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.

Archbishop Spyridon Issues Statement on Hostilities in Kosovo, Calls for Release of American Servicemen

The continuing loss of life and the human tragedy that is unfolding in Kosovo should give every human person even greater will to pray for peace. As we are now in the midst of the Orthodox...

Archbishop Spyridon Addresses Council

I greet each and every one of you with a single word of hope and encouragement as we commence our deliberations. It is the salutation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Ever-Virgin Mary that we shall...

Press Conference Statement of His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon

I am very proud to announce that for the third straight year, a new high was set in revenues received in support of the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

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His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon's Paschal Encyclical

To the Reverend Clergy, Parish Council Presidents and Council Members of the Greek Orthodox Communities, all Monks and Nuns, the Philoptochos Societies and Youth Organizations and all the Pious Faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Beloved and Pious Greek Orthodox People of the Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of America,

It is with deep love that I extend to you all the joyous salutation of this brilliant Day, the Feast of Feasts and Queen of Festivals,

Christ is Risen!

I rejoice with you in our solemn observance of Pascha and I pray with all my heart that the blessing of our Risen Lord may go with you on life's pilgrimage, inspiring all of your hopes and righteous pursuits.

We call this a brilliant, radiant Day, because it spreads light from within, shedding a light which is unwaning, uncreated and unquenchable: the Light of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator and Redeemer of the world. As today's Gospel announces to us, Christ is the true Light that enlightens every person coming into the world. He is the Light Who shines in the midst of the darkness and the darkness can never overcome it. He is the Light Who bestows life, true life, immortal life, eternal life. Whosoever receives this light receives the possibility to become a child of God, to see His glory and to taste the power of His grace, indeed, to become God-like. The Resurrection of Christ is the seal of His entire saving dispensation, which, by His love and mercy, the Only-begotten Son of God accomplished in the midst of our weary world. He began His work by assuming in His own person our created nature. He went on to live a holy life, which by words and deeds reveals the true virtues which are able to bring us again into that Paradise which was lost. He consummated this work by His redemptive sacrifice and His immaculate passion, through which He bestowed upon all men the forgiveness of their sins and the restoration of their original fellowship with God.

All of these Mysteries were revealed to us by our Holy Church in a liturgical and sacramental way during the period of Great Lent which reached its culmination today in the most glorious Resurrection of the Lord. The Church prepared us in a special way during this past Holy Week to encounter and perceive the glory of the Risen Lord. She presented to us in a specific order the manifold and sublime mystery of His Person by a succession of changing images: the Bridegroom, the Master Who washes the feet of His disciples, the Great High Priest Who initiates His followers to become partakers of His Mystical Supper, and finally the spotless Lamb Who opened not His mouth as He was willingly slaughtered for the salvation of His disciples and the life of the whole world.

It is precisely the indissoluble chain of these sacred images of our Lord, which constitutes the principle and message of this Brilliant Day of the Resurrection. The Christ Who is Risen is the same Christ Who was humbled, crucified and sacrificed, because He lived a life of righteousness and truth. As the Apostle Paul says, He who ascended to the Heavens is He who descended into the depths of the earth. Our life and our journey has the same rhythm. Christ is our forerunner and pioneer, our teacher, and the guarantor of our salvation.

The witness of the Holy Apostles and the first Christians, and of all the confessors and martyrs of every age (many of whom shed their blood for Christ) confirms the miracle of salvation and invites us to enroll as decisively as possible in the Royal Priesthood and Holy Nation which was brought to the light of existence by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Pascha of the Lord comprises a true struggle, sacrifice and resurrection. That is why our festivities must be a true participation in all of these, as St. Gregory the Theologian expresses it: "we sorely needed a God enfleshed and entombed that we might live!"

Let us not, therefore, spare any labor, or hardship, any pains, or grief, or infirmity -- no matter how burdensome, no matter how difficult, even to the brink of death -- because none of these can alter the course of Life nor reverse the absolute abolition of death. The Light of the Resurrection shines on in the darkness and can never be conquered! The divine-human paradox which is offered to us today by Christ, who fashioned the miracle of His own resurrection, will never be unraveled. We must not let any disappointment of other obstacle overtake us. We must go forward to build an unshakable foundation in the Lord. We can and we must always exclaim with the Church of our Fathers:

Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and to those in the tombs bestowing life! With Resurrectional blessings and boundless love in the Risen Christ

+Spyridon
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America