Presvytera Nikki Stephanopoulos, passed away at her home in Beachwood, Ohio on September 29, 2023 at the age of 90. Her husband, the Rev. Dr. Robert G. Stephanopoulos was by her side. Born in Minnesota, Presbytera Nikki was a public relations dynamo and a mentor to many women, and men, who served the Church alongside of her.
The daughter of Andrew and Margaret Chafos from Rochester, Minnesota, Presvytera Nikki graduated from Rochester High School and the University of Minnesota before moving to New York City with the Campus Crusade for Freedom. She met her future husband, Fr. Robert, a young seminarian, at a church youth convention, and they embarked on a shared journey of faith and family for more than sixty years.
The couple spent their first year in Athens, where Nikki edited the Athens Daily Post. They settled in their first parish -- Saint Demetrios in Fall River, MA, where their four children were born. After eight years at the Church of our Savior in Rye, New York, they moved to Saint Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Cleveland for eight years. During that time, Nikki edited The Voice (a Greek-American newspaper in Cleveland) and was the founding editor of The Illuminator, the newspaper of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In 1982, Father Stephanopoulos was appointed Dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City, and Nikki joined the Archdiocese. She was the editor of the Orthodox Observer and became Director of the Office of News and Information/Public Relations. During this time she also served as the Orthodox press liaison in the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches, and the press officer for the visits of Ecumenical Patriarchs Dimitrios and Bartholomew on their 1990 and 1997 visits respectively to the United States.
Presvytera Stephanopoulos is survived by Father Robert, their four children, Mother Agapia, George, Marguarite and Andrew, her daughter in law Alexandra Wentworth, and her granddaughters Elliott Anastasia and Harper Andrea Stephanopoulos. Sharing their lives was her joy.
Upon learning of the passing of Presvytera Nikki, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America expressed the sadness and the appreciation of the Archdiocese saying: “Presvytera Nikki was a pillar of our Archdiocese for decades, and her passing into eternal glory is as much a loss for us, as it is a gain for her. I extend the deepest condolences of the Holy Eparchial Synod and the entire Archdiocese to Father Robert, an exceptional clergyman of our Church, and to her children and grandchildren. We shall always treasure her manifold contributions to our Church and with a heavy yet grateful heart we pray, may her memory be eternal.”
Funeral services will be held at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3352 Mayfield Road, Cleveland Hts., OH on Monday, October 2, 2023 at 12 noon. A traditional Makaria luncheon will be offered at the Cathedral following the burial at Lakeview Cemetery. The family will receive visitors at the Cathedral on Monday, October 2 from 10:00 am – 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral Foundation.
Live streaming of the service will be available at https://www.youtube.com/stsconstantine
Photos: Stephanopoulos Family