Gregorios (Theocharous) of Thyateira and Great Britain

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His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios (Theocharous) of Thyateira and Great Britain

His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios (Theocharous) of Thyateira and Great Britain is the current hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.

Life

He was born in the village of Marathovounos in the district of Famagusta, Cyprus, on 28 October 1928 (it is now under Turkish military occupation). He was the ninth and last child of the family of the builder Theocharis and his wife Maria Hadjitofi. At the age of three he was orphaned through his father's death. After completing his primary education at the village school, the eleven-year-old Gregorios became an apprentice as a shoemaker in his brother-in-law's shop, where he worked for the next eight years. On his 13th birthday (28 October 1941) he heard on the only radio of the village that Greece had joined the war by refusing to allow Axis troops to enter its territory. At the age of 20 he decided to attend a secondary school; he enrolled in 1949 at the Higher Commercial School of the town of Lefkoniko which, at that time, had only five classes. He was accepted in the second-year class.

In 1951 he transferred to the Pan-Cypriot Gymnasium, Nicosia, having become a rasophore, and he was later ordained deacon on the Sunday of Pentecost, 1953, at the Church of St. Sava in Nicosia by the late Archbishop Makarios the Third. He graduated from the Gymnasium in 1954 and went to Athens to study at the Theological School of the University. Before receiving his university degree in February 1959, he was appointed to the Church of All Saints in London. He arrived there and started his duties at the Church of the Holy Saints in Camden Town in April 1959. He was ordained presbyter by the late Archbishop of Thyateira, Athenagoras (Kawadas), on the 26th of the same month.

In 1964 he was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Thyateira. On 12 December 1970 he was consecrated Bishop of Tropaiou by the blessed former Archbishop of Thyateira, Athenagoras Kokkinakis, at the Cathedral of St Sophia. From the first day of his ordainance he undertook to organize and administer the St Mary's Cathedral and the Church of St. Barnabas the Apostle in Wood Green, North London.

On 16 April 1988 he was unanimously elected by the Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain and his enthronement took place at the Cathedral of Sophia in West London. His tireless program sees him attending many community events, both in London and around the country. His quiet and reasoned voice upholds both the concerns of the Greek Orthodox community and expresses the Christian message of peace and reconciliation. During the Kosovo conflict, in 1999, between the local Albanians and the Serbian army where NATO forces intervened, he was interviewed on BBC radio. Through his questions, the journalist appeared keen for Gregorios to side with the (fellow) Orthodox Serbs and criticize NATO. His Eminence simply stated that it was time for reconciliation and especially a time "of repentance for all of us."

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