BRIEF HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF THYATEIRA AND GREAT BRITAIN
The Sacred Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain was founded in 1922 in the wake of the painful for Hellenism, Disaster in Asia Minor. The city of Thyateira, after which the Archdiocese was named, was one of the seven Apostolic Churches, and up to its decadence and abandonment, it had been a prominent Metropolis of the Christian World. In 1922, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, following the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis, established the Metropolis of Central and Western Europe with its See in London, naming it ‘Metropolis of Thyateira and Great Britain’.
- Hierarchs of the Metropolis / Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.
2.1 Metropolitan Germanos Strinopoulos (1922-1951)
In the year 1922, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople elected His Eminence Metropolitan Germanos Strinopoulos as the first Hierarch of the newly-founded Metropolis of Thyateira, awarding him the title of the Metropolitan of Thyateira and Great Britain. His long term in office (1922-1951) on the Metropolitan Throne of His Eminence Germanos was blessed with the founding of a large number of Greek-Orthodox Communities both in Great Britain as well as in the other countries in Western and Central Europe under the See of the Metropolis of Thyateira and Great Britain.
2.2. Archbishop Athenagoras Kavvadas (1951-1962)
The second in turn Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, Archbishop Athenagoras Kavvadas, continued the pastoral and spiritual work of his predecessor, further contributing to the shaping of the historical, social and theological Greek-Orthodox presence in Great Britain and the rest of Western Europe.
2.3 Archbishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis (1964-1979)
Under the term of office of the third in line Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Athenagoras Kokkinakis, the development of the Archdiocese was impressive, despite the fact that the pastoral jurisdiction of the Archdiocese was restricted due to the loss of the Scandinavian Eparchies and of Iceland, as a result of the establishment by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Metropolises of France, Germany and Austria. The modernisation and the development of the Archdiocese included a series of reforms concerning the relationship of the Archdiocese to the other institutions of the Greek and Cypriot Diaspora in Great Britain, namely the organization of the educational projects of its Communities, the publication of journals (Orthodox Herald, the official pastoral publication), the election of new, efficient Bishops and the successful handling of the ‘deluge’ of refugees as a result of the invasion of the Turkish Army in Cyprus in 1974.
2.4 Archbishop Methodios Fougias (1979-1988)
The Metropolitan of Axomi (Ethiopia) Methodios Fougias succeeded Archbishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis following his death in 1979 and continued his predecessor’s project with great success. He was revoked by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in April 1988 and was given the title of Metropolitan of Pisidia. He died in Athens in 2006.
2.5 Archbishop Gregorios Theocharous (1988-2019)
In April 1988, the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected Bishop of Tropaiou Gregorios Theocharous as the new Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. Being well-informed in the affairs and realities of the Greek-Orthodox Diaspora due to his former service in Great Britain as Deacon, Priest, Archmandrite and Bishop, and armed with an enviable zeal for reform, the new Archbishop drastically transformed the Archdiocese, the Communities and its Schools. His pastoral service (31 years as Archbishop) is considered as particularly successful, both in terms of organization and ecclesiastically.
For reasons of prolonged age and fragile health, Archbishop Gregorios was succeeded by the present Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain.
2.6 Archbishop Nikitas Lioulias (2019-)
Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Nikitas Lioulias was elected by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, following the recommendation of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Barthoplomew. His enthronement took place in the Cathedral of the Divine Wisdom in London on July 27, 2019. His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas was borne in Florida, United States of America in 1955 and studied at the University of Florida from which he graduated in 1976 with a Degree in Religious Studies. He continued his studies at the Theological School of Holy Cross, Boston (1981) and completed his post-graduate studies at the Theological School of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki. After his brief service as secretary of MP Michael Billirakis in Washington DC (1982-1984), he was ordained Deacon (1985) by the late Archbishop of North and South America Iacovos and Presbyter later in the same year. He served at the parish of St Constantine and Helen (Merriville, IN) and in 1987 in the Bishopric of Chicago as its Secretary. As an Archmandrite, he took up the office of the Chancellor of the Bishopric of Chicago. Studying History and Russian in St Petersburg, he concurrently demonstrated an active involvement in issues regarding youth, which was associated with prominent and pastoral work. At the same time, he taught selected lessons in Orthodox Faith at Loyola University of Chicago. On December 2, 1996 he was elected Metropolitan of Hong Kong, being enthroned at the Cathedral of St Luke in Hong Kong on January 12, 1997. He thus became the first Metropolitan of the newly founded Metropolis of Hong Kong. Following a decade of service in the above Metropolis and leaving behind a multifarious and quite remarkable precedent there, he was transferred to the Metropolis of Dardanelles (2007), assuming the duties of the Director of the Patriarchal Orthodox Institute ‘Patriarch Athenagoras’ in Berkeley, United States of America.
- The diachronic project of the Archdiocese.
The Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain has diachronically demonstrated quite remarkable results in every sector of its activity and more specifically, in education, in charitable work, in social intervention, in the concern and embracement of the Greek-Orthodox Youth, and in many other areas. The population increase of the Greek and Cypriot Diaspora created the need to establish new communities, which in turn, founded schools for the educational needs of the school-going youth of the Diaspora. To secure support for this titanic project, the Archdiocese was at the forefront of organizing educational institutions, such as the Central Educational Council (K.E.S.) and the Unified Coordinator of the Greek Diasporic Education (E.F.E.P.E) which coordinate the Greek-Orthodox educational youth project in the Schools under the auspices of the Archdiocese as well as those of other related institutions. In addition, the educational contribution of the Archdiocese is completed via the entertainment and cultural input towards the Greek-Orthodox Youth. The establishment of the Pan-communal Youth Congress, the establishment of Youth Summer Camps in the privately-owned land of the Church in Stetton (Shropshire) and in Donhead St. Mary in Willshire, vividly demonstrate the motherly interest and concern of the Archdiocese for the young people of the Diaspora and the hope for the cultivation of its future dignitaries, worthy successors of the remarkable work of their predecessors.
Finally, the philanthropic and social involvement of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain has been varied and is handled by the assigned Priests and the local Auxiliary Ladies’ Associations. Visits to hospitals, prisons, people in need, as well as the organisation of charity projects comprise integral elements of the social solidarity shown by the Archdiocese.