By Nick Stamatakis

On Saturday, November 4, the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in North Wildwood, New Jersey, at the St. Demetrios feast day Day dinner dance, in addition to honoring some church volunteers, dedicated a portrait of Father Steven Vlahos in recognition of a quarter-century ministry. 
It was a beautiful event crowned by the love of the parish. Speakers included parish council president Nicholas Konides and parish secretary William Mitchell. Parish Legal Counsel Marcus Karavan was also specially honored for his volunteer services. Following a delicious Greek dinner prepared by parish members and delicious homemade Greek desserts, the beautiful evening ended with Greek music and dancing.
Father Steven – who is the president of the Retired Priests Association, served the St. Demetrios from 1992, in addition to his civil position as special deputy surrogate of Camden County, and oversaw several educational, spiritual, and building enhancements and iconography, including the building of the sea wall by the State of New Jersey.
Our sincerest congratulations to Father Steven!! He truly deserves it for a lifetime of service to the Church and our community! On occasions like this, one truly wishes that the “novelists” of the Phanar and GOARCH, instead of focusing on the wrong “innovations”, would give more power to our married priests by allowing them to become hierarchs…  They are the “flesh out of the flesh” of our community, and they combine knowledge with experience and, above all, true paternal love, the real driving force behind every successful priest…

 

BELOW YOU CAN READ HIS BIOGRAPHY – ALMOST 60 YEARS OF SERVICE!!

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SOURCE – rca.goarch.org

Father Steven J. Vlahos, the son of James and Dorothy Vlahos (deceased) was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. In 1963, he received a B.A. in Theology from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School following a seven-year course of studies. Father Steven was the first graduate of the theological school whose parents were both born in the USA. At graduation he received the Honorable Judge John A. Pappas Award for giving the best Greek sermon.

From 1963 through August 1964, Steven served as lay pastoral assistant to the Rev. Fr. George Gallos at the Annunciation Cathedral in Baltimore, Maryland. Subsequently, he held the post of National Religious Education Director of the Greek Orthodox Youth of America (G.O.Y.A.) and edited and printed the first Greek Orthodox religious retreat guidebook.

In August of 1964, at the St. Sophia Cathedral in Washington, DC he married the former Chrysi E. Hondroulis who was from a prominent Baltimore, MD family. On September 13, 1964, he was ordained a deacon by Metropolitan lakovos of Philadelphia at the Sts. Constantine & Helen Church in Chicago. The next day, September 14, 1964, the feast day of the Elevation of the Holy Cross and his name day, he was ordained a presbyter/priest. He was subsequently elevated to the Office of Confessor by Archbishop lakovos. Following his assignment to the Annunciation Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, he pursued post-graduate studies in Dogmatic and Conciliar Theology at St. John Roman Catholic Seminary. In 1965-1966, he was given the distinction of being the first Greek Orthodox clergyman to teach church history in a Catholic seminary.

In addition to Little Rock, Arkansas, Father Steven served as pastor of the Sts. Constantine & Helen Church in Rockford, Illinois; St. George Church in Bethesda, Maryland; St. Thomas Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey; and is currently, and for the last 22 years, pastor of St. Demetrios Church in North Wildwood, NJ.

Priestly highlights include the bestowal of the title Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1971 by Patriarch Athenagoras, Protopresbyter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North & South America in 1988 by Archbishop lakovos, the Humanitarian Award of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Cherry Hill Township Council Chaplain, appointment to the township Ethics Advisory Board and the organizer of the Delaware Valley Youth Commission.

Father Vlahos has authored many religious articles and homilies that appeared in the Goyan Magazine the Orthodox Observer, Sunday bulletins and monthly newsletters during his fifty-year ministry.

Father Steven has been instrumental in organizing youth programs, Greek language classes, religious retreats, Bible classes, Greek food and pastry festivals, church libraries, cultural affairs, building programs, choirs and Greek music groups, senior citizens activities, religion classes,
acolyte groups and stewardship programs.

For twenty years (1986-2006) in addition to his priestly duties, Father Steven was the Special Deputy Surrogate of Camden County where he assisted thousands of senior citizens to acquire Wills, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney. Additionally, because of his awareness, concern and interest of the important role of the laity in church life, he endorsed and became a
relevant religious advisor to the Orthodox Christian Laity.

For two terms and currently, Fr. Vlahos has been elected by the clergy of the New Jersey Metropolis to serve on His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos’ Metropolis Council.

Father Steven and Presvytera Chrysi are the proud parents of their son, Demetrios Troy, and daughter, Dana Anastasia (Joseph) DiAntonio, and their grandson Joseph Steven.

The crowning of Father’s ministry has been the last 22 years while he has served as the priest of the St. Demetrios Church in North Wildwood. In addition to his priestly duties, Father Steven secured the building of the seawall to protect the Church from Atlantic Ocean storms, the
naming of St. Demetrios Avenue and Ahepa Avenue, the rebuilding of the streets and infrastructure, the consecration of the church, many, many improvements to church facilities and attracted the influx of summer vacationers and new members.

Presently is now serving on the Retired Clergy Association Board of Trustees. He has assisted the then president of Retired Clergy to create a program and  booklet on living wills. For fifty years, Father Steven has served our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His church and His people with faith, reverence, love, fear of God and dedication.

About the priesthood, St. John Chrysostom writes: “Priests have received a power which God has not given to angels or archangels.” Jesus told his disciples: “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.” In the Divine Liturgy, priests, the continuators of the disciples’ ministry on earth, call the Holy Spirit to transform bread into the body of Jesus and wine into His blood for the forgiveness of the people’s sins and for their attainment of eternal life.

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