Cook County Treasurer's Office - 2/24/2000
In the tradition of the Greek Orthodox people, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, together with His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago, celebrated the cutting of the Vasilopita at the Cook County Building in downtown Chicago.
Over 300 people participated in the festivities, which included a traditional blessing and service in honor of St. Basil, followed by the cutting of the Vasilopita breads by His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos.
Present were Chicago and Cook County elected officials including Cook County
Finance Chairman John Daley and leaders of the Greek American community, including Andrew Athens, president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and Christos Tomaras, President of the North and South American region
Joining in the services were Archimandrite Demetris Kantzavelos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago, Rev. Chris Kerhulas of St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago and Rev. Byron Papanikolaou of SS. Constantine and Helen Church in Rock Island, IL.
Treasurer Pappas extended a personal invitation to all of the families of her employees to attend the Vasilopita celebration and participate in the age-old custom.
Cook County is comprised of the city of Chicago and 132 surrounding municipalities. With a population of over 5.3 million people, it ranks behind Los Angeles County as Americas second-largest county. The office of the Treasurer is one of the most important elected positions held by a Greek American, overseeing the collection, investment and distribution of almost $8 billion in real estate taxes annually. The office handles thousands of investment transactions every year and is considered one of the most important seats in local and national politics held by a Greek American.
As Treasurer, Maria Pappas is the second woman ever to be elected to County-wide office in Cook County and the first Greek American to hold such a high seat. The Vasilopita celebration is only one example of how she has sought to expand the role of the Greek American community in the Chicago area, while simultaneously sharing her Greek heritage with others in Chicago.