This Orthodox “home away from home” continues to offer hospitality to brethren from throughout Greece and the world, all of whom come to Boston for medical treatment. On Friday, September 23, three Boston College students returned to the Philoxenia House for yet another year of service to the people who are staying in this home away from home. Margarite Yuelis, Danielle Aliano and Vassilis Stotis are members of the Greek Orthodox Community at Boston College. A total of seven to ten BC students visit the Philoxenia House every week. Last year, they compiled a beautiful collage of photographs which depict 25 years of this ministry which is truly a tribute to inspired leadership and volunteerism. During their recent visit, the Boston College students met with Nektarios Konstantinopoulos, a student at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and Christa Sotiriou, a Hellenic College student, who also visit the Philoxenia House frequently.
During the Christmas season, many other visitors: individuals, representatives of organizations, Philoptochos women, etc., also stopped by to cheer the guests. His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios welcomed students from the Hellenic American Academy, who visit the residence annually, bringing gifts to the children, food for all and offer entertainment by singing Christmas Carols in Greek. Regular visits from the Philoptochos women of the Annunciation Parish in Brockton continue. Philoptochos women from the St. Athanasios Parish in Arlington visit every month to the delight of the residents who enjoy the visits, which give them the opportunity to share their pain and concerns with the understanding Philoptochos ladies.
Metropolitan Methodios established this ministry 25 years ago. The Philoxenia House is run by dedicated volunteers, including Sophia Nibi, Eleni Pantelis and Maria Tamvakologos, who assist His Eminence in all facets of the ministry. The volunteers report that the Philoxenia House enables them to go further than the impersonal act of almsgiving, important as that may be. They strongly identify with a statement made by Mother Theresa: “To give of our superfluity is not the same as giving of ourselves, or entering into the suffering of others.”
One of the many wonderful aspects of the Philoxenia House is the involvement of our youth. As we know, youth today, more than ever, is in search of selflessness, and when it finds it, is prepared to embrace it. Our young people have found selflessness in the Philoxenia House and they have embraced it. They visit; they plant bulbs and seasonal flowers; they cook; they do internships as high school and college students.
Charity is a burning flame which never ceases to burn. There are no small acts in the Philoxenia House. A visit; enjoying a cup of coffee; listening to an anxious parent; taking someone to the doctor or the hospital; translating; offering financial assistance to sustain the residence; bringing groceries; taking guests to church, to individual homes, to stores, to a restaurant. The volunteers who assist Metropolitan Methodios of Boston in this ministry give of themselves. And in turn, they say, they become better people.