Eternal Memory: +Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis (1941-2024)

eternal-memory-fr-emmanuel-hatzidakis-1941-2024 / January 13, 2024

Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis

Orthodox Witness founder, Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis, reposed in the Lord on January 9, 2024 in Chania, Crete, Greece.

Born November 20, 1941 in Chania, Crete, Fr. Emmanuel was the son of Ioannis and Eleni (Fandaki) Hatzidakis. He graduated from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in 1989 with a Master’s of Divinity degree. He also held a Bachelor’s Degree in Classics from Oberlin College (1972) and did graduate level studies in Classics at the University of Chicago (1973). In 1965 he received a Licenza from the International Institute of St. Paul in Rome. Read the full story here.

Before his ordination, he worked as an insurance underwriter and agent. He was also Protopsalti at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis, MO.

Fr. Emmanuel served as a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America from 1988 to 2019. In 2019 he was received by ROCOR by Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of blessed memory (+2022), and was with ROCOR until his repose.

Fr. Emmanuel was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Iakovos (Krinis) of Chicago in 1988 and served in parishes in Huntington, WV; Rocky River, OH; Swansea, IL; Chicago, IL; Columbia, MO; and Clearwater, FL. He also served as a visiting priest in the diocese of Kythera, Greece, under Metropolitan Seraphim.

In 2001, Fr. Emmanuel founded Orthodox Witness, a ministry dedicated to Orthodox Evangelism that brought together dedicated individuals from parishes of different jurisdictions. Annual outreach seminars were hosted in the St. Louis Metropolitan area from 2002-2007.

He authored two books, The Heavenly Banquet: Understanding the Divine Liturgy and Jesus: Fallen? The Human Nature of Christ Examined from an Eastern Orthodox Perspective, and published three original Orthodox Christmas plays: Prophecies Announcing Christ, Daniel and the Three Holy Youths, and Christmas Eve. Other unpublished books, music, translations, and articles will, God willing, be forthcoming. Over 200 of Fr. Emmanuel’s articles have been published on “Over the Rooftops” since 2001.

Fr. Emmanuel was a pioneer in making English translations of Greek church hymns fit their original melodies. He rendered the Resurrectional Apolytikia and Theotokia, Apolytikia of Saints and Feasts, Prosomia, Evlogitaria, and more.

Fr. Emmanuel was gifted with a beautiful tenor singing voice, which he downplayed by saying that others have the higher, spiritual gifts. He enjoyed gathering others around him to sing. He enjoyed nature and photography. He had a dry sense of humor and enjoyed reading comics delivered to his inbox every morning.

Fr. Emmanuel is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara; three children, Joy-Eleni (Dimitris), Anthony and Christina; and three grandchildren, Nicolas, Eleonora and Alexandra; and two siblings, Ioannis (Markella) Hatzidakis and Olga (+Nick) Packis; he was preceded by an infant son, John; and brother, George (Katina) Petrakis.

His funeral took place on January 11th at St. John the Theologian cemetery church in Kotsiana, Crete, the village where he was born.

Fr. Emmanuel had moved back to Crete with his Presbytera and son about one year prior to his repose after living for over 50 years in the United States.

May our merciful Lord Jesus Christ forgive all of his sins, number his soul among the righteous, and rest it in the bosom of Abraham.

May his memory be eternal!!!

A tribute to his life is forthcoming.
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