SARASOSTA, FL – The Greek Orthodox Community of St. Barbara mourns the sudden falling asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, June 28 of their beloved spiritual father and Pastor Emeritus, The Very Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Frank M. Kirlangitis. “Words do not suffice the love and praise for his beautiful life in our midst,” according to those who know him.
The son of Mike and Angela Kirlangitis, Fr. Frank was born in Steubenville, Ohio on the 21st of June, 1931. After High School, Fr. Frank attended Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, where he completed his studies in Theology in 1954. Later in August of that year he married his beloved, Stella Belegris, of Steubenville, Ohio the daughter of Steve and Maria Belegris. Together they traveled to Italy, France, and Greece where he was to begin his post graduate studies at the University of Athens prior to being called back to the states for his ordination to the deaconate on February 13, 1955 at his hometown Church of Holy Trinity by Bishop Olympou. On February 22, 1955 he was ordained to the priesthood at the Zoodoghos Greek Orthodox Church in Martins Ferry, OH by Ezekiel, Bishop of Nazianzou. Zoodoghos Peghe was Fr. Frank’s first parish where he served the first ten years of his ministry and was awarded the rank of Confessor.
In 1965 Father Frank was assigned to serve the St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Parish of Jacksonville, Florida and its satellite communities. During his pastorate, the new Church of St. John the Divine was designed and built, the St. Photios Shrine in St. Augustine was purchased, and the Eastern Orthodox Youth of the University of Florida organization was formed. It was during his years of service in Jacksonville that he was elevated to the rank of Sakellarios.
From 1971 to 1983, Fr. Frank was assigned to the St. Paul Parish in Savannah, GA, where he was elevated to the rank of Protopresbyteros. He also served the Orthodox faithful in Paris Island and the satellite parish of St. George in Brunswisk, GA. During his ministry in Savannah Fr. Frank was affectionately referred to as “The Pastor of all the citizens of Chatham County,” because of his extensive volunteer work with the county and mental health councils and with the Savannah Police Academy as instructor on “crisis intervention.” He organized the Chatham County Police Chaplains Program and served as Police Chaplain for over 10 years. Fr. Frank was Vice President of the Georgia Association of Police Chaplains, President of the Interdenominational Chatham County Clergy Conference, Co-Chairman of the Savannah Emergency Council, and served as one of the coordinators of the ‘Night In Old Savannah’, a community cultural event.
He received many recognitions and awards for his dedicated community work was honored to be part of a reception for Archbishop Iakovos at the White House. He organized the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Savannah Parish, and with parishioners and friends journeyed to the sister city of Savannah, Patras, Greece. In summer of 1981 and 1982 he assisted with the Ionian Village Youth Summer Camp Program in Greece.
In 1980, Father Frank lost his beloved wife, Presbytera Stella to cancer. In October of 1983, Fr. Frank relocated to the Bradenton/Sarasota area where he assumed his pastoral duties as the first full time priest to the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. With his spiritual leadership and the dedicated work of his parishioners, the building of the new church started with the Ground Blessing of Dec. 4, 1988 and the Thyranixia (Opening of the Doors) on December 7, 1991.
In addition to his service to the Church, in 1983, Fr. Frank was appointed by Sheriff Charlie Wells as Dept. Chaplain for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, a volunteer position, and served as Chaplain until his retirement from the force in 2008. For his dedication and service, in 1999 he was awarded the Robert Molter Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award.
With the dawn of the New Millennium the parish of St. Barbara was selected to host the 2001 Atlanta Metropolis Clergy Laity Conference. One of the highlights of the Conference was the elevation of our beloved pastor to serve as Archimandrite of the Holy Orthodox Church.
Since the Opening of the Church, Fr. Frank worked endlessly for the completion of all the iconography and mosaics in the interior of the Church.
After 55 years of service and 27 of those years as Pastor serving the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Parish, Fr. Frank retired on April 4, 2010 and continued to serve where there was a need for an Orthodox Priest. Also in 2010, he was recognized for his extraordinary service and was awarded the Metropolis of Atlanta Clergy Archangel Michael Award.
Fr. Frank was the epitome of love and unselfish devotion to his duties and his family and was an inspiration to all. His deep faith and wisdom, uplifting sermons, intense love for music, his reverent chanting, his smile and sense of humor, and his caring heart for his people and fellow man will be remembered by all who had the privilege to know, admire, and respect him. His legacy will live on in the generations he taught and in the lives he touched. Recently during the 30th Anniversary of the Building of the Church, the St. Barbara Community Center was named in honor of his many years of service.
Fr. Frank is survived by his sister, Millie Mougianis of Steubenville, Ohio, his daughter Maria Kirlangitis of Bradenton, his son Michael Kirlangitis and grandchildren, Morgan, Frank, Zachary and Mattea, his relatives in Athens, Greece, and his niece, Angie Kirsch and nephew Tony Mougianis of Steubenville, Ohio and many other family members and friends.
His Funeral Service was held on July 2, 2022 at the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 7671 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd. Sarasota
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in loving memory of Fr. Frank to the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church Endowment Fund.