V. Rev. Fr. Anastasios Gounaris, Dean
Anastasios Gounaris was born on May 29, 1957, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He is the oldest of four sons of Antonios Gounaris, who grew up on the island of Andros, Greece, and of Helen Simeonidis, the daughter of Greek immigrant parents from the region of Iconium (Konya) in Asia Minor. From a young age his interests centered on reading, the space program, and the sea. As young “Taso” grew he was determined that he would reach for the stars as an astronaut — a goal that he strove for by excelling in mathematics and the sciences.
On the parish front, Anastasios was active as an altar boy and GOYA member. He also assisted his parish chanters, starting at the age of sixteen. During undergraduate years he served on the Council of his home parish of St. George in New Bedford.
Graduating with highest honors from New Bedford High School in 1975, Anastasios attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on a full state scholarship as an electrical engineering major. In 1977 he was a participant in the Archdiocese’s Ionian Village Spiritual Odyssey program, serving as a counselor and tour guide at the Ionian Village during the summer of 1979. Shortly after receiving his BS from the University of Massachusetts in 1979, he embarked on his studies at Holy Cross School of Theology, receiving his Masters in Divinity in 1983. During his time at Holy Cross he served as teaching assistant to renowned Orthodox patristic scholar Dr. Panayotis Christou and Holy Cross Canon Law professor Lewis Patsavos. There he also met his future wife, Maria Sinodinou, niece of the late Bishop Philip (Koutoufas) of Atlanta. They were married in June 1983.
Anastasios was ordained a deacon by Bishop Philip on September 11, 1983 in his home parish of St. George. Two weeks later on September 25, 1983, he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Spyridon Church in Washington Heights (NYC). There he served under the late V. Rev. Dr. John Poulos, coordinated thriving teen and young adult ministries, and was responsible for hospital ministry.
Father was assigned by the late Bishop Timothy of Detroit to the St. Demetrios parish in Saginaw, Michigan in September of 1985. During his tenure there he was deeply involved on the ecumenical front, serving as a member of the Human Relation Commission of the City of Saginaw. He also presided over the construction of the parish Hellenic Cultural Center.
On October 1, 1991 Bishop Timothy assigned Fr. Anastasios to the Holy Trinity parish in Indianapolis, elevating him to the rank of Economos. During his tenure at Holy Trinity, Father was deeply involved in television, ecumenical, and pan-Orthodox ministry. In 1998 he was the catalyst for the parish purchasing 20 acres of land in Carmel, Indiana — a process which catapulted the parish from its old, 19,000-square foot facility to the 41,000-square foot, state-of-the-art, Christ Kamages-designed Byzantine temple, classrooms, offices, and fellowship space. The first Liturgy in the new temple was celebrated on Christmas Eve of 2008. Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit conducted the Thyranoixia (Door Opening) services on the weekend of May 30-31, 2009. Both Eminences returned to Indianapolis the weekend of September 18-19, 2010 for the celebration of the parish Centennial at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts. In December of 2011, the parish installed an iconostasis hand carved by renowned woodcarver Konstantinos Pylarinos of Astoria, New York, and in Spring, 2013 the Holy Trinity parish is embarking upon the iconographic embellishment of the the temple by Dr. George Kordis of Athens, Greece — a project that was initiated during Fr. Anastasios’ tenure.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America assigned Fr. Anastasios to Holy Trinity Cathedral on June 1, 2012 — officially installing him into the position on Pentecost Sunday, June 3, 2012. Father is also a member of the Archdiocesan Council, and on February 3, 2013 His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios elevated him to the rank of Protopresbyter. One of Father’s goals is to make the Cathedral a center of the community for Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians alike. To that end, he has initiated the opening of the temple every day for prayer and meditation and the establishment of an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter at the Cathedral.
Father and Presbytera Maria have two grown daughters. Eleni is a Pediatric RN and is currently pursuing her Nurse Practitioner degree. She is married to Kyle Miller, a PGA golf professional. They live in Terre Haute, Indiana and have a daughter, Zoe. Katrina is a graduate Speech Pathologist and is currently working in the Bronx in the New York City Public Schools.
To this day, Father enjoys travel, reading, and spending time by the sea. He is glad to be back in New York City, where he began is priestly career, and looks forward to working together with the good men and women of the Cathedral to continue Holy Trinity’s upward trajectory as the parish heads towards its 125th anniversary in 2017.