Source: The National Herald
CLEVELAND – Presvytera Nikki Stephanopoulos, passed away at her home in Beachwood, Ohio on September 29, 2023 at the age of 90. Her husband, the Rev. Dr. Robert G. Stephanopoulos was by her side. Born in Minnesota, Presbytera Nikki was a public relations dynamo and a mentor to many women, and men, who served the Church alongside of her.
The daughter of Andrew and Margaret Chafos from Rochester, Minnesota, Presvytera Nikki graduated from Rochester High School and the University of Minnesota before moving to New York City with the Campus Crusade for Freedom. She met her future husband, Fr. Robert, a young seminarian, at a church youth convention, and they embarked on a shared journey of faith and family for more than sixty years.
The couple spent their first year in Athens, where Nikki edited the Athens Daily Post. They settled in their first parish — Saint Demetrios in Fall River, MA, where their four children were born. After eight years at the Church of our Savior in Rye, New York, they moved to Saint Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Cleveland for eight years. During that time, Nikki edited The Voice (a Greek-American newspaper in Cleveland) and was the founding editor of The Illuminator, the newspaper of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In 1982, Father Stephanopoulos was appointed Dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City, and Nikki joined the Archdiocese. She was the editor of the Orthodox Observer and became Director of the Office of News and Information/Public Relations. During this time she also served as the Orthodox press liaison in the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches, and the press officer for the visits of Ecumenical Patriarchs Dimitrios and Bartholomew on their 1990 and 1997 visits respectively to the United States.
Presvytera Stephanopoulos is survived by Father Robert, their four children, Mother Agapia, George, Marguarite and Andrew, her daughter in law Alexandra Wentworth, and her granddaughters Elliott Anastasia and Harper Andrea Stephanopoulos. Sharing their lives was her joy.
Upon learning of the passing of Presvytera Nikki, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America expressed the sadness and the appreciation of the Archdiocese saying: “Presvytera Nikki was a pillar of our Archdiocese for decades, and her passing into eternal glory is as much a loss for us, as it is a gain for her. I extend the deepest condolences of the Holy Eparchial Synod and the entire Archdiocese to Father Robert, an exceptional clergyman of our Church, and to her children and grandchildren. We shall always treasure her manifold contributions to our Church and with a heavy yet grateful heart we pray, may her memory be eternal.”
Meanwhile former Archbishop Demetrios issued the following statement:
“Presvytera Nikki has been a faithful and creative worker in the Archdiocese, covering as Director the important field of News and Information. She has offered in an insightful and amiable way, her service in the various tasks of the Church which needed her contribution; and she has been an excellent liaison with significant journalists in the New York area. Upon her retirement, Presvytera Nikki has our wholehearted thanks and our warm prayers for abundant blessing from God.”
Presvytera Nikki Stephanopoulos began working for the Archdiocese in 1983 as a feature editor for the Orthodox Observer, soon after that she became the Director of the Office of News and Information/Public Relations, the position from which she is retiring. She also served as the editor of the LOGHIA magazine and the IOCC Newsletter (1992-94), and as the public relations director of Leadership 100 (1993-95).
Presvytera Stephanopoulos represented the Archdiocese and served in various capacities in many organizations including the National Interfaith Cable Coalition and National Council of Churches where she is a member of the governing board. She has also served in the boards of the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, the Garret-Medill Center for Religion and News Media, the Council of Churches of the City of New York and the organization Religion in American Life (RIAL). Prior to her tenure at the Archdiocese and from 1955 to 1982 Presvytera Nikki worked as the assistant director and director of College Crusade for Freedom, the editor of the Athens Daily Post, the editor of The Voice (a Greek-American Newspaper in Cleveland) and was the founding editor of the Illuminator, the newspaper of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
She had an active role as an Orthodox press liaison in the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches (Canberra, Australia, 1991), and as press officer for the Pilgrimage of Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios in the United States in 1991, and the Visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the U.S. in 1997. She was the editor for various Archdiocese publications including Iakovos: The Making of an Archbishop (1996), Patriarch Dimitrios in the USA (1991), Tell the Good News…Public Information and Outreach (1991), the 30th, 35th and 37th Clergy-Laity Congress Albums, the Yearbook (2001-08) and various publications of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
Funeral services will be held at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3352 Mayfield Road, Cleveland Hts., OH on Monday, October 2, 2023 at 12 noon. A traditional Makaria luncheon will be offered at the Cathedral following the burial at Lakeview Cemetery. The family will receive visitors at the Cathedral on Monday, October 2 from 10:00 am – 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral Foundation.