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Church

Metropolitan Methodios Visits St. Nicholas Parish in Portsmouth, NH

January 29, 2022

BOSTON – His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios made a pastoral visit to the St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church community in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and celebrated the Divine Liturgy assisted by the presiding priest of the parish Fr. Dimitrios Moraitis.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy Metropolitan Methodios cut the Parish Vasilopita and the community hosted a luncheon in his honor. The Metropolitan received several gifts from the various ministries of the Church for the Saint Methodios Heritage Center.

Portsmouth is a pleasant city on the northeast coast of New Hampshire line some 65 miles away from Boston, with a population of 20,000. It is known for its shipyards and its nice seafood restaurants serving the freshest fish, lobsters, scallops, clams, and the like.

From the official website of the parish one learns that Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Portsmouth, NH, was founded in 1931 and began holding services on Cabot Street. The founding families moved the church in the 1960’s to Andrew Jarvis Drive (named after one of the Community’s founding families and mayor of Portsmouth) near the Portsmouth High School. Through the generosity of the families of the St Nicholas, in 1996 the Jarvis Center was opened which serves as the church hall.

Saint Nicholas is currently the spiritual home to over 250 families and over 600 members from communities up and down the seacoast.

Metropolitan Methodios is giving a priestly cross to Fr. Demitrios Moroitis. (Photo Metropolis of Boston)

Presiding priest is Fr. Dimitrios Moraitis was born in Germany to Greek parents. In 1966 he immigrated to New York where he grew up in the Transfiguration church in Corona, Queens. He was an avid athlete and, at one point, the New York heavyweight wrestling champion. After high school he opted to go into his father’s business of general contracting and eventually worked independently as a building engineer. Several years later he went back to school to study social welfare, but realized that God was calling him to the priesthood.

He transferred to Hellenic College, where in 1996 he was graduated as the valedictorian. During his studies, he was the director of the New York and New Jersey dioceses’ Camp Good Shepherd. In 1997 he married Flora Hartofilis and in February, 1998 he was ordained a deacon and served the community of Saint Nektarios in Roslindale Massachusetts for several months. His first assignment after his graduation and ordination on May 16, 1998 was at the Saint Demetrios Church in Chicago. After leading all the youth ministries in assisting the Proestamenos for two years, he was assigned to the Saints Constantine and Helen Church in Fayetteville, NC. While there, he served as the contracted chaplain at Fort Bragg before and after 9/11. He also started his doctoral studies at Pittsburgh Theological seminary.

In 2004 he was reassigned to the St. Paraskevi Parish in Greenlawn, New York. It was there he finished his studies and received his Doctor of Ministry degree and, several years later, published his book “Returning the Lost Sheep: Ministry to the Alcoholic and Addict. He guest lectures at the seminary and travels all over the country facilitating seminars and interventions for those addicted.

After the Divine Liturgy a luncheon followed at the community center. (Photo Metropolis of Boston)

In November 2014 he transferred to the Saint Spyridon Cathedral in Worcester, MA, to serve as the Cathedral Dean. While there, he began many outreach ministries, including a ministry to the local community in Worcester where he fed the needy and provided necessities.

In 2017 Father Dimitri began serving as the spiritual director of the Washburn House Treatment Center, where he ministered to alcoholics and addicts by assisting them with developing a relationship with their higher power. In October of 2019 Father Dimitri decided to leave parish ministry to pursue working as a clinician at the same treatment center and as a hospice Chaplin for VNA.

In October 2020 he felt called to return to parish ministry and to become the parish priest of St. Nicholas. Father Dimitri loves working with the youth and is fully involved with all of the ministries of the church. He and Presbytera Flora have two adult daughters, Arsenia and Chrisoula.

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