John Karastamatis of Santa Cruz

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Icon of Fr. John Karastamatis (1937-1985).

Father John Karastamatis of Santa Cruz (August 8, 1937 - May 19, 1985) was the first parish priest and one of the founders of the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in Santa Cruz, California. Although there is some veneration of him as a hieromartyr, he has not been canonized, and his veneration is controversial.

He was a fervent preacher of the Orthodox Faith and "ministered to the unemployed, homeless and drug addicts of the city"[1][note 1] before he was murdered in 1985.[note 2]

He has been credited with numerous miracles of healing since his death.[1]


  1. "He was the kind who wanted to help everybody," Anastasia Karastamatis said. "They'd come to the door at 2 o'clock in the morning and I'd worry -- saying we didn't know what they'd been drinking, what drugs they were on. It was hard for me. But he'd say, 'They need me; that's what I'm here for.' "
    • {Joan Connell. SHATTERED PARISH REBUILDS CHURCH TRIES TO PUT SLAYING BEHIND IT. San Jose Mercury News. August 23, 1986.}
  2. According to The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, the couple that murdered Fr. John had a history of mental illness. And in the words of District Attorney Art Danner, Anna Bowman was "clearly psychotic."


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ken Parry, et. al. (Eds.). John Karastamatis. The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. 2001.

Further reading

Newspaper Sources

Greek Sources