Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris Is Mourned

The National Herald Archive

The late protopresbyter Anthony Coniaris one of the most learned priests and prolific authors of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Photo provided by family.

MINNEAPOLIS – Protopresbyter Anthony M. Coniaris, age 93, fell asleep in the Lord at the Glen in Hopkins. His wife, Mary Pappas Coniaris, preceded him in death in July 1991, after 42 years of marriage. They were partners in the ministry at St Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in South Minneapolis their entire marriage. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1926, the first son of Michael Coniaris from Ellinikon, Greece and Bessie Karalekas from Pavlia, Greece. He attended Boston Latin School and then went on to graduate from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox  School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. Coniaris received a Masters of Divinity from Northwestern Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, and continued studies in the fields of religion and psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Coniaris was ordained a priest in 1953 and served as pastor of St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, 3450 Irving Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota for 39 years, from 1953 1992, his only parish assignment. After his retirement in January 1993 he devoted most of his time to the Light & Life Publishing Company which he founded in 1968. He authored more than 75 books, pamphlets, and brochures. Light & Life became one of the largest distributors of Orthodox materials in the world. He also lectured at retreats and seminars at several Orthodox parishes in the United States as well as in Canada. In addition, Coniaris was an Adjunct Professor of Homiletics at Holy Cross Greek in Brookline, MA and taught there during his retirement. He was past President of the Minneapolis Ministerial Association, the Twin Cities Metropolitan Church Commission, the Minneapolis Professional Men's Club, the St. Louis Park Kiwanis, and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. He was a member of the Board of the Children's Heart Fund, and was listed in WHO'S WHO in RELIGION 1976-77.

He received the WCCO Good Neighbor Award in 1973 and the Alumnus Citation from Holy Cross. In 2018, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Divinity from Holy Cross. Coniaris was the father of two children, Paul Coniaris (Beverly), and Patricia Christopulos (Daniel). His grandchildren include Anthony Coniaris (Alexandra), Amy Hoeft (Andreas), Ted Coniaris (Melissa), Valerie Comprelli (Kevin), David Boosalis (Kristine), Jordan Smith (Matthew), Zoe Olson (Taylor) and he has 15 great-grandchildren. Many of the St. Mary's parishioners consider him their spiritual father. Because of this and his great love and dedication for his parish, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made out to: St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. A private family Service was held and a public memorial service will be held in the future. Private interment was at Lakewood Cemetery.