Sons of Pericles History 1926-2003
In 1922, the Order of AHEPA was founded in Atlanta, GA. The South in those days, as most of us know, was not a society of equals. Along with African-Americans, ethnic/religious groups such as Catholics, Jews and Greeks were increasingly becoming the targets of the Ku Klux Klan. After the hanging of a young Greek-American by the Klan, a group of Greek-American men in Atlanta formed the Order of AHEPA. Consequently, AHEPA’s original cause was to fight racism and to assist Greeks from Greece to immigrate, and assimilate into the North American mainstream. The AHEPA membership was made up of adult Greek males. In the years that followed, eleven young Greek males, with a spirit that equaled that of their ancestors, conceived the idea of, and organized the Sons of Pericles. The purpose was to compliment the AHEPA and serve as a vehicle to keep the young Greeks, living in North America, together so they would never lose touch with the Greek culture.
The Sons of Pericles were started in 1926 by a group of Manchester, N.H. AHEPANS. The founder was Dr. Alexander Cambadhis. He helped the fledging new youth group with their dealings with other organizations as well as with the Order of AHEPA. His goal and the goal of the Sons of Pericles is to promote Hellenism to the youth and to keep the fire of our Motherland burning for generations to come. Together with the aid of some members of the Order of AHEPA from the Manchester, NH, Chapter, these young men were the first members of the Order and are known collectively as The Mother Lodge of the Sons of Pericles (pictured below)
The first chapter named itself the Queen City Chapter #1. Its first officers were installed on February 3, 1926. Within a year, the first National Convention was held in Lowell, MA with 14 Chapters in the fraternity. In 1928, in Detroit, MI, the Sons were officially recognized as the Junior Order of AHEPA. In 1932 at the National Convention in Akron, OH, the Order expanded its jurisdiction into Montreal, Canada, thereby making it the first international Greek Youth Organization in the world.
Membership & Goals of the Sons of Pericles
The age of the members of the Sons of Pericles is between 14 and 27. In order to start a Chapter, you must be sponsored by a local AHEPA Chapter. The minimum members needed to start a Sons of Pericles Chapter is 8. North America has been divided into 24 Districts. In order to be considered an active District, there must be at least 3 paid Sons Chapters. The total number of members over the years has hovered around the 1500 mark. In 1989, the Sons of Pericles reached 2,248 members, the highest total since World War II. The Goals of the Organization are fairly simple: to promote the value that Hellenism was based on. As well as to promote philanthropy, civic responsibility, athletics, education and individual excellence.
Dayton, Ohio Sons of Pericles in 1932
National Projects & Philanthropy
In 1938, an excursion to Greece gave the Sons the inspiration for the first of many national projects. A visit to Missolonghi Greece, inspired the dedication of a monument to the heroes of the war of Greek Independence. After approval of both Houses of the U.S. Congress, the monument was presented as an expression of goodwill from America to Greece.
In 1971, the Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena, (Junior Order of the Daughters of Penelope) undertook the same National project for the first time, raising over $30,000(US$) for Multiple Sclerosis.
In 1985, the Sons of Pericles raised $10,000 in order to bring the Greek Special Olympics team to the International Games in Utah.
Since then, the Sons of Pericles have raised well over $1,000,000 for various charities and special events. We proudly continue this commitment to helping those that are less fortunate, and to fight for causes that promote Hellenism.
In 1996, the Sons of Pericles helped raise over $10,000 for a commemorative statue that was presented at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. This statue represented the past, present, and future of the Olympic Games. The dedication ceremony took place a few months before the Olympic Games and was attended by local and state officials as well as His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. During the Olympic Games, when a small pipe bomb was detonated, this immense statue helped shield tourists from debris
The Sons and Maids Foundation
With the ever-growing needs of a premier Greek Youth Organization, the Sons of Pericles, along with the Maids of Athena, have established a foundation to enable them to continue to raise money. The purpose of this foundation is to continue to promote the values and ideals of the Order as well as to ensure the future of the Organizations. Only with a successful foundation can an organization, with goals and aspirations as large as ours, continue to thrive. This foundation was originally conceived in 1997, and passed at the 2000 AHEPA National Convention in New Orleans. The foundation has been incorporated, and has 501(c)3 status. For more information on how you can contribute please do not hesitate to consult the Foundation section from this website.
