Spyridon (Papageorge) of Chaldea

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His Eminence Spyridon (Papageorge) of Chaldea is a retired hierarch of the Church of Constantinople who was Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America from September 1996 to August 1999. After his reassignment as Metropolitan of Chaldea in 1999, which he refused, he retired.


Archbishop Spyridon was born George C. P. George in Warren, Ohio on September 24, 1944, the son of Clara and Dr. Constantine P. George. Dr. George, a native of the island of Rhodes, practiced medicine in various cities in the United States before returning to Rhodes when his son George was nine years old. George returned to the United States when he was 15 years old and lived for two years in Tarpon Springs, Florida, the birthplace of his mother. There, he completed high school, graduating in 1962.

After graduating from high school, George returned to Greece. Wanting to enter the priesthood, in 1962, he enrolled at the Theological School of Halki from which he graduated in 1966 with honors. In 1967, George continued his graduate studies for a year in Switzerland, specializing in the history of Protestant Churches. He then continued his studies in the subjects of Ecumenical Theology and Byzantine Literature at Bochum University in Germany, from 1969 to 1973, under a scholarship from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He became fluent in Greek, English, French, Italian, and German. During these years he served as secretary at the Permanent Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches and as Secretary of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at Chambesy in Geneva.

On November 30, 1968, George was ordained a deacon with the name Spyridon. On February 1, 1976, Dcn. Spyridon was ordained a priest and was assigned to serve as dean at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Andrew in Rome, until 1985. In 1984, he was appointment executive secretary of the Inter-Orthodox Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

On November 5, 1985, Fr. Spyridon was elected the titular Bishop of Apameia by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was consecrated bishop on the following November 24 at the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George and assigned as an auxiliary bishop to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Austria and Exarchate of Italy. In November 1991, the Holy Synod elected Bp. Spyridon the first metropolitan for the newly created Archdiocese of Italy and Exarchate of Southern Europe. During his tenure as metropolitan, he reintroduced Orthodox monasticism in Italy following a lapse of many centuries.

On July 30, 1996, Metr. Spyridon was elected Archbishop of America by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. On September 21, 1996, Archbishop Spyridon was enthroned at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City, the fifth archbishop to be enthroned since the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1922, and the first American-born Archbishop of America.

As archbishop, Abp. Spyridon focused his strategic policy on the pressing issue of the survival of Orthodoxy and Hellenism within the Greek American community. In this, he took bold initiatives in dealing with vital matters affecting the Greek Orthodox Church of America including Greek education, Orthodox theological training, the Greek American lobby, and the administration of the Archdiocese.

Due to conflicts within the church Spyridon resigned from the archiepiscopal throne of America on August 19, 1999 and never accepted his subsequent appointment as Metropolitan of Chaldea by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On September 15, 1999, he left New York and moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where he occasionally grants interviews and writes articles for the Greek press in America.

Succession box:
Spyridon (Papageorge) of Chaldea
Preceded by:
Bishop of Apamea
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Archbishop of Italy and
Exarchate of Southern Europe

Succeeded by:
Gennadios (Zervos)
Preceded by:
Iakovos (Coucouzis)
Archbishop of America
Succeeded by:
Demetrios (Trakatellis)
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