His Beatitude Seraphim (Tikas), Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, was the head of the Church of Greece from 1974-1998. While he was conservative and anti-intellectual, he was extremely popular due to his down-to-earth nature. His tenure was during the transition between Greece's military dictatorship and democratic government.
Archbishop Seraphim was born Vissarion Tikas (Greek, Βησσαρίων Τίκας) in Artesianon, Greece, on the August 15, 1913. He attended the University of Athens, graduating with a degree in theology in 1940.
In 1936, Vissarion was tonsured a [monk]] at the Pendeli Monastery with the name Seraphim. He was consecrated a deacon by Abp. Damaskinos of Athens and was assigned to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Neo Iraklio.
Fr. Seraphim was active in the Greek resistance to Nazi occupation, fighting with the non-communist Greek resistance group, the National Republican Greek League (Greek: Εθνικός Δημοκρατικός Ελληνικός Σύνδεσμος, Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos, abbreviated EDES). He also established soup kitchens and orphanages.
Fr. Seraphim, in 1949, was consecrated a bishop with the see of Arta; later, in 1958, he was moved to the see of Ioannina. As Bishop of Ioannina, he responded to the governmental suppression of the Greek minority's religious practices in southern Albania, taking up their cause. Aside from this, he supported guerrilla warfare for the union of Cyprus with Greece in the 1950s.
Bishop Seraphim, in the final months of the military dictatorship in Greece, 1974, was elected and elevated to Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. He was able to keep his post when the dictatorship ended and democratic government was restored.
Abp. Seraphim would go on to clash with government leaders in resisting societal changes due to a lessening of the church's influence. While these protests were generally unsuccessful, in the mid-1980s he was victorious in preventing the government from expropriating church landholdings.
In the last years of his archepiscopacy, Abp. Seraphim's service was notable for his opposition to Roman Catholic missionary activities in Eastern Europe and even to other Orthodox leaders, and also by resisting his bishops' requests for resignation.
Abp. Seraphim reposed in Athens, Greece, on the April 10, 1998.
|Bishop of Arta|
|Bishop of Ioannina|
|Archbishop of Athens|