held their first Open House. The beautiful new classroom, playground were showcased. If you have not seen the art work by Fr. Michael Sitaras it is a must see. The parents learned a great deal from the Director and Teacher and the children enjoyed. Look out for future Open Houses. Enrollment is open for children 3-5 years old potty trained to start in September.
Saints Constantine and Helen Academy is the first and only preschool in North County San Diego to offer a Christian Orthodox faith-based, Montessori-infused classical English-language curriculum. With a low student-to-teacher ratio, 3-5 year-old children will flourish socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically through developmentally appropriate and state-approved activities. "Learning is a life-long process, however, the first six years of a child's life is when the brain develops most rapidly," said Lia Blomgren, Director of Saints Constantine and Helen Academy. "Since so much of our world is based on the classics and Greek language, children of our Academy will be exposed to facets of our world that they won't get anywhere else."
While most classical academies supplement their curriculum with Latin, Saints Constantine and Helen Academy uniquely complements its program with classical Greek dramatic play. The preschool’s interior and exterior feature the latest in academic manipulatives to provide enriched learning opportunities. The colorful and engaging classroom features original artwork by renowned artist Rev. Father Michael Sitaras. Outside, a playscape, water and sand activities, and balance blocks add to the fun with physical play, while two-and-a-half inch cushioned tiles – which meet IPEMA standards – protect children from falls. The Academy's staff is highly trained in early childhood education, the Christian Orthodox faith, and the classics.
"We are excited to share our faith and love of education with the community through our preschool, but this is just the beginning," said Rev. Father Michael Sitaras, Pastor and School Board Chair of Saints Constantine and Helen Academy. "Our goal is to expand the Academy to enrich the classical learning experience of children through eighth grade. As a dad, I understand how knowing the classics and Greek language has helped my children with educational assessments like the SAT."
SAINT HELEN PHILOPTOCHOS GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2013 - On May 19th, 2013 St. Helen Philoptochos held their General Assembly Meeting and Elections in the Senior Center, during which information regarding circle activities and upcoming events was shared and elections were held. The new board, which will serve from June, 2013 to May, 2015, and which elected their executive officers following the swearing-in on Sunday June 2, consists of the following individuals: Nicki Cometa (Treasurer), Helen Crisafi, Matina Dale, Argie Demas, Christine Dorudian, Maria Leslie Georgiou, Carolyn Grage (Advisor), Rene Grevas, Heather Hetrick (Assistant Treasurer), Patricia Karetas, Carolyn Koumaras (First Vice President), Irene Mylonas (President), Anne Panagakos, Marianne Pekos, Michelle Pekos (Recording Secretary), Alexis Ranglas, Gail Slemon (Corresponding Secretary), Diane Truesdell (Second Vice President), and Pauline Tsoris.
GOYA FATHER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2013 - The GOYans honored the Father of the Year, Mr. Dean Gurholt, on June 16th, 2013. Dean is always around the Church assisting and doing so much with his Garden Club to so much more. Thank you and congratulations!
GOYA MOTHER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2013 - The GOYans honored the Mother of the Year, Mrs. Claudia Lee, on May 12th. Claudia is an inspiration and does so much for all the youth programs. Thank you and congratulations!
May 5, 2013, our Pashca Orthodox Easter - Christ is Risen!
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.
On April 28, 2013 a Glorious Palm Sunday was celebrated. We are very pleased to report that, as a result of the profits from our Palm Sunday Luncheon together with donations made by several individuals, the Philoptochos were able to send $2,000 to St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Church in El Cajon to assist them in their rebuilding following the devastating fire.
ORATORICAL FESTIVAL 2013 - On April 6, 2013 Saints Constantine & Helen's parish level Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival was held in the Manchester Room. I am pleased to a report that seven teens participated this year. Nadia Birouty, Christy Goudamanis, Alexander Sitaras, and Mary Katherine Fellios all advanced to the Southern California District Level that was held on April 14, at the Saint George GOC in Downey.
All speakers researched and wrote a speech chosen from five topics and then delivered their speech in front of three judges. This year's judges were Anthony Kyriakidis, and Fred Georggin from Saint Spyridon and Pres. Christina Riemann from Saint Anthonys.
