Obituaries

Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis

December 29, 1935 - March 25, 2019

Stylianos Harkianakis was born in Rethymno on the island of Crete, Greece, on 29 December 1935. 
He sadly passed away after a lengthy illness in Sydney on 25 March 2019, on the Holy Day of the Annunciation of the Theotokos. 
2019, after nearly 44 years of service in Australia.  Stylianos Harkianakis' wooden casket was lowered into the ground at the Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney (as promised).

Australia’s most senior Greek Orthodox leader, Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis, has died. The 83-year-old primate of the Greek Orthodox church of Australia died Monday 25 March 2019 at 6pm after a long battle with cancer , according to a statement from the Greek Orthodox archdiocese of Australia. He was elected Archbishop of Australia in 1975 and founded the Greek Orthodox education system in Australia.

Tributes have poured in from leaders including the prime minister, Scott Morrison, opposition leader, Bill Shorten, as well as state premiers Daniel Andrews and Gladys Berejiklian. “His distinguished service and leadership to the Greek Australian community will be greatly missed,” Morrison tweeted. “Archbishop Stylianos was a dedicated faith leader who served both the church and the Greek Australian community with humanity and a strong sense of social justice,” the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia chair, Mary Patetsos, said. “His eminence was also a man who worked to build bridges between communities, showing strong international leadership in orthodoxy as well as promoting interfaith relations in Australia.” Archbishop Stylianos led half a million Greek Orthodox Australians, serving as the most senior figure in the church of Australia since 1975.

Born in Crete, he was ordained into the priesthood in 1958. His doctoral thesis, submitted to the University of Athens in 1965, was entitled “The Infallibility of the Church in Orthodox Theology”. Harkianakis was unanimously elected Archbishop of Australia. He taught Orthodox theology and spirituality at the University of Sydney. He was also recognised as a prolific essayist and poet, having published 37 collections of poetry in Greek, with some translated.