Challenge - September 1996

Welcome Home!

On September 21 we welcome His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, the first American-born leader of our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. A new age is upon us — one of revitalization and renewal!
Archbishop Spyridon, whose family is from the Greek island of Rhodes, was born on September 24, 1944 in Warren, Ohio. After graduating from Tarpon Springs High School in Florida in 1962, he studied theology at the renown Theological School of Halki in Constantinople where he graduated in 1966 and later pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, specializing in the history of the Protestant Churches. He then studied Byzantine Literature at Bochum University in Germany, graduating in 1973.

For many years he served the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Orthodox Center in Geneva as well as the Permanent Delegation to the World Council of Churches, and the Inter-Orthodox Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.

After serving the Greek Orthodox Community of St. Andrew in Rome as dean since 1976, in 1985 he was elected titular bishop of Apamea and assigned as auxiliary bishop to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Austria and Exarchate of Italy, as it was then known. Six years later His Eminence was the first Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Exarchate of Southern Europe which His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew established in 1991.

At the time there were only eight Greek Orthodox communities in Italy. Yet, in four years under Metropolitan Spyridon, the Archdiocese founded new parishes in 21 different cities throughout Italy and established a monastery in Calabria. Among the many church organizations the Metropolitan initiated was the Union of Greek Orthodox Students of Italy.

Archbishop Spyridon returns to America as an Orthodox leader of international prominence and experience. We pray to our Lord to grant our new spiritual leader health and strength, and we pray thankfully to God for the guidance He has provided to His All Holiness and the Holy and Sacred Synod in the election of our new Archbishop.

This is an exciting and historic time for us and a new, bright beginning. As the Editor of the challenge, and on behalf of Fr. Angelo J. Artemas, Director of the Office of Youth &Young Adult Ministries, I wish His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon many blessings in his new role as our beloved Spiritual Father and Shepherd.

●●  Catherine K. Contopoulos, Editor

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