MT. PROSPECT, Ill. – Fr. Manousos Emmanuel Lionikis, 96, a retired priest, who was among the first graduates of Holy Cross Theological School when it was located in Pomfret, Conn. died June 24. Fr. Lionikis battled cancer for 55 years and survived six cancer surgeries.
He was born Jan. 15, 1920, in New Brunswick, N.J., the son of Emmanuel and Audrey Lionikis. At the age of eight, he began serving the Church as an Acolyte. Archbishop Athenagoras tonsured him and elevated him to the rank of Reader. He enrolled at Holy Cross in 1938 and graduated in 1944. He also attended Seabury-Weston Theological School, receiving a Masters in Sacred Theology degree.
While at Holy Cross, he managed the print shop were many Greek-language materials were printed for the Archdiocese. He continued to create and print religious materials for 40 years, including a wedding service book, consecration vespers book and a bilingual version of the Divine Liturgy. He also edited and printed a Greek Orthodox religious calendar.
He married Katherine Spyropoulou Jan. 17, 1920. She preceded him in death on Oct. 10, 2014, at age 95. He was ordained a deacon on April 1, 1945, at St. George Church in New Brunswick by Bishop Germanos Polizoides, and a priest April 15 at Assumption in Chicago by Bishop Gerasimos of Chicago. He served the parishes of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Cheyenne, Wyo., St. Demetrios in Waukegon (now Libertyville), Ill., All Saints in Joliet, Ill., Sts. Constantine and Helen in Gary, Ind., and St. John in Des Plaines, Ill. In addition to his regular parish duties, Fr. Lionikis ministered to military personnel at Fort Warren army base and held prayer services at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago.
Because of his own medical history, he regularly ministered to and counseled cancer patients throughout the Chicago area. He was an early advocate for medical insurance for the clergy and headed the Chicago Diocese Medical and Hospitalization program for many years. It was incorporated into the national Archdiocese plan. He also served on various Diocesan councils and committees and undertook the building program for a new sanctuary at the Des Plaines parish. He retired June 1, 1996, but continued to serve as priest emeritus there and was active until very recently.
Survivors include children Emmanuel, Neoptolemos, Demetrios and Paul Lionikis; grandchildren Manousos, Katina Perkins, Demetri Michael, Andrew, Aleko and Flora; great-grandchildren Elias and Gus Perkins; a brother, George of New Jersey and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services took place June 28, at St. John the Baptist Church in Des Plaines, with Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, parish priests Fr. John Rallis and Fr. Athanasios Papathanasis and more than 20 clergy from nearby parishes.