Mon, Mar

Saving Jim

It was heartening news to hear that Jim Vlassopoulos underwent a successful kidney transplant on July 25, 2016 at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Centre in the US. Jim was suffering from a genetic kidney disease which had him on dialysis on a daily basis. A Facebook page was launched to raise awareness of Jim’s condition and to seek an organ donation. The outcome was positive with a suitable donor found in Israeli Yogev Azulay, a total stranger to Jim, who generously and altruistically gave Jim the gift of life.

Kathy (Nina) Vlassopoulos, Jim’s second cousin, here in Melbourne, relates Jim’s dream prior to the transplant: “I want to wake up in my house in Platrithia and feel the sense of security my family gave me growing up. I need that familiarity so much, that feeling of belonging. Spring and summer, with its warmth and smells”.  Jim will now have the opportunity to do this.

Jim is the son of the late Anastasi and Louisa Vlassopoulos (Kioukiouris). Anastasi was a member of the Society, living in Melbourne for a number of years before returning to live permanently in Ithaca.

The Ithacan community in Melbourne and Ithaca have been supportive in promoting the Saving Jim Facebook page and fundraising events to assist with expenses related to the transplant totalling around $US200 000. You can still donate to this cause. For details go to

Extract of a message recently posted on Facebook by Jim’s wife Galit:

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to you our dear friends, for your kind words of support, for your generous donations and for everything you have done for us. It is extremely heartwarming and we are humbled by your gestures. We can assure you that your support has given us the strength and courage to overcome this challenging period and we are now looking forward to what lays ahead, full of optimism and a strong zeal for life and all it has to offer. The experience has touched our lives in so many ways and we will be forever grateful for the miraculous outcome”.


Jim is pictured centre in the photo above. To the left is his family, wife Galit and five children from oldest to youngest – Kaili, Kleon, Naeli, Anjel and Yvie. To the right is the kidney donor Yogev with his wife Liora and their child Yehuda.

Join us at the Panayias Katharon & Centenary Memorial Service

FlyerPanayiasGra phicJoin us at the Greek Orthodox Church Presentation of Our Lady to the Temple
7 Macedon Avenue, North Balwyn
to celebrate Panayias Katharon with Artoklasia - the blessing of the loaves - and to honour, in our Centenary Year, the memory of our Ithacan forefathers and loved ones.

After the service lunch will be served at the Sunset Bistro,
The Manningham, 1 Thompson’s Road Bulleen from 12.30 pm
RSVP for lunch essential: DONATION: $25
Kristalenia Collins 0409 357 747
Helen Vlass 9857 6716

We look forward to seeing you there.

Join us at the Panygiri of Aghia Marina + highlights of the Centenary Opening

Join us at Ithaca House on 17 July 2016 at 2.00pm to view highlights from the Centenary Opening CELEBRATING OUR FOUNDERS

featuring the screening of the biographical documentary ‘Out of the Earth’ The life and times of A J J Lucas

and to celebrate on the very day THE PANYGIRI of AGHIA MARINA, the patron saint of EXOGHI and the birthplace of A J J Lucas

Bookings are essential: RSVP Helen Vlass  on 9857 6716 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The documentary will be shown on the Society’s newly installed projector screen.

"Greek Cafés & Milk Bars of Australia" book launch

Remember when each suburb and every country town had a Greek café or milk bar – open all hours, 7 days a week?

Documentary photographer Effy Alexakis, and historian, Leonard Janiszewski, have been researching the Greek-Australian historical and contemporary presence in both Australia and Greece since 1982.

In their latest book, Greek Cafés & Milk Bars of Australia, the era of Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars is vividly brought to life.

With Ithacans forming a large part of the cafe culture, particularly in Melbourne, this book will be relevant to many of our members.

Leonard and Effy will be in Melbourne to present a lecture at the launch on their 30 years of research culled from travels within four continents, selected from over 1,800 interviews and innumerable contemporary and historical photographs. A selection of Melbourne and Victorian Greek-run cafés and milk bars will be included in their presentation.

Wednesday 10 August, 7pm
Delphi Bank Mez, Greek Centre
168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Light refreshments will be served and the book will be available for purchase.
RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday 8 August.

If you cannot make it to the official launch at the Greek Centre, Effie and Leonard will be at the Brunswick Library on Thursday 11 August at 7.30pm. Register online at or phone 9389 8600. 

Fire extensively damages the historic Evangelismos church

Victoria’s first Orthodox Church, Evangelismos, was severely damaged in a fire, which also destroyed priceless icons dating back to the 1800s.

The heritage-listed church in East Melbourne became engulfed in flames at approximately 1pm, Monday 2 May, shortly after a morning liturgy was held to celebrate the holy day of Saint George, and just a day after Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations.

“Luckily no one was inside the church at the time of the fire and the MFB was able to gain control of the blaze within half hour,” said Greek Community President Bill Papastergiadis.

“This is an iconic church not only for Greek-Australians but all Orthodox people. Planning for the church’s restoration will begin as soon as the police and the MFB finish their investigation and a full account has been taken of the damage,”Mr Papastergiadis said. "The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. It is estimated to have caused more than $500,000 in damage, although it will take some time to ascertain a more accurate figure."

Built by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria, Evangelismos was constructed in 1900-2 to serve Greeks, Syrians and other nationalities of the Orthodox faith. A J J Lucas,  our founding president was also one of three Church Committee members who played an integral role in the creation of Victoria's first Greek Orthodox Church.

Annual Eptanesian event moves to Axion Estin in Northcote

Due to the recent fire at the Evangelismos Greek Orthodox church, the annual Eptanesian event, celebrating the unification of the Ionion Islands with Greece in 1864, will now take place in the presence of Mrs Christina Simantiraki, the Consul General of the Hellenic Republic in Victoria, at the “Axion Estin”  monastery complex , situated at 7 Hartington Street, Northcote, on Sunday 22nd May 2016 at 10am.

Light refreshments will be served after the church service, on site in the monastery hall.

There is ample car parking on site.

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