PITSBURGH – Fr. Sarantos Serviou passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. He was born in Pagondas, Samos, Greece on March 10, 1939 to Emmanuel and Theofano Serviou. He immigrated to the United States with his parents and his brother Demetrios in 1951. They settled in New Brunswick, NJ where Father Sarantos attended the public school system and graduated in 1957 from New Brunswick High School.
While living in New Brunswick, Father attended St. George Greek Orthodox Church, where he was an altar boy serving under Fr. George X. Gallas, whom he would later succeed at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Pittsburgh. As a teenager at St. George’s, he learned Byzantine chanting from the church chanter, John Koussoulides, which would inspire him to attend Holy Cross Seminary after graduating high school.
Fr. Serviou graduated from the seminary in 1963, and was assigned to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Bridgeport, CT, where he served as chanter, Greek School teacher, and secretary.
Fr. and Presvytera Nancy were married in New Jersey in August, 1964. On September 5th that same year he was ordained to the diaconate, and on September 6th to the priesthood by Metropolitan Iakovos of Philadelphia of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Upon his ordination, Father was assigned to the Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Duluth, MN. He attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he studied Psychology of Religion and was chaplain to the Orthodox students. Father was also involved with one of the local TV stations where he gave the opening and closing spiritual messages.
In 1968 Father was assigned to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Waukegan, IL. He also served as the Orthodox chaplain at the VA Hospital in North Chicago, IL. Father was appointed youth director of the Chicago Diocese by the late Bishop Timothy of Rodostolou, and helped to successfully promote youth retreats, seminars, and the Fanari Camp. He also successfully initiated the ‘Fair Share’ stewardship program in 1974. During this time Father also attended Loyola University where he received his Masters Degree in Religious Education.
In 1978, Fr. Serviou, with the blessings of Archbishop Iakovos, transferred to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, where he was active in the youth programs (during which time he initiated the volleyball tournaments), served as a member of the Youth Commission, and served as president of the Clergy Syndesmos. His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos appointed Father to the Spiritual Court.
During his visit in 1984, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Diodoros, bestowed upon Father the title of ‘Stavroforos’, the Cross of Jerusalem of the Order of the Orthodox Crusaders of the Holy Sepulchre. Beginning in 1981, Father Sarantos took more than ten pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
In 1994, Father would once again be honored at St. Nicholas when Archbishop Iakovos elevated him to the office of ‘Protopresbyter’. Three years later he was bestowed the Cross of the Ecumenical Throne by His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople during his visit to Pittsburgh.
Father Serviou is the founder of the Voice of Orthodoxy radio program, which after 15 years continues to be heard in the Pittsburgh area and neighboring states during the Greek hour every Sunday.
Father and Presvytera are the proud parents of three devoted daughters. Known primarily as ‘the girls’, they’ve remained actively involved with St. Nicholas Cathedral and its programs over the past 25 years. Father’s son-in-law John, who converted to Orthodoxy in 1991, serves on the Board, as well as other committees. Father also has two adorable grandchildren, Thanna and Johnnie Oddo. They are his pride and joy.