The (Well-Known) Greek-Americans Named John We Celebrate Today

Greeks in Greece and some in America celebrate name-days. In Greece, John is most commonly celebrated on January 7th. Giannis or Yiannis, the Greek version of the name John, is a very common male name in Greece. It is also a common name among Greek-Americans. The name Giannis became popular in the Western and Eastern Church due to the important New Testament characters. For the Greek Church, the name Giannis or Ioannis comes from St John the Baptist, the ascetic figure of the Christian religion who was considered the forerunner of Jesus Christ. John was the son of Elisabeth and Zachary. The couple was infertile but Archangel Gabriel sent a message to Zachary that his wife would give birth to a son, who should be named Ioannis, John.

John was a wise man and at the age of thirty he started teaching the new religion, talking about God and his Messiah. He went to the River Jordan, where under the instructions of God he was baptizing people into the new religion. That is where Jesus was also baptized by John. John’s preaching was a problem for the ruler of Judea, Herod, who arrested him and kept him in prison. One night, during a feast at the palace of Herod, Salome, his wife’s daughter, asked for his head, in order to dance a sensual dance for Herod. Herod capsized John.

January 7th marks the name-day for most Greeks named John, so the following is a list with some prominent members of the Greek-American community that we celebrate today.

John Varvatos
John Varvatos

John Varvatos was born in Detroit and grew up in Allen Park, a Downriver community situated south of the city of Detroit. His family comes originally from the small village of Poulata on the Greek island of Cefalonia. He attended Allen Park High School. Varvatos joined Polo Ralph Lauren in 1983. He then moved to Calvin Klein in 1990 where he was appointed head of menswear design and oversaw the launch of the men’s collection and the CK brand. In 1995, he returned to Ralph Lauren as Head of Menswear Design for all Polo Ralph Lauren brands and created the successful Polo Jeans Company. In late 1999, Varvatos started his eponymous fashion house, debuting his first clothing line at the end of 2000. The collection consisted of tailored high fashion wear, the brand now represents an entire lifestyle that includes belts, handbags, footwear, eyewear, limited edition watches, luxury skincare and fragrances (including one for women). In September 2000, within months of showing his first collection, John Varvatos opened a freestanding boutique in Soho. In 2001, John Varvatos was licensed to create a line of high-end Converse All-Star shoes for the Fall/Winter Season that year. The designs were so well received that they have continued to utilize his talents to this day. John Varvatos credits his early obsession with rock ‘n roll as the catalyst for his interest in fashion. A unifying theme in his design, it is deeply ingrained in all his efforts and evident in every expression of the brand. The memorable ad campaigns for the main collection—shot by Grammy-nominated music documentarian Danny Clinch—have featured such legendary icons as Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Velvet Revolver and this year Green Day. In 2005 Varvatos received the CFDA’s 2005 Menswear Designer of the Year award at the New York Public Library. He competed for the top honor along with Ralph Lauren and John Bartlett for his third CFDA win. In 2007 Varvatos was named GQ’s Designer of the Year.

John Catsimatidis
John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis made his fortune in the business of oil, real estate, and supermarkets. John Catsimatidis is the CEO of Red Apple Group, which deals with oil refining, retail, petroleum products, convenience stores, super market and real estate. His parents came to America from the island of Nisyros when he was a child. He grew up in New York City and dropped out of NYU to tend to his business needs. He opened his first grocery store in 1969. The fortune of Mr. John Catsimatidis (who grew up in Harlem, the poorest borough of New York City) today exceeds the billion dollar mark. It is the largest chain of super markets of New York and Florida, and includes 400 gas stations, but he also works with Real Estate. His organization has 8,500 employees. While he was studying at NYU, he was working as an employee of a super market, though he never managed to get his degree. Despite the fact that he never finished, this University granted him an honorary Doctorate. He was also declared the businessman of the year for 1997.
 He is a big donor for many different organizations, from the Orthodox Church to the Democratic Party.

Yanni
Yanni

Yanni, born Yiannis Hrysomallis is a Greek self-taught pianist, keyboardist, and composer who has spent most of his life in the United States. He earned Grammy nominations for his 1992 album, Dare to Dream, and the 1993 follow-up, In My Time. His breakthrough success came with the 1994 release of Yanni Live at the Acropolis, deemed to be the second best-selling music video of all time. Yanni has since performed live in concert before a crowd of over two million people in more than 20 countries around the world. He has accumulated more than 35 platinum and gold albums globally, with sales totaling over 20 million copies. Yanni is considered to be one of the top fundraisers of all time for public television. His compositions have been included in all Olympic Game television broadcasts since 1988, and his music has been used extensively in television and televised sporting events. His music is frequently described as “new age”, though he prefers the term “contemporary instrumental”

John Sarbanes
John Sarbanes

John Sarbanes is the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 3rd congressional district, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes the state capital of Annapolis, central portions of the city of Baltimore, and parts of Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties. Congressman Sarbanes has introduced H.R. 2054, the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI). This Act seeks to both improve education in the nation’s public schools and to protect the environment by “creating a new environmental education grant program, providing teacher training for environmental education, and including environmental education as an authorized activity under the Fund for the Improvement of Education.” NCLI also requires states that participate in the environmental education grant programs to develop a plan to ensure that high school graduates are environmentally literate. This legislation is supported by a “coalition of over 1200 local, regional, and national organizations representing millions of concerned citizens who are anxious to see a new commitment to environmental education.” Sarbanes lives in Towson, Maryland with his three children and wife Dina, whom he met at Harvard and married in 1988.

