His Eminence, Archibishop Demetrios, Geron of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, will be coming to UMSL to deliver the annual Diane Touliatos Lecture in Greek Historical Studies. Archibishop Demetrios will speak on:
“Greek Language: A Catalyst for Cultures?”
The lecture will be held at 7 pm at Century Rooms A and B, Millennium Student Center. Pre-lecture reception at 6.30 pm.
Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America was born Demetrios Trakatellis in Thessaloniki, Greece on February 1, 1928. In 1950 he graduated with distinction from the University of Athens School of Theology. In 1960 he was ordained a deacon, and in 1964 a priest.
He was elected Bishop of Vresthena in 1967, an auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Athens with the primary responsibility for the theological education of the clergy. From 1965 to 1971, on scholarship from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, he studied New Testament and Christian Origins and was awarded a Ph.D. “with distinction” in 1972. After receiving this degree, he returned to his ecclesiastical position in the Archdiocese of Athens and undertook responsibilities for the theological education of the clergy, ministry among the youth, and other duties related to theological conferences in Greece and abroad.
In 1968, he was elected Metropolitan of Attika and Megaris, but he did not accept the post for reasons related to the canonical order of the Church and to the political conditions in Greece at that time.
Later, in 1977, he earned a second doctorate, namely a Th.D. in Theology from the University of Athens “with distinction.” From 1983 to 1993, he served as the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. Serving as a faculty member for more than a decade, he taught many of America’s Greek Orthodox clergy. He also taught at Harvard Divinity School as Visiting Professor of New Testament during the academic years of 1984 to 1985 and from 1988 to 1989. On August 20, 1991 the Sacred Synod of the Church of Greece elevated the then Bishop Demetrios of Vresthena to a Titular Metropolitan of Vresthena with the simultaneous elevation of the Diocese of Vresthena to the rank of the Metropolis. After several years in the United States, he returned to Greece in 1993 to pursue full-time scholarly writing and research. At the same time, he resumed his responsibilities at the Archdiocese of Athens.
Elected Archbishop of America on August 19, 1999 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop Demetrios was enthroned on September 18, 1999 at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City. He leads a church of more than one and a half million Greek Orthodox Christians in the United States.