THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE
THE CHIEF SECRETARIAT
OF THE HOLY AND SACRED SYNOD
Of His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon of America
Archbishop Spyridon of America, son of Clara and the late Dr. Constantine P. George, was born September 24, 1944, in Warren, Ohio.
After having completed his elementary education in both Steubenville, Ohio and Rhodes, Greece, he was graduated in 1962 from Tarpon Springs High School, in Florida.
He studied at the famous Theological Faculty of Halki where he was graduated in 1966 with highest honors. He subsequently pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, specializing in The History of the Protestant Churches. Awarded a scholarship by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he then studied Byzantine Literature at Bochum University in Germany (1969-1973).
He served as secretary at the Permanent Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches (Geneva, 1966-1967) and later as Secretary of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at Chambésy (Geneva), as well as director of its well known news bulletin "Episkepsis" (1976-1985). In 1976 he was assigned duties as dean of the Greek Orthodox Community of St. Andrew in Rome, where he served until 1985.
Through his long and direct contacts with the Roman Catholic Church, he acquired a down-to-earth realism in viewing inter-church relations, a fact which contributed to his appointment in 1984 as Executive Secretary of the Inter-Orthodox Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.
In recognition of his manifold services, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected him in November 1985 titular bishop of Apamea, assigning him as an auxiliary bishop to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Austria and Exarchate of Italy as it was then known.
In November 1991, upon creating the Holy Archdiocese of Italy an Exarchate of Southern Europe, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected Spyridon as the first Metropolitan for this newly created Archdiocesan See. He immediately devoted his youthful energy in organizing the new archdiocese.
During the course of four years as Metropolitan of Italy, he created various auxiliary departments; increased the number of parishes and provided them with more sound structure; made a significant contribution to the edification of Orthodox unity by incorporating various Italian Orthodox communities; gave particular attention to the Orthodox Youth by creating the Union of Greek Orthodox Students of Italy; and after centuries reintroduced Orthodox monasticism in Italy.
At the Phanar, July 30, 1996
From the Office of the Chief Secretary
of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
[ Ecumenical Patriarchate - www.patriarchate.org/OFFICIAL_DOCUMENTS/
Election_of_Archbishop_Spyridon - July 30, 1996 ]