Archbishop Spyridon

His Eminence was elected as Archbishop of America on July 30th, 1996 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, presided over by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. 

The Enthronement Ceremonies were attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Ioakeim, senior member of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, bishops and priests from throughout the Archdiocese, Orthodox hierarchs representing several jurisdictions, Catholic and Protestant clergy, members of the U.S. Congress and House of Representatives, and members of the diplomatic corps, among others.
Soon after assuming office His Eminence was appointed by Secretary of State Warren Christopher as one of 20 members of a Special Advisory Committee to the Secretary of State on Religious Freedom Abroad. He has also been invited to participate in The President's Summit for America's Future as one of 10 co-chairs and is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Archbishop Spyridon, the son of Clara and the late Dr. Constantine P. George, was born George C. P. George in Warren, Ohio on September 24, 1944. His father, a native of the Island of Rhodes (Greece) practiced medicine in Houston, TX, Tarpon Springs, FL and later, Warren, Steubenville and Mingo Junction, OH before moving back to Rhodes when George was nine years old. The Archbishop returned to the United States when he was 15 years old and lived for two years in Tarpon Springs, FL, the birthplace of his mother. He completed high school there, graduating in 1962.

He returned to Greece after high school to prepare for the priesthood and soon thereafter enrolled at the famed Theological School of Halki (Turkey) from 1962-66, where he graduated with honors. He subsequently pursued graduate studies in Switzerland (1967-68) specializing in the history of Protestant Churches. Awarded a scholarship from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he then studied Ecumenical Theology and Byzantine Literature at Bochum University in Germany (1969-73). Fluent in Greek, English, French, Italian and German, he is also extremely computer literate.

His Eminence served as secretary at the Permanent Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches (Geneva, 1966-67), and later as Secretary of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at Chambesy (Geneva), as well as editor of its newsletter, EPISKEPSIS (1973-76).

Ordained a deacon on November 30, 1968, and taking the ecclesiastical name Spyridon, he was ordained to the priesthood on February 1, 1976, and assigned to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint 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 Roman Catholic Churches.

In recognition of his manifold services, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected him as Titular Bishop of Apameia on November 5, 1985. He was ordained as bishop at the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George on November 24 of the same year and assigned 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 Archdiocese of Italy and Exarchate of Southern Europe, the Holy Synod elected Spyridon as the first Metropolitan for the newly created Archdiocesan See. During the course of four years as Metropolitan of Italy, he created various auxiliary departments, increased the number of parishes and provided them with a more sound structure.

His Eminence made a significant contribution to the cause of Orthodox unity by incorporating various Italian Orthodox communities, giving particular attention to the youth by creating the Union of Greek Orthodox Students of Italy. Following a lapse of many centuries, he reintroduced Orthodox monasticism in Italy.

In 1992 he was appointed chairman of the Inter-Orthodox Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation, immediately giving renewed impetus to the dialogue with this preeminent Protestant body.

He has also represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate in various inter-Church missions and international meetings. His address to the Special Synod of the Roman Catholic Bishops in Europe (Rome, 1991) was of particular importance as he clearly identified the developments that were to follow in the relations between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

The first official pastoral visit of His Eminence was an emotional return to the city of his birth, Warren, OH, and Steubenville where he lived until the age of nine. Archbishop Spyridon, commenting on his visits to communities throughout the Archdiocese, has said that: "One of the greatest joys of being Archbishop is to visit the parishes . . . it gives me an opportunity to know the faithful and be a part of their community. A community in which clergy and laity, young and old, men and women, work together for the glory of God's name."

His has underaken  numerous initiatives in areas of adult religious education, inter-faith marriage and an expanded Internet presence for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and its Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the Fall of 1997, His Eminence hosted the Ecumenical Patriarch on his first official U.S. visit, which was a coast-to-coast visit spanning one month.
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Εκδότης Αντικειμένων

Pascha 1999

To the Reverend Clergy, the Monks and Nuns, the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Greek Day and Afternoon Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Greek Organizations and Societies, the Youth, and all devout Christians of the Holy Archdiocese of America,

When they who were with Mary came, anticipating the dawn, and found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, they heard from the Angel: Why seek ye among the dead, as though He were mortal man, Him Who abideth in everlasting light? Behold the grave-clothes. Go quickly and proclaim to the world that the Lord is risen, and hath put death to death. For He is the Son of God, Who saveth the race of man (Hypakoë of the Sunday of Pascha).

