New York, NY - His Eminence Metropolitan Silas, former Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of New Jersey, died of a heart attack December 12th, following surgery for a broken hip suffered during a fall in his home in Scarsdale, NY, December 11th.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, announced the passing of Metropolitan Silas during a Memorial Service in St. Pauls Chapel of the Archdiocese at 9:30 a.m. this morning. Recalling that His Eminence had served the Archdiocese for 35 years and was a beloved figure to the assembled staff members, Archbishop Demetrios prayed that he be remembered as one of them:
As a priest, and especially as a hierarch, said Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Silas was distinguished for his ecclesiastical ethos, his work ethic, his adherence to the fundamentals of liturgical life, his rich knowledge of theology, his commitment to the Orthodox Faith and the traditions of his Hellenic Heritage.
He was the first Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey, which he served with utmost love and commitment, leaving a shining legacy as a pious hierarch. Beloved by thousands of Orthodox faithful, he will be remembered with everlasting gratitude as a model of benevolence, kindness and reconciliation.
Metropolitan Silas was elected Bishop of New Jersey by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 15th, 1979, and was enthroned April 5th, 1979, at St. John the Theologian Cathedral in Tenafly, NJ. He was elevated to Titular Metropolitan of New Jersey on Jan. 24th, 1980, by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate and on October 15,1996 was elevated to the rank of full Metropolitan of Saranta Ecclesies, an ancient See in eastern Thrace. He was formerly Titular Bishop of Amphipolis, first Auxiliary Bishop to Former Archbishop of America Iakovos.
Born Savas Koskinas on December 27th, 1919 on the Greek Island of Corfu, he graduated from the University of Athens Theological School in 1943, receiving a degree in Orthodox Theology. He was ordained a Deacon in 1941 and a Priest in 1943, later serving as a Chaplain in the Greek Army.
He arrived in the United States in 1946 and served several parishes including St. George Church, Albuquerque, NM; St. Sophia Church, New London, CT; St. John the Baptist Church; Boston, MA and was Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA. While in Boston, he taught at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline, MA) from 1951-57. He also attended Boston University School of Theology and received a masters degree in Sacred Theology in 1957.
Following his consecration as Titular Bishop of Amphipolis on October 9th, 1960, he was assigned to the newly created Diocese of the Eighth Archdiocesan District with his Episcopal See in New Orleans, LA. In November 1965, Archbishop Iakovos named Bishop Silas to serve the First Archdiocesan District at Archdiocesan headquarters in New York City.
In 1987, he was named president of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, a position he held until 1989, while continuing to serve as Metropolitan of New Jersey. Metropolitan Silas served as chairman of the Archdiocesan Missions Program; was a member of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and traveled to Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Hungary with an interfaith delegation. He also served as chairman of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Theological Dialogue and as vice president of Religion in American Life. (RIAL) He was honored by National Conference of Christians and Jews, which awarded him its Gold Medallion for courageous leadership in intercreedal relations.
Metropolitan Silas is survived by his brother and sister-in-law Demetrios and Claire Koskinas, with whom he lived, their daughter Melina and her husband Quint Barker and, in Greece, a brother Anastasios, sister Spyridoula, a nephew and three nieces.
Funeral services will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Theologian, Tenafly, NJ, on Saturday, Dec. 16th at 11:00 a.m. following a Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m. Interment will be at Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, Brookline, MA, at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 18th. Metropolitan Silas will lie in state at the Cathedral of St. John, Thursday evening, Dec. 14th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and all day Friday, Dec. 15th, and Sunday evening, Dec. 17th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Holy Cross Chapel, Brookline, MA.