Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Protopresbyter Spyridon Statiris (+ May 2, 2021)


Protopresbyter Spyridon Statiris was born on 28 March 1934 in Messonghi on the Greek island of Kerkyra, to the poor and pious parents John (a fisherman by trade) and Demetroula. At the age of 14 young Spyro was orphaned of his father and became the protector and provider for his mother who was almost blind and unable to work as well as his elderly aunt Irene. Before he died, his father told him: "My child, leave the sea and follow the Church." As he did not own any property, not even their own house, Spyro, in order to make a living, sold fish to the nearby villages, which he carried on his head in a basket. This was probably the cause of the strong migraines which afflicted him until the age of 60.

Due to poverty, deprivation and hardship, at the age of 17 he fell ill with tuberculosis and was hospitalized twice at the Sotiria Hospital of Athens.

Orphanhood, sickness and poverty built in him humility and very strong trust in God the Father and love for our Christ, our Panagia and the Saints of our Church. Indeed, in his life God sent many Good Samaritans, who supported him in many ways, in every moment of his life.

He received his zeal for a divine and holy education, besides the wish of his father, from the following event. When he was around 14 he was sent by his grandfather Spyridon to a strangers house to steal tobacco for him. But young Spyro, because he did not find any tobacco, snatched what he found on the spot - a New Testament without a cover. When he opened it to read, the first sentence he read was the following passage from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans (13:12-13): "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." These words, although a young child, he put deep inside him and processed them internally, in order to then avoid many evils in the course of his life.

Then, without finishing Elementary School, due to the war and the occupation, he began to study with zeal the Gospel and any life of a Saint or pamphlet he found, which he sought with great zeal. The youth camps of the Holy Metropolis were set up in the olive groves of Messonghi for many years, during the time of the late Metropolitan of Kerkyra Methodios Kontostanos, so this opportunity was not missed by the young Spyridon, who closely monitored every activity: the outdoor prayers and services and homilies. There, among others, he met the late theologians Aristides Tsilimbaris and Nikolaos Leftheriotis.

All of the above nurtured in him the sacred desire to become a priest of the Lord, but his grammatical knowledge did not allow him to fulfill his desire. After his recovery from illness and the strengthening of his faith, with the blessing of his spiritual father Elder Gregory Mavrommatis, he returned to the villages of South Kerkyra and on feast days he chanted and preached the word of the Gospel inside and outside the church.

After much prayer in 1965 he met and married his wife Theodora, with whom he had three children Irene (1966 with husband Lambros), John (1969 with wife Irene) and Demetroula (1972 with husband Anastasios) and from these had seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He received great spiritual support from the teacher Stephanos Kontostanos, who after being appointed and staying in Messonghi for many years, persuaded Spyridon to finish Elementary School at night and also trained him in the art of chanting and the divine letters. After the departure of his spiritual father Gregory Mavrommatis, he walked under the guidance of the blessed and loving father George Demoulis. In the year 1976, the late Metropolitan Polykarpos founded a Theological School in Kerkyra, which, after the fervent encouragement of the teacher Stephanos Kontostanos, was attended by Spyridon, who had reservations about his power to serve the Divine, due to the migraines he suffered.

Spyridon was ordained a Deacon on December 17, 1976 in the Church of Saint John Poleos and on December 20 in the Metropolitan Church of Saint Theodora. After his ordination, he was appointed pastor in the parishes of three villages - Dormition of the Theotokos in Moraitikon, Saint Nektarios in Messonghi and Nativity of the Theotokos at Spelaion.

In 1985 the late Metropolitan Timothy entrusted him with the function of spiritual fatherhood.

In 2004, His Eminence the Metropolitan of Kerkyra Nektarios ordained him Protopresbyter.

In the year 2011 Father Spyridon retired, but he continued as long as the physical strength allowed him to officiate, but mainly the work of spiritual fatherhood to a number of spiritual children who found solace next to him. Remarkable is the work of the meetings that took place with the help of devout Christians and the blessing of his Bishop, for at least twenty years at Saint Nektarios. With this he supported many young people and families.

At five in the morning as the sun began to rise on Easter Sunday, 2 May 2021, Father Spyridon departed to the Lord.
 
 
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