Beloved Spiritual Children in Christ,

Christ is Risen!

At our midnight Paschal vigil we gather as one family seeking the dawning of a new day. We gather as friends and neighbors, as parishes and communities, as young men and women, as mature adults and children. We gather as beloved brothers and sisters, as the dear children of God. In the depths of the night we come together, as did the Myrrh-bearing women so many centuries ago. Together we seek the place where our Lord can be found. And like the Holy Myrrh-Bearers of old, we ask ourselves this question:

"Who will roll away the stone for us?"

The Lord Jesus Christ had no need for the stone to be rolled away from the mouth of His tomb. He Who controlled the wind and the waves (cf. Mark 4:37), He Who could enter the upper room of the disciples though the doors were shut (John 20:19), He Who could not be held even by the bonds of death (cf. Acts 2:24) He surely had no need for the stone to be removed.

Rather, the tomb lies open for our sake. The stone was rolled away so that we could enter the place where His Spotless Body was laid out, where we could enter and behold the vacant crypt and the folded grave-clothes. The door of the tomb was opened so that we could see for ourselves the Truth of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Even today, though we live in a time and place many miles and many centuries removed from that blessed Sunday morning so long ago we also desire to behold the evidence of our Saviour's triumph over death.

"Who will roll away the stone for us?"

We live in an age of cynicism and despair, an age in which the sway of philosophical and moral materialism has spread across the globe. We live in a time of deep uncertainty and insecurity, a time when the power of mass destruction rests in the hands of so many aggressors. We live in an era of spiritual apathy, when the traditional expressions of faith and piety are perceived as unhealthy and even dangerous, an era when humanity yearns to hear novel things from self-appointed teachers of so-called wisdom (cf. II Tim. 4:3, I Tim. 6:20). We live in a culture of death, a society in which abortion and euthanasia are dignified with the name of "rights" and those who oppose the taking of innocent lives are deemed intolerant and unjust. We live in an atmosphere of doubt and distrust, of self-love and self-interest.

"Who will roll away the stone for us?"

Who will show us the way to a higher life, the way to a transcendent mode of existence? Who will show us the triumph of love and life? Who will lead us in the way of true joy and lasting happiness? Who will display for us the tokens of the Resurrection, the incontrovertible proofs of the unconditional love of God, the unimpeachable evidence of eternal life, which will inspire us and embolden us to traverse the path of repentance, renunciation, and self-sacrifice.

&qout;Who will roll away the stone for us?&qout;

It was the holy angels, the messengers of the Lord's Resurrection, who removed the stone on that glorious Pascha morning so many years ago. We also have angels today, messengers of God who remove from our hearts the stones of doubt, of fear, and of egotism. These angels, together with the saints, open the way for our minds and spirits and bodies, so that we too may experience for ourselves the power and glory of the Resurrection. We have our beloved communities, the many people around us in the Church who, through loving relationships and the witness of their life proclaim the Resurrection, the new life in Christ our parents and priests, grandmothers and grandfathers, godparents and teachers, and the many other men and women who have shown the way of love and forgiveness.

Through their ministry to us, we enter into the place where the angels beckon. It is in the empty tomb, where our fears are allayed, our doubts are vanquished, our faith is strengthened, and our joy is fulfilled. Forgiven by Christ, we find the power to forgive. Loved by Christ, we find the power to love. For when the stone has been rolled away from our hearts, then we find the proof of Christ's Resurrection, in the life that He lives in us (cf. Gal. 2:20). Let us give thanks from hearts full of joy and gratitude, for all in the Church who have ministered to us faithfully in love. Let us give thanks for one another, embracing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, our immortal King and God.

"Christ is risen from the dead, by death destroying death; and to those in the tombs bestowing life!"

Truly the Lord is Risen!

With paternal blessings in Christ,


Archbishop of America