Chrysostomos (Kavouridis), former Metropolitan of Florina
Metropolitan Chrysostomos was born in the village of Madeta, Thrace in 1870, from devout parents Georgios and Melpomeni Kavouridis. After high school he entered the Theological Faculty at Halkis where he excelled. Ordained deacon and priest by Patriarch Joakeim III, he was appointed preacher to Panormos. In 1908 he was consecrated Bishop of Imvros and named to the Metropolis of Pelagonia. Regardless of the hostile situation in his region, he remained steadfastly in his place helping his flock. However, due to the political and diplomatic situation under which he was persecuted, Metropolitan Chrysostomos then resided on Mount Athos. The election of Meletios Metaxakis to the patriarchal throne of Constantinople forced him to leave Mount Athos and reside in Athens. The Church of Greece assigned him as the locum tenens of the Metropolis of Philiates and a little later he was elected Metropolitan of Florina. Then, because of severe illness and hospitalization in the Hospital of Athens, he resigned from his duties. In 1935, he undertook the Ecclesiastical Administration of the G.O.C. of Greece. He was exiled twice (in 1935 and again in 1951) for his confessional beliefs. He approached the patriarchates trying to convince the patriarchs to resolve the calendar controversy. On September 7, 1955 he reposed in the Lord.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Mavromatis) of Dimitrias
Metropolitan Chrysostomos was born on the island of Psara in the eastern Aegean around 1860. He graduated from the high school of Chios and studied theology at the University of Athens where he was named a professor. He was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in Athens. An important expounder of theology, Metropolitan Chrysostomos worked as a preacher in various metropolises until 1907 at which time he was consecrated Bishop of Dimitrias (Magnesia). In May 1935, he declared the Church of Greece to be schismatic and led the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece. For this reason, some days afterwards he was deposed and exiled to the island of Amorgos. In 1938, he was put on trial by the New Calendar Church for “usurpation of authority” but was found not guilty. In 1943, he disagreed with the former Metropolitan of Florina, Chrysostomos, and one year afterwards almost died. Opinions are differing concerning the end of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Dimitrias. Some say that before his death he repented before the New Calendar Church for which he was buried at the cathedral of Athens with hierarchical honors. Others deny this assertion and say that the New Calendarists propagated this rumor that he had returned to them so that they might discourage the faithful of the G.O.C. For this reason, they performed his funeral as if he were a canonical bishop of their hierarchy.
Bishop Germanos (Varikopoulos) of the Cyclades
Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades was born in Piraeus in 1864. He took a degree in theology from the University of Athens and was made a professor of the university. He was ordained deacon and priest by Metropolitan Theoklitos (Minopoulos) of Athens and served in the temples of Piraeus. He was distinguished by his morality and spirituality so much so as to become the confessor of Queen Olga. In 1909, he was appointed as the hieratical director in Marseilles. The change of the calendar found him as the vicar of the holy temple of Saint Alexandros, Paleo Faliro, Piraeus. The words he said when the calendar was changed are still remembered. At the end of the Divine Liturgy when the saints of the day are commemorated, the memorable Archimandrite shouted “…and of the saints of the last 13 days whose celebration, which as it is known, has been stopped!” He never dismayed not even for one moment to fight against the innovation of the Church. In 1935, he united with the hierarchs of the G.O.C. and was consecrated bishop. He was put in jail, exiled, and blamed many times for his Orthodox belief. During the divisions of the hierarchs of the G.O.C. he joined Bishop Matthaios of Vresthena. When he understood the uncanonical views of Matthaios’ advisers he distinguished his position by not taking part in the consecrations and by returning to the canonical church of the G.O.C. under the presidency of Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly of Florina. During hounding by Archbishop Spyridon (Vlahos), he was hidden in the houses of the faithful. There, on March 24, 1951, he suffered a stroke and was transferred to the hospital where he died. He was buried by the faithful without a priest by order of the New Calendar Archbishop. The memorable Bishop Germanos was the most loved bishop of the Synod of the G.O.C. From amongst all the hierarchs of his day he ordained the most clergy.
