My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE PASTORSHIP OF THE VERY REVEREND ARCADIOS ARCADIOU
As Bishop-elect Philotheos Mazokopakis boarded the train for New York to sail on the S.S. Volcania to Greece, Father Arcadiou came from the east to assume his pastorship at Saint Andrew. It was on May 3, 1936 that the new spiritual leader celebrated his first Divine Liturgy for the Saint Andrew faithful.
Father Arcadiou was born on the island of Crete, March 1, 1890, in the city of Rathymnon. At the age of 12 he entered the Monastery of Arcadia (thus his name, Arcadios) which became his home. At the age of 19, he became a monk and lived a solitary monastic life for the next five years. On August 16, 1916, he was ordained Deacon, and served under the Bishop of Rethymnon for the next six years. Deacon Arcadios left Crete and pursued his higher education in Athens, where he received his degree from the Pedagogical College. Like his predecessor, Father Mazokopakis, Deacon Arcadiou was invited to Chicago by Bishop Philaretos in 1926 to serve as Deacon, teaching Greek at Saint Basil's church in Chicago.
Deacon Arcadiou was ordained in the Priesthood in Racine, Wisconsin on July 24, 1929. He served his first parish, Saints Constantine and Helen, Gary Indiana, from 1929 to 1931. Subsequently, he was assigned to parishes in Lowell and Brockton, Massachusetts before coming to South Bend, Indiana.
Father Philotheos Mazokopakis had strongly recommended to the Parish Council on February 4, 1936 that Father Arcadios Arcadiou be considered as the priest to succeed him.
According to Mr. Spiro Balanis, upon hearing that Father Arcadiou would accept the Saint Andrew assignment, Father Mazokopakis said, "I will now sleep and breath much easier knowing that my friend since childhood days and brother in Christ, Fr. Arcadios, will be ministering and watching over my children in South Bend.
Father Arcadiou and Fr. Mazokopakis had a number of things in common. They were both born in Crete, both came to America on the invitation of Bishop Philaretos of Chicago, both served as Deacons under the Chicago Bishop and both were simultaneously considered for the bishopric of Iera Petra, Crete, by the Holy Synod of Crete. Also, they were both celibate clergy.
These two men were remarkably different. Both were highly motivated in their dedication and spiritual concerns for their parishioners. However, where Father Mazokopakis always wore a hat, Father Arcadiou didn't even own one. He was congenial and very approachable with both the young and old alike. He always had a smile and a good word for parishioners. Being able to communicate both in Greek and English was a definite asset which helped him tremendously with the youngsters trying to learn Greek.
Father Arcadiou presided over his first parish council meeting on June 5, 1936. Shortly after Father's arrival here, he purchased an automobile and learned to drive. In a short while, instead of needing a chauffeur, he was driving others around. The ladies of the Good Samaritan Club, whether on their ticket-selling chores for the theater productions or preparing for other social functions, could always rely on Father Arcadiou for a ride. Furthermore, he would drive to the surrounding towns and hold a special liturgical service and classes in Greek on weekdays.
Father Arcadiou joined the chapter of Ahepa on June 28, 1936, and became the official chaplain.
For fifteen years, Father Arcadiou's main concern was the unity and welfare of the entire Michiana Greek Orthodox parish. He felt that the boundaries of Saint Andrew's parish included LaPorte, Michigan City, Mishawaka, Elkhart, Goshen, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Peru, Logansport, Rochester, and the small hamlets in between. It was not unusual for Father to travel to several towns and back to South Bend in two or three days.
In the book entitled Growing Up Greek in South Bend, the early years: 1926-1964 by Elaine Makris Daniels, Kiki Tsalikis Raysakis writes the following about Father Arcadiou, "Funny, but when I think back on my youth in South Bend, I think of one very special person who was so important to all of us, Father Arcadios. What would Christmas be without crowding into his car and driving to all the 'perihora' (outlying towns) to sing the 'kalanda?' (Christmas carols). A wedding or a picnic would not be the same without him leading us in dance with his favorite Cretan Pentozali. This same gentle man could be a tyrant with a ruler while teaching Greek, however. I think that is why we all learned to read and write it so well...
Father Arcadios was also like a second father to me. I learned all about cooking, history, religion, healthy foods, and about home remedies from him...He was a such health nut, that when we received a call that he was sick it was hard to believe. He had the doctor call to say that he wanted to be brought from California to Illinois to be with 'family.' Ironically, several weeks later he died in my arms at the Lutheran General Hospital."
"He leaves our community better than he found it..."
May his memory be eternal!