Northwest and Pacific Notes – May 2017

The Ethnic Heritage Council (EHC) of Seattle presented the 2017 Gordon Ekvall Tracie Memorial Award at the Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 29 to Christos Govetas and Ruth Hunter, husband and wife.

Ruth Hunter and Christos Govetas.

Tracie was a musician and documentarian, who devoted four decades to the study, performance and promotion of Nordic traditional music and dance. With their large collection of instruments and recordings going back to the 1920s, Govetas and Hunter have dedicated themselves to preserving and performing traditional Greek music. “Christos and Ruth have become my favorite band in the entire region,” declares Balkan dance leader Spasojevic. “They promote not just Greek music, dancing and song but are instrumental in organizing a variety of events highlighting Balkan folk culture, including Balkan Dance Café and Balkan Night Northwest.” Govetas and Hunter conduct workshops all along the West Coast and work extensively with youth, including those in Seattle. The duo has held workshops at the annual FDF. They have toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, and in Greece, often with Seattle dancers. Their two children Eleni and Bobby are now members of the band.

Fr. Neketas Palassis at the Seattle Greek Festival.

FALLING ASLEEP:  Protopresbyter Neketas Savvas Palassis, 83, fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, April 3, after a long illness.  Fr. Neketas served as priest of St. Demetrios Church in Seattle from 1959 to 1968 and was instrumental in the development of the current church building and sanctuary which opened in 1963 and its iconostasis with beautiful icons painted by a monk on Mt. Athos and many of the mosaics on the walls of the apse.  Throughout his tenure at St. Demetrios, he energetically ministered to many in the Seattle Orthodox Community. In 1968, he went on to establish an old calendar church in Seattle where he simultaneously operated a popular mail order bookstore and oversaw the publication of several books for adults and children. The bookstore’s proceeds go to charity. Preceded in death by his older brother, Protopresbyter Constantine Palassis who served the Greek Archdiocese for 40 years at many parishes, Fr. Neketas is survived by his beloved wife Presvytera Helen Palassis, faithful daughter Angelique, loving granddaughter Krisztina and niece Maria Katherine. Services were held April 6 and 7 at St. Nectarios American Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle. Donations may be made to St. Nectarios Cathedral or to St. Nectarios Bookstore or The Convent of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.

Father James Bernstein. The two Northwest authors and clergymen hold their books translated into Greek in Greece: Fr. Abbot Tryphon and Fr. James Bernstein.

Father Abbot Tryphon. The two Northwest authors and clergymen hold their books translated into Greek in Greece: Fr. Abbot Tryphon and Fr. James Bernstein.

GREEK TRANSLATIONS: Two NW authors’ books have been translated into Greek in Greece: Surprised by Christ by Fr. James Bernstein, St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lynnwood/Brier, WA and The Morning Offering by Fr. Abbot Tryphon, All Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery, Vashon Island, WA. Both priests are converts to Orthodoxy, Fr. James from Judaism and Fr. Abbot Tryphon from Protestantism through eastern mysticism.

NEW ORTHODOX MISSION: For people at or considering Washington State University in Pullman in Eastern Washington, no longer will they have to do without an Orthodox church in their town or need to travel an hour and a half to the nearest church. The St. Katherine the Great Orthodox Mission is at 1275 N. Grand Avenue in Pullman, and serves the Pullman—Clarkston, WA, and Lewiston, ID areas. Fr. Michael Molloy is the attending priest. For more information, call 208-301-3677 or email

Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang.

KAVAKOS AND WANG: Highly esteemed Athenian violinist Leonidas Kavakos and fiery pianist Yuja Wang recently gave a West Coast tour, performing with great sensitivity—first in Seattle, WA, then in San Diego, Costa Mesa, and Santa Barbara, all within three days. Kavakos was the 2017 winner of the highly esteemed Danish Léonie Sonning Music Prize in January. Previous winners include, among many others, Leonard Bernstein, Rubinstein, Menuhin, Shostakovich, and Rostropovich. Visit

LOCAL WRITER: Freelance writer of Seattle Elizabeth M. Economou is a contributor to the online site FaithZette at Her recent articles include a biography of St. Valentine in February and of St. Patrick in March.


Email the author: Theodora Argue

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