NEW YORK – Father Apostolos (Paul) Panos fell asleep in the Lord on August 16. He was 61 years old.
Fr. Panos was born in Chicago, IL on September 25, 1959. His parents, Peter and Georgia Panos (Panagopoulos), were from the Province of Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, near Tripolis. As a child, Fr. Panos worshiped at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Oak Lawn, IL and graduated from their Homer Greek Language School. Upon graduating from a Chicago public high school, he enrolled in a technical school and was later employed by General Motors. As a counselor at the Diocese of Chicago’s Camp Fanari, Fr. Panos found the Holy Orthodox Faith increasingly fascinating. In September of 1982, with the Blessings of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Fr. Panos pursued his religious studies at Hellenic College in Brookline, MA. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1986, and then began graduate studies at Holy Cross Seminary, while working for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services System as a counselor to juvenile offenders.
Fr. Panos was ordained to the Holy Deaconate at the Church of Saint Basil by Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago on January 1, 1989. He first served the Lord as a Deacon at the historic Annunciation Cathedral of Boston under the pastorship of Fr. Al Demos. After graduating from Holy Cross in 1989, he was immediately assigned to the Holy Diocese of Toronto and all Canada and later ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Metropolitan Soterios of Canada of June 11, 1989. Subsequently, he was appointed to serve the mission Parishes of Saint Nicholas in Sudbury, Ontario and Saint George in North Bay, Ontario. After two years, he was assigned to the Church of the 12 Holy Apostles in Duluth, Minnesota.
Fr. Panos’ next call was to serve the Cathedral of Saints Constantine & Helen in Brooklyn, NY. His mission there was to oversee the restoration of the Cathedral that was severely damaged by fire and make preparations for the rededication. Archbishop Iakovos then assigned him to Saint Demetrios Church in Jamaica, NY to assist Fr. Nicholas Soteropoulos. Fr. Panos assumed the duties of Spiritual Director of Youth Ministries and religious instructor for their schools. In addition, he was a Spiritual Advisor for many youth programs such as the Metropolitan Basketball League, New York GOYA Olympics, and Ionian Village in Greece. On January 1, 1997, Archbishop Spyridon appointed Fr. Panos to the Cathedral of Saint John the Theologian in Tenafly, NJ to assist the Cathedral Dean, Fr. Ernest Blougouras to assist in Pastoral duties and assume the role of Coordinator of Youth Programs. During his tenure at the Cathedral he re-established the Scouting Program and actively sponsored the Diocese Youth Programs. Furthermore, he was elevated to the Priestly Rank of Economos by Archbishop Spyridon and became a Naval Chaplain in the Reserves holding the rank of Lieutenant.
In May 1999, the late Bishop George of New Jersey assigned Fr. Panos to Saint Athanasios Church in Paramus, NJ. While at St. Athanasios, Fr. Panos saw to the completion of the church’s interior, new stained glass windows, the paying off of the mortgages of the community center and the church building. In addition, several programs were established, the senior citizen prescription drug plan, the GOYA scholarship for graduating high school seniors from St. Athanasios GOYA, and the Hellenic Cultural Fund which is for the youth of the community to have the opportunity to embrace and experience Hellenic artistic, historical and spiritual events, programs and lectures. Fr. Panos was also a first responder as a Chaplain at Ground Zero, after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
On May 1, 2004, Fr. Panos was assigned by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, temporarily to the historic church of Saint Demetrios in Union, NJ. On April 20, 2005, he was assigned to the Church of Kimisis Tis Theotokou, Panagia of Island Park, NY.
In August 2007, Fr, Panos was then assigned to the Church of Saint George, in Schenectady, NY, where he was active in many programs, including Chaplain of the City Council of Schenectady, and Chaplain of the Capital District Red Knights, consultant to the Mayor of Schenectady for the Annual September 11th City-wide Memorial Events, among other activities.
With the blessing of Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey and upon the request of the Saint Anthony’s community, on June 1, 2014, Fr. Panos was assigned permanently to the community.
In his last years, Fr. Panos served many parishes throughout the Direct Archdiocesan District and the Metropolis of New Jersey, assisting parishes that were in need.
May his memory be ever eternal.
The viewing takes place Thursday, August 19, 3-9 PM at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 11-05 150th Street in Whitestone, NY. The Divine Liturgy, 8 AM, and the funeral service, 9:30 AM, will be held at Holy Cross on Friday, August 20.