Fr. Christ Kontos with Fr. Anastasios Bourantas. Photo: Steve Lambrou
BROOMALL, PA – On November 7, Saint Luke Greek Orthodox Church stewards, friends and family gathered to honor and celebrate Rev. Father Christ Kontos’ 30-year anniversary in the priesthood. Although this month marked Fr. Kontos’ 21st year at St. Luke in Broomall, this was also a belated celebration of his 20th anniversary which did not take place in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
Fr. Kontos came to St. Luke in November 2000 and in his tenure, the community grew by twenty percent, the final stage of the church beautification was completed and a state-of-the-art education center with 12 classrooms and Social Hall was built.
There were over 300 attendees at the celebration. The mood was festive and felt very much like a family reunion for the community. Amongst the line-up of presenters during the event were the current and year 2000 presidents of the Parish Council and Ladies Philoptochos Society, Sunday School, GOYA, Greek School, and Altar Boy coordinator. The Greek School students and teachers performed an original song about Fr. Kontos that left the crowd laughing.
Rev. Father Anastasios Bourantas attended the celebration and read a letter from the His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia. Fr. Bourantas paid tribute to Fr. Kontos and his family, saying “priests don’t grow on trees. We wish they did, because then there would be no shortage. Priests come from families. Father Christ you have been born of a wonderful family that has raised you in the faith, that has given you all the characteristics and attributes of being not only a fine man, a fine husband, a wonderful father, but also a blessed priest.”
The chairman of the event Deme Gregory Peters told the story of a chance encounter with Presbytera Michelle Kontos just months before the family moved to Pennsylvania. This was followed with a warm recognition of Michelle’s hard work and the family’s sacrifices during their service at St. Luke. The presentation drew thunderous applause for Presbytera Michelle who is respected and beloved by the community.
The event ended with a video montage of over 50 video clips of members paying tribute to Fr. Kontos for his ministry by recounting the personal stories of how he touched their families through weddings, 40-day blessings, baptisms, hospital visits, chrismations, and his support during personal tribulations and struggles. There was a consistent theme through the presentations and the videos of the deep compassion and love Fr. Kontos has shown both young and old during his ministry at St. Luke.
In the closing remarks, Niki Thompson, Stewardship Development Chair, reminded the attendees of the powerful message Fr. Kontos uses in many sermons, to simply “pause, pause to be in God’s nearness. Pause to not allow the stresses of life to affect our closeness with our families. Pause to love those that are hard to love.”
On that Sunday the community did indeed pause to celebrate Fr. Kontos and to thank God for placing him in their graces. AXIOS!
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