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LEADER OF GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH IN CHICAGO DIES
CHICAGO, IL: On Friday evening, June 2, 2017, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in 6 mid-western States, died following an unexpected illness and surgery at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He was 89 and still active in his ministry.
Metropolitan Iakovos was elected a bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in 1969. Prior to coming to Chicago in 1979, he served as an auxiliary bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, acting as overseer of parishes in the areas of Detroit and New England while also serving as President of the Greek Orthodox seminary near Boston.
He was elected and enthroned as Bishop of Chicago in 1979, and then elevated to the honorary rank of Metropolitan in 1997. In 2002, the Diocese of Chicago was elevated in status to that of a Metropolis and he became the first Metropolitan of Chicago. His pastoral oversight of the Metropolis of Chicago consisted of 34 parishes in Illinois and 24 additional parishes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, northern Indiana and eastern Missouri.
Metropolitan Iakovos was a native of Athens, Greece, and later moved as a younger clergyman to Boston where he earned his doctorate from Boston University and taught at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
Under his 38 year tenure, the ministries of the Greek Orthodox Church increased greatly through several initiatives, especially in philanthropy and the area of social justice. He oversaw, with the Bishop’s Task Force on AIDS, the first organized ministry in the Greek Orthodox world for persons living with HIV/AIDS. More recently, he realized a long-time dream with the establishment of the Saint Iakovos Retreat Center on over 100 acres near Kenosha, Wisconsin, that includes meeting space and camping facilities for youth ministry.
He was an active and respected member of the religious leaders of all traditions in Chicago, one of the most religiously diverse cities in the world. In October, 2016, the section of East Burton Place, in front of the Metropolis Home and Offices, was named Honorary Metropolitan Iakovos Way by the Chicago City Council.
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