During the war years (1942-1946), the Sons of Pericles suspended operations. However, they did not remain idle. They assisted the members of the AHEPA in the selling of US war bonds. The Order of AHEPA, with the Sons assistance, sold the most war bonds during the war than any other organization. In 1947, the Sons resumed normal operations.
In 1982, the Sons and Maids, in continued cooperation, held the first biannual youth salute. The first honoree was U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, with Sergeant Shriver (1984), Ike Pappas (1986), and U.S. Congressman George W. Gekas (1988) to follow. In 1990 Chris Economindes was awarded the honor, and just recently in 2001 Christos Cotsakos chairman and CEO of E* Trade.
In an effort to keep all of its members active and athletic, the Sons of Pericles undertook an athletic program, with local, regional and national Tournaments. One of its most popular sports has always been basketball. Numerous local tournaments were merged to form regional ones. The first national basketball tournament was held in 1940 with Pittsburgh, PA #112 taking top honors. Every year, there are four regional basketball tournaments. Each are dedicated to the members in the West, Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast. Supreme President Greg J. Kalamaras (1988 – 1989) helped restructure the way each regional is hosted. These rules of operation are the ones still used today. Furthermore, there continues to be District tournaments with other sports such as soccer, volleyball, hockey, softball, and football. District tournaments have created annual leagues such as softball, football and bowling in New York City, for example.
In 1949, while attending a Sons function, Sons Supreme Governor Stergios B. Milonas met with a fatal accident. In his memory, a scholarship was established in his name to assist Sons of Pericles attending and continuing their schooling. Today, the Sons continue to promote education. Every year the Sons help raise money and distribute numerous scholarships to the membership.
As the years passed, the membership grew. In an effort to keep the growing membership informed of all the events, announcements, and news, a national newsletter, The Periclean, was conceived as the Sons Newsletter. Later on, in conjunction with the Maids of Athena, a joint national Newsletter (Eleftheri Zoi -EZ-) was conceived to serve both organizations. On September 5, 2000 the Sons of Pericles entered the new millenium with this very website. The purpose of which is to continue to serve and inform the membership with the newest technology. This website was put together by volunteers.
Honors & Individual Excellence
Every year, the Supreme Lodge of the Sons of Pericles distributes awards to the deserving members, Chapters, and Districts. These are awarded at every Annual National Convention, which is held in conjunction with the Order of AHEPA. Awards include Son of the Year, Chapter of the Year, Most Improved Chapter, Chapter President of the Year, District of the Year, District Governor of the Year.
In 1988, in an effort to honor those who have helped the Order and under the leadership of Supreme President George W. Ioannidis, the Sons of Pericles started a Wall of Honor. Every year, the Supreme Lodge is allowed to induct a group of inductees, called a “class”. The first class was Chris Economides, Nicholas Figetakis, Peter Gourides, Nicholas L. Strike. They were followed by Congressman George W. Gekas (1989), George Cokinos (1990), Gus Cherevas (1991), Constantine Gekas (1992), Basil N. Mossaidis (1993), Nicholas Karacostas (1996), George J. Dariotis (1997), James A. Lolis (1997), Steno “AJ” Augustine (1998), John Prokos (1998), James W. Gounaris (1999), Michael Katsimatides (1999), James S. Scofield (2000), Nick C. Demeris (2000), Bill Marianes (2001), Steve Kafkis (2001), Andy Kaffes (2002), John Katsimatides (2002), George Kaloudis (2002).
In 2000, at the AHEPA Biannual Salute honoring all veterans, the Sons of Pericles also honored their past. A pictorial portrait of all past Sons Supreme Presidents from 1926 was unveiled. It hangs at AHEPA Headquarters and is also available for your viewing from this website.