Father Alex Karloutsos, the strongman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, announced on Thursday his retirement from the position of the Vicar General.
In a letter to Archibishop Elpidophoros he mentions that he had submitted his retirement last year when he turned 75, but “it was not accepted”.
However this year he insisted and finally his “request” was approved by the Archbishop and so he will retire from active ministry on May 3, 2021.
He stresses however, that he “will retire but not retreat.”
Karloutsos says that he will stay in charge of establishing the “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation for a brief period, by continuing his role “as a spiritual advisor of the Order of St.Andrew”.
He will also continue as a spiritual advisor of the Friends of St.Nicholas.
And finally, he will do his part to organize the upcoming visit of Bartholomew to the US in the fall.
“Presbytera Xanthi and I have done our best to serve the National and International Church over the past 51 years,” Karloutsos says and adds:
“We both feel it is the right time to do our best for our local Church in the Hamptons and have more precious time with our children and grandchildren.”
Karloutsos among the most prominent religious leaders
The resignation of Father Karloutsos signals an end of an era for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
Karloutsos is among the most prominent religious figures in the United States. He holds liasonships, advisory roles and is a counselor to some of our nation’s highest decision-makers.
He was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States with his family at a young age.
His father, a priest himself, traveled the U.S. sharing God’s message. When Father Alex was in his earliest years of life, his mother tragically passed, leaving his father to raise their six children.
Starting as an assistant priest at Sts. Constantine and Helen in Chicago in 1970, where he was active in youth ministries.
Some years later, he was appointed to the position of Archdiocesan Director of Youth Ministry and moved the headquarters to New York.
Later in the ’70s, Father Alex became the Archdiocesan Director of the Office of the Church and Society, where he served until 1980, when he then assumed the role of Director of the Department of Communications.
In just a short time, he went from a local priest, to being one of the most recognizable names in the Greek Orthodox Church.
Karloutsos and President Biden
In a recent interview with Greek Reporter, Father Karloutsos said that has known eight Presidents throughout his tenure, but as he says, among all of them, President-elect Joe Biden is “his closest friend.”
Father Karloutsos says he met Biden through the influential Greek-American politicians Paul Sarbanes and John Brademas.
“(Biden) has been to my church in the Hamptons twice and the Archons honored him when he received the Athenagoras Human Rights Award. He’s visited the Archdiocese and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, so I know him very well and it’s a real blessing to know him.”
The most striking characteristic of Biden is that he is an empath, Karloutsos says.
“He’s a person who has suffered greatly, and because of that he always has a sense of intimacy.
“When he reaches out to you, he looks you right in the eyes as if you are the only person in the room, because Joe Biden is unique that way. He understands the person’s suffering and that the person is in need.”