CHIOS SOCIETIES OF THE AMERICAS AND CANADA
The Chios Societies of America & Canada was organized in December 1939, with a Supreme Lodge opening in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in January of the following year. The fourteen chapters of the federation were located in Pittsburgh (“Agia Markella”), Aliquippa (“Agia Markella”), Monessen (“Omonoia”), McKeesport (“Proodos”), Bethlehem (“Agia Markella”), New York City (Panchiaki “Koraes” Society), Cleveland (“Chios”), Warren (“Agia Markella”), Steubenville (“Omeros”), Campbell (“Agios Nicolaos”), Yorkville (“Chios”), Gary Indiana (“Kanaris”), Detroit, Michigan (“Agia Markella”) and Baltimore, Maryland, (“Andreas Sygros”). Andrew Potous served as First Supreme President and Gust Mesologites as First Supreme Vice-President. The first national gathering was held May 22, 1939 at the Mayfair Hotel in Pittsburgh but it was not until November of that year that a dance was offered for conventioneers in Steubenville, Ohio.
Currently The United Chios Societies of America consists of chapters in New York (21), Baltimore (2) and Cleveland, Warren, Steubenville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, with representative chapters in Chicago and New Orleans coming into the federation in 1985. There are also prospective chapters in Montreal, where a major social gathering occurred in 1977, and in Toronto, Canada. Throughout their 65 years the Chian conventions have reflected social, political and cultural attitudes reflective of their times.
The first two conventions embrace a pristine period, conventioneers having survived the rigors of The Great Depression. The Second World War shrouded conventioneers in despair over news concerning battles in the European and Pacific theatres, and war rationing and homage to the War’s casualties caused the suspension of conventions in 1944 and 1945. The 1946 Cleveland convention was held, like the celebrated Baltimore convention the following year, in the glowing aftermath of Allied Forces triumph. Financially leaner years forced conventions to become biennial events as of 1953, a tradition which continued until the Warren convention in 1963, when it was decided that conventions should resume an annual course. The turbulence of the middle sixties and early seventies, with tragedies following in succession from the time of President Kennedy’s assassination in November of 1963, through the sad close of the Vietnam War in January 1973, also had a profound effect on Chian national gatherings.
The first UCSA convention on Chian soil was held in 1969, at the island’s Xenia Hotel, with delegate meetings at the Korais Library; Attorney Christ Stratakis served as the general chairman. UCSA conventioneers returned to Chios in 1972 and 1978, the latter event held at the newly constructed Chandris Hotel.
In 1984, at the 31st National Convention, a new surge of interest and activity prompted the resumption of annual conventions which are currently scheduled through 2004.
At the same convention the UCSA name was changed into the present name of Chios Societies of America and Canada (CSA&C). Even though the name has changed we still refer to the societies as the UCSA. In 1991, with the initiative of the Chian Federation, the concept of the International Convention was born.
The CSA&C has had 65 years history filled with the worthy accomplishments of its Chapters and our island. Beginning in the mid 80’s, there have been a series of projects leading to a larger and more ambitious one. It started with the Korais library project (providing microfiche equipment in 1991), then the Chian Societies raised enough funds to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the Skilitsio Hospital Eye Clinic of Chios.
The current project is the most ambitious to date: the upgrading of the Skilitsio Hospital equipment and facilities. The tireless effort of the Chians of America and Canada has produced the benefits that our brothers and sisters in Chios can know receive from the Skilitsio Hospital. Over and above the gifts to Chios, the most significant accomplishment has been the preservation of our heritage and identity. This organization has made us proud of the fact we are Chians and will always continue to do so.
More recent conventions have tended to have in their gatherings the enthusiasm of the pristine period, reaffirming the Chian ethos, but utilizing to the maximum the technological innovations and amenities at their disposal. The result has been some very professionally managed social functions of late. Two of the very finest conventions were those held in Philadelphia in 1965, where at least a thousand persons gathered for an opulent dinner, and the first held in Chios in 1969, over which the then Supreme President Gus Glyptis presided. All general Chairmen have performed admirably.
John E. Frangos