Saturday, July 4, 2015

Our families, our friends and our God

We've all heard about the financial crisis in Greece, where banks closed last week. But does it make any difference here in the United States? It did to newlyweds Limnioti and Konstantinos Patronis. They saved for a year to prepay flights and hotels, and after being married near Athens, they were honeymooning in New York City when suddenly their Greek-issued credit and debit cards were declined. Within two days, they ran out of cash, eating their final meal at McDonalds.

In desperation, Konstantinos reached out to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in New York, which contacted churches in the Queens' Astoria neighborhood. The couple were offered $350 by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church and St. Irene Chrysovalantou. Konstaninos promised to pay the churches back, but they insisted the money was a gift. "That's why we're here," said Rev. Vasillios Louros. "This is a church of Christ and we always help people."

Limnioti said relatives in Greece told her other Greeks abroad were left penniless when the banks closed, including some patients in U.S. hospitals who cannot pay for medical care. "There are only three things saving us now," she said, " our families, our friends and our God."

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