Rev. Chrysostom Manuel died on June 11 following a period of declining health. He was 89.
Born to a family of Anatolian Greeks living in Thessaloniki, Greece, on October 18, 1931, Chrysostom Manuel spent his childhood in the neighborhood Ano Toumba. At age 10, accompanying his uncle Joachim Mavrides, he and his brother became chanters in the Orthodox Church, learning Byzantine chant and having liturgical experiences that influenced his choice to become a Greek Orthodox priest. In 1946, following the devastation of World War II and escaping the Greek Civil War, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and brother to join his father in New Brunswick, NJ. Knowing no English when he arrived, he was forever grateful to Ms. Deinzer and Ms. French, teachers who stayed after school at New Brunswick High School to help him learn the new language and graduate. During the summers, he worked at Rutgers University’s agricultural program, enjoying the farm work.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950, spending two years as a company clerk, including a tour in West Germany. It was while serving in Western Europe that, in his words, he heard the call of the Holy Spirit to join the priesthood.
After attending Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, MA on the GI Bill of Rights, Rev. Manuel graduated in the spring of 1961, then married the former Amphitrite Anthoula Constantelos in the summer and soon thereafter was ordained as a Greek Orthodox priest. He was then assigned to serve Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, in Fayetteville, NC. During his time in Fayetteville, the church sanctuary was built in 1964, with classical Byzantine iconography and architecture. The church was consecrated in 1984, and the educational building, with a library dedicated to him and his wife, was completed in 2005.
Rev. Manuel served the Fayetteville community for 37 of the next 40 years, also serving parishes in Boca Raton, Fla., and Asheville, NC, from 1987 to 1990. He retired as an active priest in August 2000, but in retirement, he continued to serve as an itinerant priest in many communities, including Charlottesville, VA, Gulf Shores, AL, Baltimore, MD, Monroe, LA, and Panama City, FL.
He is survived by his wife and Presbytera of almost 60 years, Amphitrite Anthoula Constantelos Manuel; four children – Athan Manuel (Alison Merow); Christine Kushner (David Kushner); Cleo Manuel Stamatos (Nicholas Stamatos); and John Manuel (Becky Kirkland); eight grandchildren – Paul Kushner, Ariadne Manuel, Kate Kushner, Evan Chrysostom Manuel, Michael Stamatos, Anna Stamatos, Chrysostom Alex Manuel, and Sophia Manuel; and extended family in Greece and the United States.
The family wishes to thank all his caregivers who enabled him to remain at home in his final years, an invaluable gift. The family is immensely grateful to friends who have rallied their support for him during his extended illnesses.
Visitation was held from 6-8 PM June 16 at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Fayetteville. The Divine Liturgy began at 10 AM, June 17 followed by funeral services held at noon.