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In Memoriam: Fr. Eusebius A. Stephanou

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. – The Very Rev. Archimandrite Eusebius A. Stephanou, 91, who was a student at Holy Cross Seminary in Pomfret, Conn., beginning in 1942, and who served as professor at Holy Cross in Brookline in the 1950s and at many parishes, died May 23. Born Agamemnon Papastephanou in Fond du Lac, Wis., June 15, 1924, to Fr. Alexander and Marika Papastephanou, he lived as a child in Detroit, Michigan and Lorain, Ohio where his father served as priest in the local Greek Orthodox churches.

In 1942, Stephanou entered Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, then located in Pomfret Center, Conn. Holy Cross relocated to Brookline, Massachusetts in 1946, Stephanou’s senior year. In 1950 he was tonsured a monk in Cleveland, receiving the name Eusebius. At this time he also shortened his name from “Papastephanou” to Stephanou. On September 17, 1950 Stephanou was ordained a Deacon at St. Constantine & Helen Church in Detroit.

In 1951, he travelled to Greece to study at the University of Athens. On Feb. 10, 1953 Stephanou was ordained to the holy priesthood in his father’s hometown of Philiatra, Greece. He served as a professor at Holy Cross from 1955-59,and again in 1962. He served parishes in Caracas, Venezuela, St. Haralambos, Canton, Ohio; Annunciation in Woburn, Mass., Sts. Constantine and Helen in Chicago (now Palos Hills, Ill.), Holy Trinity in Fort Wayne, Ind. And Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Uniontown, Pa. He also published a periodical, “The Logos,” beginning in 1968 dedicated to Orthodox Christian spiritual awakening. Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta issued the following statement upon the death of Fr. Stephanou.

Our beloved Fr. Eusebius leaves behind a beautiful legacy not only in the hearts of his family and friends, but also in our Orthodox Church, and will be deeply missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. Fr. Eusebius was someone who lived his life with the love of Christ in his heart, and left the world a better place by having been with us. He served as a priest, faithfully and well, with all his heart, soul, strength and mind for over sixty years. I am sure that all those who came to know him, whether in person, or through his vital theological writings, feel the loss of their spiritual father deeply.

Father Eusebius’ legacy will be a lasting one, even to those who never met him, because of the zealous love with which he pursued thinking and discussing the future of Orthodox Christianity in these United States of America. A great many of us will forever be indebted to this man, who, despite his many trials, never stopped working in the Vineyard of the Lord, out of his great love for the Church, and for the Body of Christ. I remain grateful to God that He saw fit to give Fr. Eusebius to His servants for nearly ninety-two years.

Particularly as we continue to celebrate this Paschal season, I find it fitting that Fr. Eusebius was able to witness our Lord’s Resurrection one final time, before departing to the place where, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; for the old order of things has passed away...” (Rev. 21:4). May the Lord our God Who in His “inexpressible wisdom created man out of the earth, giving him form and adorning him with beauty,” give rest to the soul of His departed servant, the Priest Eusebius, in “the company of the righteous,” letting him be forgiven, both, “in the present age and in the age to come.” May his memory be eternal!

In his later years he was abbott at a monastery in Destin, Fla. Funeral services took place May 27 at Sts. Markella and Demetrios Church in Mary Esther, Fla.