Fr. Constantine Mathews - Greek Orthodox Retired Clergy Association
Fr. Mathews was born in the town of Kerasia, Fokidos, Greece, on May 21, 1930. He attended high school in the towns of Lidorikion and Nafpaktos and received his diploma in 1949.
From 1950 to 1953, he served as Town Council secretary of Kerasia. During this period, he was very involved in the planning and construction of a new church to replace the one which had been destroyed by the guerillas. Also, from 1951 to 1953, Fr. Mathews was appointed by the Governor of Fokidos to serve as a regional secretary for the Marshall Plan and, in this capacity, was responsible for the development of area infrastructure.
In 1953, he was drafted into the Greek National Army, where he served as a Supply Manager of the 965th Military Police Company, achieving the rank of Corporal. He was honorably discharged in 1954.
In May 1955, Fr. Mathews immigrated to the United States, settling in Middletown, Ohio. He eventually became a partner in a local business, Head to Toe Service. While in Middletown, he served the local Greek parish, Sts. Constantine and Helen, as a cantor, and as an officer of both the church Sr. G.O.Y.A. and the local AHEPA. He was also the area representative of the Greek-American newspaper, the National Greek Tribune of Detroit, in which many of his articles appeared in both Greek and in English. Fr. Mathews received a second high school diploma from Middletown High School in 1960 and also pursued additional studies at an extension of Miami University of Oxford, Ohio.
In 1964, Fr. Mathews returned to Athens, Greece, to study theology at the Kapodistriakon University. In 1969, he received his university diploma and was married to Anna Christoforides, the daughter of a priest from the island of Imbros. That same year, by order of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, he was ordained a Deacon and a Presbyter in Athens, Greece, by His Grace Bishop Germanos of Synadon.
On September 28, 1969, Fr. Mathews was assigned by Archbishop Iakovos as the parish priest of St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Church in South Bend, Indiana, where he served until January 1978. During his eight-and-a-half year ministry at Saint Andrew's, he helped institute several successful programs, including the fair-share pledge system, in 1973. He also actively participated in the Clergy Association of the South Bend area, the Council of Churches and the United Religious Community, in which he served as a Member of the Executive Board for two years (1976-1977). In addition, he was instrumental in the community’s relocation program, for which construction began in May 1977. During this period, Fr. Mathews also attended the University of Notre Dame, from which he received a Master's Degree in Theology (Liturgical Studies) in August 1977.
On January 15, 1978, Fr. Mathews was assigned by Archbishop Iakovos as the parish priest of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Stamford, Connecticut, where he was to serve for over thirty-three years.
During his time as presiding priest of the Annunciation, the community achieved many milestones. Among these was the construction of a new house of worship, which began in August 1987. On November 17, 1991, the community celebrated the official opening (Thyranoixia) of the new church and. The iconography was completed in 2003 and, in November 2008, the new church was consecrated by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. In November 2005, the Annunciation held an event to celebrate its 100th anniversary at which Fr. Mathews was honored.
Fr. Mathews has published numerous religious articles in local newspapers, as well as in the Orthodox Observer. In 2007, he also published a book, entitled Eastern Orthodoxy Compared: Her Main Teachings and Significant Differences with Roman Catholicism and the Major Protestant Denominations. Fr. Mathews frequently lectures to both Orthodox and non-Orthodox audiences about the Orthodox faith and served for many years on the Greek Orthodox Spiritual Court of the Connecticut District. He has also been an active member of the local Council of Churches and Synagogues, serving on its Executive Board for two years.
On February 4, 1990, the offices of Father Confessor and Economos were bestowed upon Fr. Mathews by His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Dorylaion (now Metropolitan of Central America and the Caribbean), by order of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. On November 17, 1991, at the Thyranoixia of the Annunciation, the office of Protopresbyter was bestowed upon him by Archbishop Iakovos. On the occasion of his retirement, on June 30, 2011, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios also bestowed upon him the office of Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne.
Fr. Mathews and Presbytera Anna have two sons: Vasilios, an orthopedic surgeon, married with three children, and Nikiforos, a lawyer, married with two children.