HOLDEN – Father Solon S. Tsandikos, 89, of Holden, died Tuesday, October 27 at home surrounded by his loving family. His wife of 64 years, Joanna (Tsagarelis) Tsandikos died in 2019. Fr. Solon is survived by his son, George S. Tsandikos of New York City; his two daughters, Kathryn Tsandikos and her husband, Harry Kokkinis of Worcester, and Dr. Stephanie Tsandikos of Hudson, NY; his two beloved grandchildren, Solon R. Kelleher and Alexis M. J. Kelleher and her partner, Nate Rossi and their son, Reed G. Kelleher-Rossi; as well as devoted family friends, Dominica Lizzi and Hunter Hise.
He was born in Lowell, the son of Stephanos and Anthe (Venetis) Tsandikos. Father Solon was raised in Lowell with his two brothers, Peter and Hermes, who predeceased him. After graduating from Lowell High School in 1948, he entered Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, graduating in 1953. He then entered Andover Newton Theological School earning his Bachelor of Divinity Degree.
In June of 1955, Father Solon married the former Joanna Tsagarelis. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Athens, where he entered the University of Athens, graduating in 1958 with his Doctor of Theology Degree. Upon his return from Greece, he once again entered Andover Newton earning his Master's Degree in Social Theology with a certification in caring for the aged.
Father Solon was ordained into the Holy Priesthood on November 27th, 1958 at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Worcester. One week before, he became deacon at Holy Trinity Church in Lowell. Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, of Blessed Memory, later bestowed the titles of Economos in 1964 and Protopresbyter in 1972.
Father Solon had served as pastor at Holy Trinity in Fitchburg from 1958 until 1963, Saint Spyridon in Worcester from 1963 until 1974, and St. Nicholas in Clinton from 1975 until 1995. While in Worcester, Father Solon was responsible for the building and dedication of the adjoining Church Community Center. The new structure included offices, a library, reception rooms, classrooms for Sunday School and Greek education, and the auditorium.
In addition to his parish ministry, Father Solon was a pioneer in the ecumenical movement. Beginning in the 1960's, Father was responsible for the initiation of an inter-faith dialogue that culminated in the historic meeting between Archbishop Iakovos and the late Bishop Bernard Flanagan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester. Father was a founding member and served for many years on the first Inter-Faith Council in Worcester and was a member of the city's Human Rights Commission. He also served as a trustee of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary, as a member of the Spiritual Council of Orthodox Churches in the New England Diocese, as a Chaplain to Orthodox patients at Worcester State Hospital, and as a member of the Welfare Board in Worcester.
Outside of the Greek Community many will remember seeing Father Solon at work in his family's restaurant, George's Coney Island.
Father Solon's funeral was held on Saturday, October 31 at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 102 Russell Street, Worcester. Archbishop Dimitrios (former) of America officiated. Entombment followed in Hope Cemetery in Worcester.
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, face masks are required, and social distancing maintained. At the family's request there was no greeting and/or conversations with the family in the Cathedral during this solemn time. To avoid social contact and to maintain social distancing, friends and family were invited to share their written memories of Father Solon with the family, stationary and envelopes were provided.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made in his name to St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox church.