All participants received a cash prize of $100.00 generously awarded by the Parish Council and a gift bag from Saint Katherine College, given by Dr. Peter Fellios, who spoke on the importance of the oratorical festival and the life of the young St. Katherine. Also present were alumni from previous oratorical festivals who were instrumental in the festival's success: John Fellios, Darius, Alexander and Arianna Aram. We wish all our speakers well and pray that God grant them the opportunity to participate again next year.
SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY 2013 - On the 24th March 2013, Sunday of Orthodoxy was celebrated at St. Anthony Antiochian Church in San Diego.
March 9, 2013 - Apokreatiko Glendi at Sts. Constantine and Helen
On March 9th, 2013 the Daughters of Penelope hosted an Apokreatiko Glendi at Sts. Constantine and Helen Manchester Room. It was night o great music, entertainment, dancing, food, and fellowship. Many thanks to Vasil Karounos the Chair and all the many that helped to make this a night to remember. Look forward to next years!
March 1-3, 2013 - Father Maximos Spiritual Retreat
On March 1-3 2013, Father Maximos of the Monastery Simonopetra Mt Athos graced us with Talks during our Spiritual Retreat. It was heart warming to see the number of people who attended. There were many parishioners from our church and so many guests from neighboring churches. Father Maximos' talks were nothing short of inspirational and It seems that everyone who attended were enriched by the experience. The food was delicious, the Manchester Room looked wonderful, and it could not have happened without all the numerours volunteers hard work. Many thanks and may the lessons gained from our time with Father Maximos carry us all through Lent and beyond.
On March 5, 2013 Prime Timers from Sts. Constantine and Helen, St. Spyridon, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Pauls. The Chef of the day was Mimi Howland, newly elected president. Much fun and fellowship was had by all.
23 February 2013 - Spirit of Orthodoxy at Sts. Constantine and Helen
On February 2013, the Daughters of Penelope hosted with many other Parishes from San Diego the Spirit of Orthodoxy at Sts. Constantine and Helen with proceeds going to St. Gregory of Nyssa church which was burnt earlier in the year. There were activities for the children, wonderful Greek, Romanian Dancing, Music, Art, and the most delicious foods from around the globe. It was a wonderful event with much fun and excitement had by all!
On the 14-18 February 2013 our Greek Dance School and Choral Group performed in Anaheim, CA at FDF - Congratulations to all our dancers, singers and instructors! The choral group Helios received FIRST PLACE, and the Directors Award went to Carol Pekras and Connie Fellios. Neo Kyma took 4th place in the dance competition, as well as the choral award. Our thanks to all who put so much effort into this year's events.
On February 10, 2013 our church was filled with people wearing red (even our priests wore red robes to show their loving support) to demonstrate awareness of the importance of good heart health. Many thanks to Maria Leslie Georgiou who provided the information and organized the activities for the day.
On the 10th February 2013 we held our Second Annual Parish Calendar Meeting with leaders from our various ministries. We have captured the calendar events available to date so check them out and Save the Date for the wonderful upcoming events! Many thanks to all those that took their precious time to participate in this meeting.
On January 26, 2013 130 gathered for an afternoon of Fashion, Fellowship, and Fun. The day began with many people joining or renewing their membership to Philoptochos and then spending some time chatting with friends, old and new, while sipping punch or mimosas. We enjoyed delicious lunch of chicken salad and a tasty Bundtini for dessert. We were introduced to members new to the organization, learned of some upcoming events and activities, and then settled back to enjoy the show. The dresses and gowns, from Mia Bella Couture in Del Mar, were modeled by members of our own community, ranging in age from teenagers to YiaYias. We all admired the dresses, but it was a special treat to see our models and how beautiful and elegant they looked as they walked among us. Not only did the afternoon result in many memberss joining the Philoptochos for the year (we had 100 by the end of the day), but it also delivered on its promist o Fashion, Fellowship, and Great Fun.
5-6 January 2013 - GOYA Retreat and Ephiphany Cross Dive
On the 5th and 6th January 2013, St Spyridon and Sts. Constantine and Helenco-hosted the 2013 GOYA Epiphany Retreat and Cross Dive. The youth retreat was held on January 5th with 60 GOYANS from eight different Southern California Orthodox Christian churches in attendance. This year’s theme was “You were Baptized- Now What? The main speaker of the youth retreat was Father Chris Kerhulas, Former Youth Director, Metropolis of Chicago.
