Born: January 19, 1922
Died: December 16, 2011
Reverend Theophilos Theophilopoulos was born in Montreal Canada on January 19, 1922. He was the first born son of Panayiotis and Panayiota Theophilos, from the village of Longaniko, Greece, near Sparta. Father Theophilos Theophilopoulos graduated from Baron Byng High School in 1938 at the age of 16. He had three brothers Paul, Steve, and Christo who was my father.
Schoolmates of his still remember his early calling to the priesthood from an early age when he would stage liturgies and play at giving communion during recess.
He entered brand new Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology then located in Pomfret Ct. At 17 he was the youngest student to enroll and graduate from there. Conditions at the Theological school at that time were quite primitive. Father Theophilopoulos was in charge of the infirmary due to his background in first aid with the Boy Scouts of Canada.
At the school, they not only learned theology, but also had classes on social graces, and humility. Father Theophilopoulos graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1943.
His first assignment after he graduated was as a lay assistant and youth coordinator at Saint Spyridon Church in the Washington Heights district of New York City. There he met the love of his life and soul mate Zoe Geotas. His future wife who was at that time very involved in the youth activities of the parish.
They later married in a ceremony involving the entire parish and over 20 clergymen, on Septemeber 24th 1944. Father is ordained a Deacon at Holy Trinity Church. Father Theophilopoulos home parish in Montreal, Quebec. By the late Patriarch, Athenagoras, who at that time was the Archbishop of North and South America. My father Father Theophilopoulos younger brother was the Archbishop Athenagoras favorite altar-boy. Father Theophilopoulos served at St. Spyridon Church in NY for the next five years. Their first two children, Panagiota (Peggy) and Panagioti (Peter) were born in New York City during that time.
In 1949 Father transferred to Saint Haralambos in Canton, Ohio. He was the parish priest that served there for 8 years. His last 2 children, Ioanna and Constantine were born in this community. While living in Canton Ohio Father Theophilopoulos took post-graduate studies in history, at Kent State University. In 1951 he was elevated to the rank of Father Confessor, and in 1954 became an Economos.
Father Theophilos Heading Home
Eventually, In 1957 he returned to his home parish of Holy Trinity, in Montreal, Quebec. I remember when I was very young my cousin and I on a family Easter get together at my grandparent’s home. Which was located on top of my father’s restaurant we decided to find out who could throw our painted red Easter eggs over the roof. We both were pleased by our great ability to accomplish this feat.
A short time later, my Uncle, this compassionate man came to ask us. If we knew anything about red easter eggs that were thrown over the roof. The eggs had barely miss hitting walking pedestrians that had been passing by on Jean Talon Street in front of my father’s restaurant. He looked at my cousin, his son and me with a questioning glance as we both stated that we had no idea of the situation.
My dear uncle just looked down at us with a smile and asked us to please let him know if we found out if anyone did it. We both agreed eagerly as my uncle turn and headed to the police officer at the front door to assure him that it would not happen again.
My cousin and I surprised at how easily we got away with our stupid stunt. If we had only realized how close it really was that we might have felt the wrath of God.
Reverend Theophilos became the organizer and the president of the Eastern Orthodox Clergymen’s Association in the Greater Montreal area. Reverend Theophilos Theophilopoulos also served as a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Bible Society of Montreal. He also was a National Chairman and Commissioner of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Boy Scouts Association of Canada. He made monthly trips to serve the parishes of Burlington, VT, and Plattsburgh, NY, where he would be accompanied by his own personal choir of Father Theophilopoulos consisting of his wife and their three older children.
California, Here I Come
In 1966 Father Theophilopoulos appointed to Dean of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, California. Father Theophilos was for the next five years. While there he organized the Southern California Council of Orthodox Clergy, which brought together all Orthodox clergymen in the area. He was Vicar General for the Southern California parishes. Father Theophilos worked with the Guadalupe Homes for Children (now called Trinity Homes) and was one of the first directors.
He also served several years as the Secretary of the Board.
In 1971 Father Theophilos became Dean of Annunciation Cathedral in San Francisco. He established the first Greek Orthodox Youth Camp in Yosemite National Park. In 1973 he established the first Greek Orthodox Boy Scout Troop at the Cathedral. He was Archdiocesan Vicar of the Diocese of San Francisco until his retirement in 1987. He also served the community via his weekly radio broadcasts.
Reverend Father moved to Palm Desert in 1987 and while there helped establish the parish of Saint George Orthodox Church, where he served until 1990.
In 1993 Father was called to fill a temporary vacancy at the Sts. Constantine and Helen Orthodox Church in Vallejo California. Staying there for 3 years.
Reverend Father Theophilopoulos had his home in Palm Desert and assisted at Saint George. He also served at neighboring parishes whenever the need arouses. In addition, Father Theophilopouls devoted his life to the church and had always tried to focus on encouraging the youth and led by example.