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Metropolitan Silas (Koskinas) of Saranta Ekklesia (1919-2000) was a bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate serving in the United States. He served primarily as a deputy to Archbishop Iakovos of America, initially as auxiliary bishop for the New York region, and later as first bishop of the newly established Diocese of New Jersey.
Silas was born Savas Koskinas on December 27, 1919 on the island of Corfu. He was ordained as a deacon in 1941. In 1943 he graduated from the Theological School of the University of Athens with a degree in theology and was ordained a priest in the same year. Later, he served as a chaplain in the army of Greece. He arrived in the United States in 1946 and served in several parishes, including Albuquerque, New Mexico; New London, Connecticut; Boston, Massachusetts; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During his time in Boston, he taught at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (1951-1957.) Simultanously, he worked towards a master's in sacred theology at Boston University, receiving this degree in 1957.
He was elected by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as titular bishop of Amphipolis in 1960 and assigned to New Orleans as overseer of the Eighth Archdiocesan District. Five years later, he moved to New York and took charge of the First Archdiocesan District. He served in a variety of roles simultaneously, including chairman of the Archdiocesan Missions Program and member of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. He was also Orthodox chairman of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Theological Dialogue.
In the late 1970s, the Archdiocese of America was reorganized into separate dioceses, and Bishop Silas was elected bishop of New Jersey. He was enthroned on April 5, 1979 at the Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly, New Jersey. The offices of the diocese continued to be based at the headquaters of the Archdiocese of North and South American in New York City, and for all practical purposes, Bishop Silas continued to serve as an auxiliary to the archbishop. On January 24, 1980, he was elevated to metropolitan; however, it was stressed that this was a personal elevation and involved no change in the status of the diocese. In 1987 he was elected president of Holy Cross School of Theology and relocated to Boston, although he continued as the head of the New Jersey diocese. He remained president of the school until 1989.
In 1996, Metropolitan Silas was elected as metropolitan of Saranta Ekklesia, a titular see within the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was stressed in news reports that the metropolitan was "elevated" to the rank of "full" metropolitan. The practical effect was to relieve the metropolitan of his governance responsibilities for the New Jersey diocese. In his remaining years, he lived in Scarsdale, New York with his brother and sister-in-law.
Metropolitan Silas died on December 12, 2000 of a heart attack following surgery for a broken hip suffered in a fall at home. His body was interred near the chapel of Holy Cross School of Theology.
"Metropolitan Silas dies Dec. 12", The Orthodox Observer, Vol.65, #1128 (December 2000-January 2001.)
|Bishop of Amphipolis|
newly created diocese
|Bishop (Metropolitan) of New Jersey|
|Metropolitan of Saranta Ekklesia|