Fr. Alexander Veronis
Rev. Alexander Veronis, D.D., Protopresbyter was born September 7, 1932 in Paterson, N.J. to his Cretan immigrant parents, Angeliki & Nicholas Veronis (Vreonakis), who came to the USA in 1920. He was the fifth of six children.
Pastor for 43 years (1961-2004) of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Lancaster, PA. Part Time Assistant Priest in the same parish (2004 to 2009).
- 1954 B.A. Lafayette College, 1958 B.D. Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, 1960 S.T.M. Boston University School of Theology, 1961 Licentiate in Orthodox Theology, University of Athens,
- 1966 and 1975 Missiological & Biblical Studies, Lancaster Theological Seminary
Has served as President of the following organizations: Lancaster Ministerium, Lancaster Interfaith Clergy Association, Lancaster Adult Enrichment Center (5 years), National Presbyters Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North & South America, Diocese of Pittsburgh St. John Chrysostom Clergy Brotherhood, Orthodox Council of Churches of South Central Pennsylvania (10 years), the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Mission Center Board, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center Board. He headed the Lancaster CROP HUNGER WALK of Church World Service for 36 years, raising four million dollars to stop hunger in Lancaster and in 80 countries.
In 1962, he originated a Foreign Missions Program at Annunciation Church in Lancaster which evolved into the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of N. & S. America Mission Center (1985) and into the pan-Orthodox Christian Mission Center (1995) under SCOBA. He is presently President Emeritus of the OCMC Board. With the blessing of Archbishop Iakovos, he arranged numerous lecture tours to America for foreign students and Church leaders to speak about their mission churches and to introduce them to Orthodox Christians of America. Among them were Father Theodore Nankyamas of Uganda, who later became the Metropolitan of Uganda, Fr. Paul DeBallester a former Spanish Franciscan monk who converted to Orthodoxy and became the Bishop of Mexico, Dr. Andreas Tillyrides of Cyprus, presently the Metropolitan of Kenya, Mama Stravitsa Zachariou , who spent 30 years in East Africa as a missionary and built 20 stone Orthodox churches, Metropolitan Jonah of Uganda, Bishop Soterios Trambas of Korea, Fr. Joseph Kwame Labi of Ghana, Fr. Athanasios (Amos) Akunda and Fr. Anastasios (Elikiah) Kihali of Kenya, and many others. Some longtime co-workers of Fr. Veronis in these mission efforts were Bishop Silas of Amphipolis, Fr. Alexander Doumouras, Bishop Dimitrios (Couchell) of Xanthos, Fr. Martin Ritsi, Fr. Luke Veronis, Teresa Polychronis, Cliff Argue, Helen Nicozisis.
EFOM (Endowment Fund for Orthodox Missions) was established in 1981 by friends and parishioners “in honor of Father Alexander and Presvytera Pearl Veronis” to raise one million dollars for an Endowed Chair of Missions at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and for the promotion of missions.
Fr. & Presvytera Veronis have served missions in Kenya, Albania (3 times) on fact-finding tours, in Russia (St. Petersburg), in Mexico and in Geneva, Switzerland and San Antonio, Texas as Orthodox delegates at WCC Mission & Evangelism Commission Conferences.
Long Term Missionaries from Annunciation Church (Lancaster): Fr. Luke & Presvytera Faith (Stathis) Veronis to Africa (2 years) and Albania (10 years), Fr. Hector & Presvytera Katerina (Maillis) Firoglanis to Africa and Albania (2 years). 85 short term missionaries from the parish have served on OCMC summer missions in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Russia, Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, India and other countries.
Parochial and Ecumenical Ministries
Parish Bible Studies
He taught and maintained five to seven Bible Studies all through his ministry, in both Greek and English and preached two sermons (English and Greek) and one children’s sermon each Sunday. He impersonated 20 biblical personalities in the form of sermons annually on Good Friday. STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM: He initiated a Christian Stewardship Program in the parish in 1965, with an emphasis on tithing. Stewardship giving at Annunciation Church increased significantly. Spiritual Life Retreats: He and Presvytera Pearl conducted Orthodox Retreats in St.
Joseph’s Convent of Lancaster for 20 years, as well as Retreats on Missions and Spiritual Life in Greek Orthodox parishes around the USA. With Ernest Villas and Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, he co-chaired three National Spiritual Life & Renewal Conferences for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Boston. He chaired the Committee on Ecumenical Relations of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches for four years and served as Vice-President of the Lancaster County Council of Churches. SEMINARS GIVEN: He has given annual seminars on missions and the pastoral ministry at St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary, at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and at Biennial Clergy-Laity Congresses of the GOA, in the Diocese (Metropolis) of Pittsburgh and, with Presvytera Pearl, in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada. BOARD SERVICE: He served on the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox.School of Theology Board of Trustees (25 years), the GOA & OCMC Mission Boards (41 years), the Pennsylvania Council of Churches Board (6 years), the Lancaster County Council of Churches Board (6 years), the Adult Enrichment Center Board of the Lancaster School District (5 years). Orthodox Chaplain: Served as the Orthodox Chaplain of the Veterans Administrative Hospital in Coatesville, PA (25 years) and as the College Orthodox Chaplain: of the OCF for 40 years at Franklin & Marshall College and at Millersville University, and as Co-Director and Chaplain at summer camps of the Diocese (Metropolis) of Pittsburgh for 32 years.
ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE Served on the Overview Committee that published the first OSB.
Eleven Priests and eight Presvyteres have come out of the Annunciation Church of Lancaster, PA
Awards & Honors
“Adult Enrichment Center Leadership Award” of Lancaster School District. “Citation for Pastoral Ministry” (1983) from the class of 1958 of Holy Cross School of Theology “The Father Alexander Veronis Mission Center” (1988) named after him by the GOA Board of Missions; Church World Service honored him and presvytera with “The Father Alexander & Pearl Veronis Fund for Hunger”, 1993 Doctor of Divinity (Honorary Degree), Lebanon Valley College “The LCCC Steve Mentzer Award” for Leadership & Service in the ecumenical community.
(2002) “Distinguised Ministry Leadership Award” from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Alumni Society at the 39th Clergy-Laity Congress in Washington, D.C. (July 2008), “Excellence in Ecumenical Relations Award” from the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches in the USA and CWS in Denver, CO (November 2008)
His Published Articles on Orthodox Missions appear in various publications (Greek Orthodox Theological Review, International Missions Journals, the “Orthodox Observer”, “Porefthendes”).
Fr. Alexander Veronis is married to Presvytera Pearl (Panayiota) Kacandes Veronis, his vibrant partner and co-worker of 50 years, who has been involved in all aspects of their combined parish ministry. They have five children: Nicholas, George, Rebecca, Fr. Luke, Catherine (all married) Fourteen grandchildren: Dr. Erika, Leisa, Alexander, Sarah, Elizabeth, Rachel, Nikitas, Pari, Peter, Sophia, Paul, Theodora, Panayiota, Nicholas