Archimandrite Ilarion (Ouzounis [Ouzounopoulos])
The blessed Father Ilarion (Ouzounis) was born in Chalkidiki in 1890. His civil name was Ioannis, and he was the first born child of ten children from his parents Nikolaos and Maria. At the age of 20 he left his country and went to Mount Athos to avoid joining the Turkish army (at the time, that area was under Ottoman occupation) and be found fighting his co-religionists and fellow countrymen. On Mount Athos he joined the Lavrian kellion of Saints Constantine and Helen. In 1922, he was ordained to the diaconate and in 1925 to the priesthood. With the change of the calendar he joined the “Holy Association of Mount Athos Zealot Fathers” and after awhile he left Mount Athos having been invited by the G.O.C. to serve the needs of the people. He served in many regions all over Greece. He was condemned, imprisoned, and exiled many times for his persistence in patristic piety. He founded the Holy Monastery of Sikanimo, Oropos, Attica in 1939. He died on September 21, 1960.
Archbishop Akakios (Papas) of the G.O.C. of Athens and All Greece
The blessed Archbishop and primate of the G.O.C., Akakios (Papas)—in the world, Athanasios—was born in Desfina Parnassis in 1888. He left the secular life in 1904 and went to Mount Athos where he become a monk at the skete of Iviron. In 1914, he was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Timotheos of Gaggron; in 1914 also he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Paisios of Nissis; and in 1920 he became Protos (an archpriest). After the change of the calendar, he was invited by the community of the G.O.C. to serve the faithful. In 1936, he was elevated to archimandrite by Bishop Christophoros of Megara. He was exiled two times for his persistence in the patristic calendar, in 1932 and in 1951. In 1939, he founded the Holy Monastery of Saint Nikolaos, Peanias, Attica. After the death of Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Kavouridis), formerly of Florina, he took over the presidency of the Directorial Committee of the G.O.C. In December 1960, he was consecrated Bishop of Talantion in the United States by bishops of the Russian Church Abroad; and in June 1962, together with the Russian Bishop Leonty of Chile, he consecrated bishops, thus creating the Holy Synod of the G.O.C. of Greece. His main interest was in writing books and serving the Divine Liturgies. He died in December, 1963.
Archimandrite Iakovos (Papadelis)
Archimandrite Iakovos—in the world, Alexandros Papadelis—was born in 1920 in Mitilini. Ever since his childhood he had divine zeal, so he happened to be under the protection of Metropolitan Kyrillos. He served honorably in the army and was promoted to the rank of captain for his services. When he was discharged from the army he went to Mount Athos; and in 1949 he became Protos of the Holy Monastery of Grigoriou, changing his name to Haralambos. After some years, he went to live in Jerusalem. In 1959, he was ordained to the diaconate and took the name Iakovos; then, after some days, he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1962, for reasons of faith, he left Jerusalem and joined the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece in which he was elevated to archimandrite and spiritual father by Archbishop Akakios. He was a creative cleric: wherever he served, he left a legacy of significant accomplishments. He renovated and built many new temples. His main works are the Holy Temple of Saint Irini Chrisovalantou in Thessalonica, as well as the Holy Monastery of Pantanassas and the Holy Temple of Saint Fanourios in Serres. He died on July 27, 1990 during the celebration of Saint Irini Chrisovalantou.
