The Lonely Path of Integrity
Stone Studio

The Greek Press - April 12, 2001

Justine Frangouli-Argyris

The Lonely Path of Integrity

By Antonis Vazintaris

A distinguished member of our community, a journalist, a member of the Athens Union of Daily Newspaper Journalists and a newspaper and magazine correspondent living in this country, Ms Justine Frangouli-Argyri has dealt with an usually interesting personality: Archbishop Spyridon whose ministry as Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, 1996-1999, has left its mark on a whole series of actions, events and situations in the Greek American community and beyond. The Lonely Path of Integrity is a biographical piece of literature in which the author sketches the Archbishop's personality and ministry.

In this particularly painstaking study, the biographer Ms Justine Frangouli-Argyris begins with her subject's childhood and then depicts for her readers the course of his reflections and thoughts, his intensive and exhaustive studies, his ministry and life in various countries given that in the course of nature he was compelled to move from place to place in order to respond to the needs of his inner interests and quests.

Archbishop Spyridon, born George Papageorge, through intense study and creative effort proved capable of dealing with all difficulties and social adversities encountered and became a personality of strong character, widely-read and multilingual. As his biographer, relying on testimony and documentation, tells us, Patriarchs and secular figures alike saw in him a future Archbishop of America. Thus, after a long and successful period of ministry to the Church and Greek people in Italy, as a priest and then as a bishop, Spyridon became Archbishop of America in 1996, where he ministered to the Greek-American community until 1999.

"Ecumenism" brought Spyridon into contact with many other figures from non-Orthodox churches. Together, they attended meetings, conversed and tried to find constructive solutions to existing problems.

Various trends, ambitions, power games, "financial interests" of laymen and clergy alike, decisions and acts of "expediency", ecclesiastical and perhaps political as well, pulled the carpet from beneath Spyridon producing a climate of confrontations and unpleasant situations that inevitably ended in his removal from the archiepiscopal throne of America.

In my view, every member of the Greek community wishing to form an opinion of his own and actively participate in the life of the Greek American community, must read this book which, moreover, is a significant piece of writing and a valuable document for future historians.

The Lonely Path of Integrity is a volume of 352 pages based on testimony and official documents. The author in offering her readers this biography for study, leaves it to them to draw their own conclusions. The biographer employs a journalistic language that is easy to read and, at the same time, a source of refreshment. Exandas Publishers and the author, Ms Justine Frangouli-Argyri, are testimony to today's column.

[Translated from Greek]