Hartford's Gift to Orthodoxy
By Dr. James C. Rouman, Secretary
Parish Council

The time was Saturday April 2 the day before Palm Sunday of the Eastern Orthodox Church also known as the Saturday of Lazarus, which in the calendar foretells the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The place was the cathedral of St. George in Hartford, CT, the spiritual home of the city's Greek community. The event was the ordination of one of the parish's own members into the first of the three orders of priesthood In the Orthodox faith. And it was a very special occasion because the person entering the clergy was Sarantis Loulakis, who after many years both as a member and president of the St George Parish Council, was now committing himself to a life in the service of his church.

Born In Yennadi on the Greek Island of Rhodes, Loulakis arrived in the United States as a teenage immigrant, attended schools In the area, subsequently married, raised a family and established himself in Bloomfield, CT as a restaurateur. However, his childhood thoughts of one day becoming a priest never completely left him, and under the spiritual guidance of his parish priest, Fr. Chrysostom Maniudakis and with a scholarship In hand from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, he sold his business and enrolled at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary In Brookline, Massachusetts to pursue his youthful dream.

The ordination was performed by His Grace Bishop Savas of Troas, chancellor the Archdiocese of New York, who on his first pastoral visit to the Hartford community was assisted on this occasion by several area priests, three deacons and an array of acolytes. In a brilliant and moving ceremony Sarantis Loulakis was ordained in the presence of his family, visiting faculty members, follow seminarians and the community which he so faithfully served.

Following the liturgical event, a luncheon reception for the newly ordained deacon was hosted by Hartford's Yonnadian Society in the cathedral hall, where he was greeted by numerous individuals who presented him with gifts marking this special moment in the life of a unique citizen of Greater Hartford and more specifically, the Greek community of St. George.