FDF 2019 Returns to Ontario
By Kristen Bruskas
Get ready for a weekend of Faith, Dance and Fellowship at the 43rd Annual Folk Dance and Choral Festival being held from February 14 – 17, 2019 in Ontario, California. This year’s event will be an outstanding gathering of youth, young adults, families and friends in celebration of our Orthodox faith and Hellenic culture.
“FDF 2019 promises to be another exciting weekend and I am grateful for this opportunity to be with thousands of our faithful and witness the vibrancy of this ministry,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos. “It takes thousands of hours to plan an event of this magnitude and I am grateful to the FDF Board of Trustees and Management Team for their outstanding efforts and tremendous attention to detail. Our parishes are also to be commended for their nurturing of talent to bring together these youth and cultivate their talents in music and dance throughout the year.”
The Opening Ceremony will start the festivities with the high-energy parade of parishes. This year’s FDF theme, “STAND”, will be exemplified through many aspects of the weekend. There is the obvious standing to dance, as well as taking a stand for your faith, standing up for your beliefs, and standing by your friends and family.
The Metropolis of San Francisco is also honored to once again welcome His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America to FDF. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Archbishop’s spiritual leadership of our Archdiocese, and it is a blessing to have him celebrate the most vibrant youth ministry in our Church. “Archbishop Demetrios has been an inspired spiritual leader of our Archdiocese and his regular presence with us at FDF demonstrates the hope he places in our youth as the future leaders of the Church,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos.
FDF will feature 112 dance and choral groups during the weekend. A wide array of dances, music and costumes from regions throughout Greece will create a feast for the senses. There is a dance group traveling all the way from Florida to compete in FDF along with groups from throughout our Metropolis. “The support of our clergy and the dedication of the instructors are key contributors to the success of this ministry. They unselfishly devote their time to nurturing and instructing children in our faith and culture, and for this I am profoundly grateful,” added Metropolitan Gerasimos. In addition, the Music School of Larissa (Greece), a public high school focused on music and dance, is bringing 34 students to visit FDF while on a tour of southern California. They will share a special presentation at FDF featuring folk dancing, instruments, and Byzantine music.
FDF has grown into a weekend celebrating the many diverse ministries offered by the Metropolis of San Francisco. This collaborative environment highlights other ministries through workshops, exhibits, and service projects to demonstrate our unity as a family of Orthodox Christians.
The 2019 Metropolitan Anthony Humanitarian Award will be presented to Mr. Apostolos (Paul) Pries, a distinguished steward and Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Born in Chios, Greece, Paul came to the United States in 1968 with his parents and one brother. They settled in San Jose, California and it has been their home ever since. Paul’s business ventures have extended from restaurants to real estate investments and property management for the past 44 years. His success in this field has been shared generously with the Church, as a donor and benefactor of his home parish of Saint Nicholas in San Jose, the Metropolis, Archdiocese and Ecumenical Patriarchate. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, and also a donor and supporter of the Monastery of the Theotokos the Life Giving Spring in Dunlap, CA. Paul and his wife Koula, are parents to four children, and grandparents to six. “Paul consistently sets an example of servant leadership through his actions, his philanthropy and especially his faith in God,” commented His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco.
To witness FDF is to witness our faith in action and to see the vibrancy of the future of our Church. This ministry is a shining beacon that will only get brighter in the years to come.
See you in Ontario, California!
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