The pioneers of organized Philanthropy in our Church were a few compassionate ladies of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York. Under the guidance of Rev. Methodios Koukoulis, Dean of the Cathedral, and the leadership of Mrs. Anthony Rallis, Mrs. Nicholas Calvocoresses and Mrs. George Galatis, the first Philoptochos Society was officially established in 1902.
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc., the philanthropic branch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, was established in November 1931, by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. He was then serving as Archbishop of North and South America. For 84 years the Society has undertaken a multitude of philanthropic programs to aid the poor, the sick, and the elderly. Today, there are approximately 480 Philoptochos Chapters throughout the United States.
During the Great Depression of the thirties, Philoptochos devoted its main efforts to assist the poor and the needy, and these efforts continue to this day. Guided and inspired by Archbishop Athenagoras, the Society focused on war relief efforts for Greece and assisted the American Red Cross during WWII. The work continued and expanded under the leadership of Archbishop Michael, followed by Archbishop Iakovos.
The Society played, and continues to play, a major role in financially assisting St. Basil Academy, Hellenic College/Holy Cross, St. Michael's Home for the Aged, flood and earthquake victims, and in supporting numerous philanthropic causes of every kind in this community and across the United States.
The philanthropic work of the Archdiocesan Cathedral Philoptochos Society continued under the auspices of Archbishop Spyridon, and currently under Archbishop Demetrios.