Chrysostomos II Kioussis
Chrysostomos II (Greek: Χρυσόστομος Β′; October 8, 1920 – September 19, 2010), born Athanassios Kioussis (Αθανάσιος Κιούσης), was the Archbishop of Athens and of all Greece of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece from 1986 until his death.
Chrysostomos II was born on October 8, 1920, at Erythres of Megara (also known as Kriekouki) where he spent his childhood. Eventually his family moved to the city of Lavrio. While a student, he would frequent around many churches and monasteries and, ultimately, grow fond of Byzantine music. Quite frequently, during the great holidays of the Orthodox calendar, he would travel from Lavrio to Erythres in order to chant at his village’s church where the Orthodox Traditionalists would congregate and conduct the Divine services (at times, without even the presence of a priest, for they were small in number in comparison to the needs of the parishes). He completed his secondary education at the age of 17.
Fulfilling parental wishes, he sat for the examinations at the Hellenic Military Academy where he would embark on a career in the military. However, he became inflicted by pleuritis which later transformed into a lighter form of tuberculosis. This became the reason for him to follow his own dream instead of his father’s and take the road towards monasticism. He spent the remaining time recuperating and studying on his own at his own home during the Greco-Italian War as well as the later Axis Occupation of Greece.
Priesthood and episcopacy
Right after the liberation of Greece, he was tonsured into the male monastery of the Evangelist of Athikion at Corinth under the abbacy of the current, at the time, Archimandrite Kallistos Makris, who later became the Metropolitan of Corinth. During the Greek Civil War, the monastery was caught in the crossfire, but Kioussis survived. He was ordained a priest in 1947 by the Bishop of the Cyclades, Germanos, and due to his infirmary he briefly led a private life while servicing for a couple of years the Faithful of Erythrai and Villia. Wearing the great schema, he was tonsured into the Great Schema at the Monastery of Kosmosotiros (World-Savior) in 1948 by the Gerontas Theokletos Darademas.
During the years 1951-1953 the persecution of the Old Calendarists by the established Church under Archbishop Spyridon broke out. The hierarchs were exiled. The churches were shut down and priests were captured and defrocked while expelled and scorned by the police authorities. On the eve of the Annunciation, the Bishop of the Cyclades, Germanos, died. Archbishop Spyridon forbade his ecclesiastic burial and deeming him an unworthy successor of Caiaphas, he ordered that the corpse of the deceased be guarded at the Saint Helen clinic (where he was transferred from jail while breathing his last) as to deter the prospect of conducting a burial service by a True Orthodox priest. During the same period, then Archimandrite (now Archbishop) Chrysostomos Kiousis was secretly hiding as to avoid being captured and defrocked by police authorities, by conducting liturgies in country chapels or in the apartments of faithful Christians who had transformed them into catacombs and by moving around only during the night and with great caution. In 1951, in one of those catacombs, he conducted a Vigil to the Annunciation of the Theotokos along with the Archmandrite Petros Astyfides (later Bishop of Astoria, USA) in memory of the Bishop Germanos. Suddenly, at 2 am, there was a knock on the door! Fortunately, it wasn’t the police. They were members of the Youth branch of the Genuine Orthodox Church who were seeking a priest to secretly conduct a burial ceremony since they had already convinced the guard of the deceased to “shut his eyes.” Archimandrite Petros continued the Vigil while Archimandrite Chrysostomos went to the funeral of the monk-priest. While the funeral was reaching its end, the police guard who was faithfully participating, warned that the time had come for him to be relieved. Indeed, while the priest and his entourage were heading for their car, he was noticed by the oncoming police guards. Thus a police pursuit broke out. However, Pericles, who was the priest’s experienced driver, drove through the intricate streets of Athens and managed to escape and, thus, keep Archimandrite Chrysostomos from being captured and defrocked.
In 1956, he assumed the responsibilities of the General Secretary of the Church Committee which had taken over the leadership of the Church after the death of Chrysostomos (former Archbishop of Florina). With the authorization of the Church Committee he traveled by train to Germany and France along with the monk-priest Akakios Pappas (current Metropolitan of Attica and Diavleia) in order to come to an agreement with the Bishops of the Russian Diaspora, Alexander and John (Maximovich), with the goal of consecrating Bishops for the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece from the Russians but without ever accomplishing that goal, for they were referred to the Metropolitan of the Russian Diaspora in America, Anastassy (Gribabovsky). Initially, from the entire clergy body (namely 105 clergymen), he was voted to the Episcopal rank along with his co-presbyters Akakios Pappas and Chrysostomos Naslimis. He worked diligently until the agreement with the Russian Diaspora in America regarding the consecration of both the Gerontas Akakios Pappas and the remaining ordained archpriests was achieved. After that, he spent his private time at the Holy Monastery of the Panachrandou at Megara, which he himself founded, during which he would occasionally offer his services at the church as a secretary.
In 1971, he was consecrated the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki while, simultaneously, undertaking the pastorship of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and working hard with all his might on the organization of his Diocese until 1986 when he was elected the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece - a position which he held until his death while presiding over the twelve member Holy Synod of the True Orthodox Church.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II is the first Archbishop of the G.O.C. who received official recognition from the highest authority of his country (in the person of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos on 8-6-1998).
The Archbishop of Athens Chrysostomos II died on September 19, 2010.