Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) of Thyateira and Great Britain

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Archbishop Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) (1912-1979) was a hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In addition to serving as primate of Great Britain, he had a distinguished career as an auxiliary bishop in Canada and the United States and served as dean of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.


The archbishop was born on the island of Patmos as Theodore Kokkinakis. He graduated from the Theological School of Halki in 1934. In 1936 he came to the United States and undertook studies at the General Theological Seminary, Columbia University, and Northwestern University. Theodore was ordained to the priesthood in 1940 (simultaneously taking the name Athenagoras) and assigned to the church of St. Andrew in Chicago. He served there until 1945, when he was assigned to the church of St. Demetrios in Astoria, New York. While there, he served as editor of the Orthodox Observer, the archdiocesan magazine.

In 1950 Fr. Athenagoras was elected bishop of Eleia. His consecration took place on September 14 at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York, celebrated by Archbishop Michael of North and South America, Bishop Germanos of Nyssa, Bishop Gerasimos of Chicago and Bishop Orestes of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese.

Bishop Athenagoras was initially assigned to oversee the western portion of the United States. In 1954, he was transferred to Boston and the oversight of New England. At the same time he was appointed dean of Holy Cross Seminary. He resigned as dean in 1959. The next year, he was elevated to the degree of Metropolitan of Eleia and assigned to oversee parishes in Canada.

On December 10, 1963, Metropolitan Athenagoras was elected by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as Metropolitan of Thyateira and Great Britain, which at the time had oversight of all churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Western Europe. On February 24, 1968, the see was elevated to the rank of archdiocese, and Metropolitan Athenagoras accordingly became Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. At the same time, the establishment of new dioceses in Western Europe meant that the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain was redefined to encompass only the British Isles and Malta.

Archbishop Athenagoras was a leading figure in the ecumenical movement. As a bishop of the Archdiocese of North and South America, he participated in the North American Faith and Order Study Conference in Oberlin, Ohio and delivered a key address on behalf of the Orthodox delegates. He was president of the Fourth Pan-Orthodox Conference in Belgrade in 1967. He represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate at conferences organized under the auspices of the World Council of Churches.

Archbishop Athenagoras died on September 9, 1979.


  • Biography of Archbishop Athenagoras on the website of the Archdiocese of Thyateira
  • "Leftist Peace Talk Declared Deceit," The New York Times, September 11, 1950
  • "Dr. A.T. Kokkinakis Consecrated as Greek Orthodox Bishop Here," The New York Times, September 15, 1950
  • "Archbishop Athenagoras is Dead; British Orthodox Prelate was 67," The New York Times, September 11, 1979
  • Parish History of St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago
  • Stephanopoulos, Rev. Robert G., Guidelines for Orthodox Christians in Ecumenical Relations, Standing Confernece of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, n.d.
  • Vaporis, N.M., A Chronicle of Hellenic College \ Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1988 [ISBN 0917651510]

Books by Archbishop Athenagoras

  • Spoken Greek,: A simplified grammar, with exercises, reading and vocabularies, Cosmos Greek-American Printing Company, 1945
  • Food for redemption: An exposition of the eucharistic doctrine and service of the Orthodox Church, Cosmos Greek-American Printing Company, 1947
  • In the realm of redemption: An exposition of the Greek Orthodox doctrine on the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, confession and holy unction , Cosmos Greek-American Printing Company, 1948
  • Christian Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, Greek Archdiocese of North and South America, 1952
  • Christian Orthodoxy in the home, Greek Archdiocese of North and South America, Western States Diocese, GOYA Chapter, 1953
  • The future of our church in America (G.O.Y.A. series), Greek Archdiocese of North and South America, Western States Diocese, GOYA Chapter, 1954
  • An important communication on the schism, Greek Orthodox Theological Institute, 1955
  • Contemporary Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic communications: Correspondence in English and Greek of Bishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis and J. Francis Cardinal McIntyre, Fourth Diocese, Greek Orthodox Ministerial Association, 1957
  • Parents and priests as servants of redemption, Morehouse-Gorham Company, 1958
  • Christ and the intellectuals, Orthodoxia Canadian Greek Religious Press, 1962
  • An interorthodox theological debate, Faith Press, 1973 [ISBN 0716402750]
  • The Thyateira confession: The faith and prayer of Orthodox Christians, Faith Press, 1975 [ISBN 071640375]

Succession box:
Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) of Thyateira and Great Britain
Preceded by:
Eirinaios (Tsourounakis)
Bishop of San Francisco
(Ecumenical Patriarchate)

Succeeded by:
Demetrios (Makris)
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Eleia
Succeeded by:
Demetrius (Papadopoulos)
Preceded by:
Athenagoras (Kavadas)
Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain
Succeeded by:
Methodios (Fouyias)
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