The 2013 GOYA Epiphany Cross Dive Retreat culminated on Sunday, January 6th with all the retreat attendees celebrating Liturgy together at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church. Following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of the Waters, the attendees received their Agiasmo bottles first and were transported as one body on a bus to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina for the Cross Dive and Luncheon celebration.
Twenty five GOYANS from the Epiphany Youth Retreat weekend dove for the cross in the chilly 50+ degree waters of San Diego Bay. This year’s 2013 Cross Dive Retriever was fourteen year old William Halpin of Saint Anthony Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Diego. William was acknowledged by the 300 attendees at the Epiphany Cross Dive Luncheon that followed and was presented with a beautiful cross in memory of Mr. Paul Guzik, a long standing member of Sts Constaintine and Helen. William is the nephew of our very own Irene Mylonas, Philoptohos President of Sts Constantine and Helen.
The San Diego Union Tribune has posted several pictures of the Epiphany Cross Dive event on the FRONT PAGE of their January 7, 2013 morning paper, with young William holding up the cross.
On the 31st December 2012, AHEPA and Daughters of Penelope hosted the Annual New Year’s Eve Dinner dance at Saints Constantine and Helen in the Manchester Room with a full house of adults, teens and children from all over San Diego. It was truly a night to remember with glittering lights, silver, gold, and white decorations by Ellen Winn. Created life size automated moving Clocks and New York Skyline light displays by our artist Dave. The night began with guests arriving in tuxedos, evening gowns, and festive evening wear making for a walk down memory lane. The guests were greeted by the Chair's bride Constantina Klondis and friends. Tables were decorated with glittering lights and beautiful white roses arranged by Christina Vassiliadis. The evening was heralded in with a blessing from our Deacon John Robinson. The cocktail hour appetizers followed by the gourmet sit down dinner produced by Chef Tony Petroulis followed by dessert by Chef Nikolai were delicious start to a wonderful evening. There was an atmosphere of life and joy in the room with music by Nektarios Tradas, from the old time Bennie Goodman’s big band music with the memorable Second World War “String of Pearls”, to traditional and Zeibekiko Greek dancing, to the latest teenage Pop and Gundum Style. There was something for every age to enjoy. Children and Teens enjoyed their private areas with movie, karaoke, and activities. Family portraits were taken by our resident photographer Jim Karounos. The Venetian Table was not only a delight to the eyes but with an array of scrumptious Daughter of Penelope pastries, desserts, sweets, and chocolate fountain it was a foodies delight. Silver trays were passed by servers for guests to take Black and Silver top hats, feathered crowns, and blowers and all became alive with excitement for the count down. Vasilopita, handmade solo, by Mimi Howland were provided to each table with the anticipation of who would receive the lucky coin for 2013. Champagne flowed and the countdown began to see in 2013. The room made it onto the dance floor and counted down the New Year with a balloon drop and many hugs, kisses and well wishes! The energy was contagious and everyone merried in the spirit of the New Year.
Special thanks to Phil Klondis for Chairing the event, Anne Panagakos for coordinating table setup, catering, and food service, Kelee Plagis-Tsitsikaos administrative public relations, and AHEPA James Rigopoulos, Kent Stone, Ray Denton, John Tsitsikaos, Chris for their assistance. It truly was a wonderful event and we look forward to celebrating the next New Year’s eve with you all again! Happy New Year 2013 - Kali Xronia. The AHEPA and Daughters of Penelope.
On the 16th December 2012, the Parish Christmas Children's Programs and Luncheon was held with a visit from Santa, fantastic musical entertainment from Rapsady, Gingerbread House and a delicious luncheon. Many thanks to Linda Kounelis, Andrea Letsos for the children's programs and Toni Kanakaris for Chairing the Luncheon and all the many who worked to make this a most enjoyable and memorable event!
On the 1st December 2012, the ladies Philoptochos Chapters from Sts. Constantine & Helen and St. Spyridon held their Annual Christmas Luncheon at the Hilton Torrey Pines. It was a wonderful afternoon of gift purchasing from the many booths, good company, food and a choral performance from St. Katherine's College Choir. Much joy was had by all. Photos coming soon.