John Aniston
John Aniston

John Aniston (born Yannis Anastasakis) is a Greek-American actor and the father of actress Jennifer Aniston. He is best known for his role as Victor Kiriakis on the NBC daytime drama Days of our Lives, which he started performing in, in July 1985 and has played continually since then. Aniston was born Yannis Anastassakis in Chania on the island of Crete, the son of Stella Joanne and Antonios Anastassakis. His father anglicized his name when he emigrated to the United States when Aniston was two, and his parents opened a restaurant in Chester, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts, served in the United States Navy as an intelligence officer on active duty in Panama and later in the reserve, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He has appeared in soap operas almost continually since 1975, when he joined the cast of Love of Life as Eddie Aleata. In 1978, he left Love and played Mary Stuart’s new love interest, Martin Tourneur, on Search for Tomorrow. He played that role until 1984. Aniston has also made appearances on Gilmore Girls, Airwolf, Combat, My Big Fat Greek Life, Star Trek: Voyager, and Mad Men.

John Stamos
John Stamos

John Stamos is a Greek-American actor, singer and musician best known for his work in television, especially in his starring role as Jesse Katsopolis on the ABC sitcom Full House. Since the cancellation of that show in 1995, Stamos has appeared in numerous television films and series. From 2006 to 2009, Stamos had a starring role on the NBC medical drama ER as Dr. Tony Gates. In September 2009, he began playing the role of Albert in the Broadway revival of Bye Bye Birdie. In September 2010 Stamos began a multi-episode arc as Dr. Carl Howell on the second season of the hit Fox series Glee. Stamos was born in Cypress, California. He is the oldest child and only son of Loretta and Bill Stamos, a Greek immigrant and restaurateur from Paraguay. His family’s last name was originally Stamatopoulos (Greek: Σταματόπουλος) but his paternal grandparents shortened the name to Stamos after they moved to the United States from Greece.

John Calamos
John Calamos

John P. Calamos is chairman, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the firm he founded in 1977, which he made public as Calamos Asset Management in 2004. A pioneer in investment strategies and techniques to help manage risk, Mr. Calamos has created a reputation for using investment techniques to control risk, preserve capital and build wealth for clients over the long term. From its origins as an institutional convertible bond manager, Calamos Investments has grown into a diversified asset management firm with major institutional and individual clients in the U.S. and around the world. Mr. Calamos received his undergraduate degree in Economics and M.B.A. in Finance from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Joining the United States Air Force after graduation, he served as a combat pilot during the Vietnam War and ultimately earned the rank of Major. Mr. Calamos won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award for the financial services sector, Lake Michigan Area program for 2006. A frequent speaker at investment seminars and conferences, he has taught graduate level courses on finance and investments and is often quoted as an authority on risk-management investment strategies in Barron’s, Fortune, Forbes, Pensions & Investments, Financial World, Nation’s Business, The Wall Street Journal and on CNBC and Bloomberg Forum.

John Brademas
John Brademas

John Brademas is a Greek-American politician and educator originally from Indiana. He served as Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives for the Democratic Party from 1977 to 1981 at the conclusion of a twenty-year career as a member of the United States House of Representatives. In addition to his major legislative accomplishments, including much federal legislation pertaining to schools, arts, and the humanities, he served as the 13th president of New York University from 1981 to 1992, and is a former chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and board member of the New York Stock Exchange and Rockefeller Foundation. After leaving Congress, Brademas moved to New York and served as president of New York University from 1981 to 1992. In 1990, he co-chaired the bipartisan independent commission mandated by Congress to review the grant-making procedures of the NEA. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton as chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and is also chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, as well as a member of the Consultants’ Panel to the Comptroller General of the United States. The oldest of four children, Brademas was born in 1927 to a Greek immigrant father and an American mother in Mishawaka, Indiana. His father ran a restaurant and his mother was an elementary school teacher.

John Negroponte
John Negroponte

John Negroponte is a Greek-American diplomat. He is currently a research fellow and lecturer in international affairs at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Prior to this appointment, he served as the United States Deputy Secretary of State and as the first ever Director of National Intelligence. Negroponte served in the United States Foreign Service from 1960 to 1997. From 1981 to 1996, he had tours of duty as United States ambassador in Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines. After leaving the Foreign Service, he subsequently served in the Bush Administration as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2004, and was ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005. Negroponte was born in London to Greek parents Dimitri John and Catherine Coumantaros Negroponte. His father was a Greek shipping magnate. He has received numerous awards for his service.

Happy name day to all who celebrate their name today.  If you would like to wish Happy name-day to somebody you know named John feel free to do so in our comments section below!


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