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The V. Rev. Dr. Themistocles Adamopoulo, born in Alexandria and raised in Melbourne, is an archimandrite serving in Nairobi, Kenya, within the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. He is assistant dean of the Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School "Archbishop Makarios III", and is also establishing "Saint Clement of Alexandria", a major philanthropic and educational program in that country.
Eleftherius and Helen Adamopoulo were the parents of a Greek family who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. Eleftherius was an author, successful banker and had a double qualification in Chemistry; and Helen was a headmistress of a school. Seeing developments that would have dire consequences for foreigners in Egypt, in 1956, Eleftherius and Helen immigrated with their family - including their son, Themistocles - to Melbourne, Australia. Themistocles, because of the social stigma of Greeks at the time, grew up wishing to fit into wider Australian society.
Due to the Adamopoulo's being Greeks from a non-Greek country, they were considered to be Greeks by Anglo-Celtic society, and outsiders within the Greek community. As such, Eleftherius became a labourer, and Helen worked in factories. However, in a few years, Helen was recognised by Melbourne University, becoming a teacher at Presbyterian Ladies College, and Eleftherius was recognised by local industries, becoming an industrial chemist.
Themistocles went to high school at Williamstown High School, being gifted in academic areas, and getting a result good enough to win a scholarship to Melbourne University. He began a Bachelor of Commerce degree in the mid-60s, and then formed a music group imitating the Beatles and Rolling Stones. This caused a two-year deferment in his university studies while he pursued the music world, including records and Top 10 songs and a fan club.
However, he decided that this was not to be a permanent occupation, and returned to university in a Bachelor of Arts course, studying philosophy, political science and history. His readings, and perspectives on human rights, social justice and minority groups, were formed by this period, and are acknowledged by himself to have affected the way he lives his religion today. However, at the time, he held a strict athiestic view that he later recognised as contradictory.
Themi attributes his conversion to anti-establishment ideas that happened in greater society, such as the opposition to the Vietnam War, and to Timothy Leary's influence in exploring counter-cultural concepts in spiritual terms. This anti-establishment focus was brought to bear on Nietzsche and Marx, and Themi was to look at various religions, looking for truths in them that could be useful in an ideal world. Undergoing a Christian mystical experience, Themi then accepted Christianity as the path to God.
- Bachelor of Arts (University of Melbourne)
- Master of Theological Studies (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology)
- Master of Theology (Princeton Divinity School)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Brown University - dissertation on the idea of endurance from Homeric times to the writings of the Apostle Paul)
- University of Sydney, Sydney
- Macquarie University, Sydney
- St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College, Sydney
- Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School "Archbishop Macarius III", Nairobi, Kenya
- Source: Interview with the Very Rev. Dr. Themistocles Adamopoulo, Apostle to the Poor and Oppressed by Nick Trakakis, published by Theandros (N.B.: A publication edited by the Eparch of Nebraska).
- Saint Clement of Alexandria, Kenya