Archbishop Auxentios (Pastras) of the G.O.C. of Athens and All Greece
The blessed Archbishop and primate of the G.O.C., Auxentios —in the world Konstantinos— Pastras, was the most suffering of the clerics of the G.O.C. during modern history: attacked from outside and inside by enemies of the Church. He was born in 1912 in Agios Theodoros, Magnisia, and at a young age became a monk at the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration, Kouvara, Attica. In 1938 he was ordained to the diaconate and to the priesthood by Bishop Matthaios of Vresthena. Because of the uncanonical consecrations of bishops in 1949, he left the party of Bishop Matthaios and joined Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly of Florina. He served as an ecclesiastical agent in many sub-departments of Greece and abroad. In 1962, he was consecrated Bishop of Gardikion by Archbishop Leonty of the Russian Church Abroad and Bishop Akakios of Talantion. In 1962, he succeeded the deceased Archbishop Akakios (Papas). He founded the Holy Monasteries of Saint John the Theologian in Petroupoli, Attica, and the Ascension of Christ in Kapandriti, Attica. During his Primacy, the Church of the G.O.C. received many benevolent decisions from the state. In 1985, members of the Synod deposed him, seduced by his malevolent enemies. He died in the Lord on November 4 (O.S.), 1994. The Sacred Synod reexamined the decision of his deposition in 1997, and restored him after declaring a mistrial.
Metropolitan Gerontios (Mariolis) of Piraeus and Salamina
The blessed Metropolitan Gerontios—known in the world as Georgios Mariolis—was born in Piraeus in 1921. In 1936, because of his love of the monastic life, he left without his parents’ knowledge and went to Mount Athos, submitting himself at the Honorable Forerunner’s Skete of Saint Anna. After eight months, he was arrested by the police because he was under age and was escorted back to his home in Piraeus. His parents tried everything to convince him to forget the idea of the monastic life, but young Georgios secretly ran away again and went back to Mount Athos. Because he did not have any money for the trip (around 700 km) he made it on foot, walking for a month. Again he was arrested by the police and brought back to Piraeus. Since he was not yet clothed in the monastic schema he served his military service; and in 1942 was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Germanos (Varikopoulos) of the Cyclades and renamed Grigorios. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1943 and received the name Gerontios. He served in many temples in Greece, and in 1945 he was elevated to confessor and archimandrite by Bishop Germanos (Varikopoulos). In 1948, he received the Great Angelic Schema. The same year he was stripped of his rasson and again called back to the army for post training. In 1950, he founded the Holy Monastery of Saint Athanasios the Athonite in Megara, Attica. In 1962, he was consecrated Bishop of Salamina by Archbishop Akakios and his Synod. In 1972, he became Metropolitan of Piraeus and Salamina. He died on November 13, 1994.
Archimandrite Amvrosios (Fontrie)
Archimandrite Amvrosios—in the world Achilles Fontrie—was of Greek-French origin and was born in Smyrna, Asia Minor, in 1917. With the occupation of Smyrna by the Turks he was forced to abandon his birthplace with his family as refugees and to reside in southern France. In 1942, he became a monk and was ordained to the diaconate and to the priesthood by Metropolitan Evlogy of the Russian Church Abroad. For many years he served his parish in Marseilles where he was elevated to archimandrite. His activity and spirituality distinguished him significantly as a missionary. He traveled all over France and organized Orthodox temples. Because he knew fluent Greek and French, he translated and published many holy patristic writings. Father Amvrosios and his company joined the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece around 1982. He died on January 1, 1992.
Bishop Kosmas (Lastoun), formerly of Soutsava
Bishop Kosmas (Lastoun) was born in 1930 in the village of Dornelor, Northern Romania. From his youth he was distinguished for his zeal and followed Saint Glikerios, founding the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour in Slatioara, Moldavia. In 1956, he was ordained to the priesthood and became Abbot of the Monastery. In 1977, he was consecrated bishop. From 1985 until 1989 he was put under suspension by the then communist regime of Romania. After the death of Saint Glikerios because of the loosening of the ecclesiastical positions of the Romanian hierarchy of the G.O.C., he broke communion with them and was confined to his birthplace where he founded a new monastery and sought to join the Orthodox Church outside of Romania. In 2000, after his petition to the Holy Synod of the Church of G.O.C. of Greece under the presidency of Metropolitan Kallinikos of Fthiotis, he was accepted by them as former Metropolitan because of his paralysis after a stroke. He died on February 17, 2001.