His Grace Bishop Photios of Marathon (of the GOC) whose secular name is Savvas Mantalis (born to George and Chrysse) was born on the island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese on June 3/16, 1968. Drawn to the sciences and to research in general, he obtained a patent for the invention of a designing system in 1984. As a high school student he formed a spiritually oriented research group along with other classmates where they would gather information regarding Orthodoxy and the “dark powers” - a topic which attracted many young students. Within this framework, this group organized a lecture (with the help of their parents and teachers) by N. Psaroudakes on “Zionism, Masonry and Christianity” in Rhodes. From their research in this area of inquiry, they learn about Ecumenism’s corrosive character and thus, they wholeheartedly joined the church of the G.O.C.
In December of 1986, he discontinued his technical studies and in January of the following year he was tonsured a monk in Kalymnos and took part in the founding of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Mesovounion of Kalymnos (which was considered a dependency of the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mount Athos) where he assumed the role of the monastery’s Economos (Treasurer) and Secretary. Six months later one of his fellow classmates followed in his footsteps and became a monk in that same monastery. In 1994, he was ordained a deacon by his Elder who was the Metropolitan of the G.O.C. of the Dodecanese at the time, His Eminence Kallinikos, who also ordained him a priest the following year. As a parish priest he served the parishes of Saint Niketas of Kalymnos and Saint Irene Chrysovalantou of Rhodes. At the time, he also undertook the catechism of both young children as well as those adults who sought baptism (primarily refugees from Northern Epirus). He became the director of the Metropolis’ magazine, and during the subsequent years he was also mainly preoccupied with acquainting himself with the usage of computers and specialized in this area under the guidance of one our Church’s members who is a professor of Informatics at the University of the Aegean.
In July of 1998, he was forced to leave the Monastery where he was tonsured for reasons outside of his control (his Elder broke with the canonical Church of the G.O.C.) and found refuge at the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou, of which he was a dependent monk from the beginning. He witnessed first hand the illness as well as the last moments of the ever-memorable Elder Euthymios along with the election of the new abbot of the Monastery, Elder Methodius. He stayed there for a year conducting liturgies as a monastery priest of this historic monastery and at times he would serve the Genuine Orthodox Christians of his hometown in Rhodes who remained faithful to the canonical Church the GOC and did not follow Kallinikos the former Metropolitan of the Dodecanese into schism. These faithful formed the parish of Saint Nektarios in Rhodes.
In June of 1999, he was invited by His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, His Eminence Chrysostomos, to be the director of the Office of the Holy Synod and the director of the official journal of our Church “The Voice of Orthodoxy.” In August of the same year, the Holy Synod of the Church of the GOC elected and consecrated him as the Bishop of Marathon, a diocese which once shone forth in antiquity. At the same time, he undertook the Secretariat of the Holy Synod. Together with his duties, he also continued the study of the technology of computers as well as his studies in a) Greek History (specializing in"Hellenism and the West"), b) administration of Non-Profit Organizations (from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens via e-learning) and c) Studies in Hellenic Culture (from the Greek Open University) and graduated with honors. He received a Master's Degree from the Open University of Cyprus' postgraduate programme in Education Sciences, specializing in Continuing Education.
His Grace Bishop of Marathon, Photios, speaks English and as a member of the Synod’s Committee on Informatics he proposed equipping of the Headquarters of our Church and the good use of the new technology of the internet for the propagation of the non-innovated Faith. He was a member of the Synod’s Committee on Youth until September of 2011, and he oversaw the organization of Ne.O.S. being the President of its Coordination Committee from its found in 2007 until October of 2010. He oversees the operation of the School of Catechists of the Church of the GOC which is in full and successful operation since 2001. Since September 2008, he has been appointed also as a member of the Synodal Committee on Legal Affairs.
He is Locum Tenens of the widowed dioceses of Phthiotis (from 2000) and of Cyclades and Dodecanese (from 2010). He has visited America and Australia several times as a legate of the Holy Synod for Church matters.
Furthermore he has the spiritual supervision of GOC of UK (with the permission of His Eminence Metropolitan Kallinikos of Achaia, now Archbishop of Athens). Since the beginning of 2009 he was appointed by the Holy Synod as a permanent member of the Holy Eparchial Synod of Church of the GOC in America. In October of 2010 he assumed the duties of the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod.
In 2003, His Grace took over the restoration of the Holy Protection Monastery of Dafni established by the late Archimandrite Daniel Bouras situated near the historic Monastery of Dafni in Haidari, Attica.
Iftar, refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after sunset.
We report the following unchanged as it was published:
"The leaders of the Armenian, Roman, Jewish and Syrian communities of Turkey sat around the fasting Iftar dinner in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul." Read more...
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Tucson, AZ, is a beautiful mission parish near downtown Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. It was started in 1997 by Father John Bockman, who was a missionary priest formerly serving missions in Tennessee and Massachusetts since 1990. Read more...
Q. In considering becoming part of the GOC in America, I am getting warnings from various circles that the attitude of GOC people is that of being “walled off,” “arrogant,” “judgmental,” and “in your face” toward those not in the Genuine Orthodox Church, with accusations such as “World Orthodox” priests are “not even Christians” and the like. Could you give me your personal, realistic assessment of this dynamic and possibly refer me to an official statement on how GOC members should and do relate to and communicate with those in “World Orthodoxy”? Read more...