Epiphanios (Theodoropoulos)

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Elder Epiphanios of Athens (Theodoropoulos) was a priestmonk in the twentieth century who served the Church in Athens.

Biographical timeline

  • 1930 Dec 27: Etioklis Theodoropoulos was born to John and Georgia who lived in Vornazion, in the southwest Peloponnese.
  • 1932: From two years of age, Etioklis would tell people that he wanted to be a priest.
  • 1935: At five, Etioklis attended all services of his parish, fasting and preparing for Holy Communion as an adult would. He would also arrive early for church, often before the priest.
Etioklis was sent to school in the nearest large town, Kalamata, excelling in all his studies except mathematics.
In junior high school, Etioklis began his theological training on his own. He also spent a great deal of time in his parish, attending services, and also at monasteries, especially Voulcanou Monastery near Kalamata.
  • 1949: Etioklis moved to Athens after completing his studies. He enrolled at the Theological School of the University of Athens. Despite being asked by his professors to continue graduate studies abroad and become a lecturer, Etioklis refused, wanting to enter a monastery. He frequently visited the Monastery of Longovarda on Paros, and the abbot, Elder Philotheos, was his spiritual father until his repose.
  • 1956 Nov: Etioklis was ordained to the diaconate by Metropolian Ierotheos of Aitolia and Akarnania, and given the name Epiphanios. He had waited until he was 25, in obedience to the canons.
In the same year, he published Holy Scripture and the Evil Spirits, his first book.
  • 1961: Dcn Epiphanios was ordained to the priesthood in his thirtieth year, again in obedience to the canons, by Metropolian Ambrose of Eleutheropolis. As a living, he worked as an editor of the Astir publishing house. He served at a chapel of the Three Great Hierarchs in downtown Athens, fulfilling his wish to keep a quiet life; however, people flocked to him for guidance and spiritual comfort.
  • 1965: Fr. Epiphanios's "Open Letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch" is published in the December, 1965, edition of the Greek periodical, "The Three Hierarchs", condemning Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople's lifting of the anathemas against Rome. A translation of the letter appears in Alexander Kalomiros' "Against False Union," pages 111-114. Fr. Epiphanios continues to be one of the most outspoken critics of ecumenism throughout his life.
Elder Epiphanios, aside from serving as a priest and confessor, also wrote twenty-two books and many articles in service to the Church. He was asked many times to become a bishop, but he refused the honour.
Elder Epiphanios kept a strict rule of prayer, despite being in the middle of Athens and being constantly beset with pastoral work. He would, having read morning prayers, read the service of Matins along with the canons from the Menaion and the Paraklitiki. After this, he would study or write, then perform pastoral work until lunchtime. Instead of lunch, he would meet with people or speak on the telephone. At about 5pm, he would serve Vespers and a supplicatory canon. He then would go to his chapel and hear confessions, then would visit the sick and suffering in hospital. When he returned he would have people waiting for him or telephone calls to receive. After a late dinner, he would read Small Compline and the Akathist to the Mother of God. He would then attempt to sleep.
Elder Epiphanios suffered from insomnia, and prayed for divine assistance. He picked up the New Testament one night, searching for understanding, and saw 2 Cor 12:7, which spoke about a thorn in the flesh; Elder Epiphanios was glad, knowing that his suffering was allowed by God. He asked God for assistance twice more, and on opening the New Testament again, received the same response. He was not willing to ask a fourth time.
  • 1976: With urging and help of his spiritual children, Elder Epiphanios founded the Holy Hesychastarion of the Mother of God "Most Graceful" ("Keharitomeni") in Trizina, in the Peloponnese. Pleased that his spiritual sons had a place to follow the monastic life, Elder Epiphanios then divided his time between Athens and the monastery.
Soon after the monastery's foundation, Elder Epiphanios' health began to deteriorate.
  • 1980: Elder Philotheos, Elder Epiphanios' spiritual father, reposed. Elder Epiphanios then went to Archimandrite Agathangelos (Michalidin) as his spiritual father.
  • 1982 Dec: Elder Epiphanios was diagnosed with pre-canceric gastrorrhagia and operated on. Three quarters of his stomach was removed. He had continued poor health and eventually was confined to his bed.
  • 1986: Fr. Epiphanios' "The Two Extremes: Ecumenism and Zealotry" is published, which condemns both Ecumenism and Old Calendarism. This continues to be an influential text for critics of Ecumenism who have chosen to struggle from within the visible boundaries of the Church, as opposed to "walling-off" from those who confess syncretistic Ecumenism.
  • 1989 Nov 10: Having arranged for his funeral and burial, and being spiritually prepared, Elder Epiphanios reposed at 58 years of age.


Elder Epiphanios was strict in applying canons to himself, but recognised the need for oikonomia for others, and could bend the rules where needed for pastoral work.


  • Middleton, Herman A., 2004,"Elder Epiphanios of Athens: Life", in Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives & Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece, 2nd edn., Protecting Veil Press, Thessalonica, Greece. [1]