Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana Proposed for Greek President

February 2015

The name of Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana is allegedly added to the list of possible candidates for the President of the Hellenic Republic.

According to Greek newspaper “To Vima,” SYRIZA members associated with Mount Athos are trying to convince Archbishop Anastasios to become the next Greek President. So far, Anastasios is refusing, citing his social work and congregation in Tirana as the reason for his desire to remain in Albania.

However, the report said, SYRIZA party members will continue their efforts to change the Archbishop’s mind.

The new SYRIZA-led government is seeking to propose a non-political person for President after the refusal of European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania Anastasios (last name Giannoulatos) was born on November 4, 1929, in Piraeus. He was previously Bishop of Androusa, professor at the University of Athens and General Manager of the Apostolic Diocese of the Church of Greece.

He studied at the Theological School of the University of Athens where he received his degree in 1952. Along with his theological studies, he was involved with Orthodox youth organizations. In 1960, he was ordained deacon and priest. In 1964, he became Archimandrite. At the same time he began missionary work in Africa, particularly in Uganda. He learned the local dialects but was forced to withdraw when he contracted malaria.

He continued with postgraduate studies in Philosophy in Germany (1965-1969) as a fellow of the German Foundation “Alexander von Humboldt.”

After returning to Athens, he organized and headed the Inter-Orthodox Missionary Center “Go Forward” as well as the Inter-Orthodox Center of Athens of the Church of Greece (1971-1975). His work was soon recognized as he was ordained Bishop of Androusa in 1972. The same year he took the position of Professor of History of Religions at the University of Athens, Director of the Department of Religion and Sociology and Dean of the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens.

He also was the general manager of the Apostolic Diocese of the Church of Greece. In 1981, after his health was completely restored, he departed for Africa again, this time as Bishop of East Africa. His jurisdiction included Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, where he supervised the Church’s operation. After 10 years, he returned to Athens.

Anastasios speaks French, German and English, and he has studied Latin, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Swahili and Albanian.

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