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The Greek Orthodox Community of Tarpon Springs, USA was shocked to discover an e-mail, written by Father Anastasios Gounaris, the top religious leader at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
The email explained how the man decided to leave his post but also his priest hood. "It just came out of the blue. We were not expecting anything," said the parish council president Nikitas Manias, adding that not even Gounaris' wife was aware of his decision. "He just resigned." Anastasios Gounaris, also known as Father Tasos expressed his hope to one day be forgiven by the Greek Orthodox church members. Gounaris was assigned to the post in Tarpon Springs in June 2014. Previously, he had served at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York as the dean, and at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Indianapolis as a pastor. While he served in Tarpon Springs he participated in the Epiphany liturgy, noting that it was a dream come true for him. Father Anastasios Gounaris
June 18, 2015 By Theodore Kalmoukos Metropolitan Alexios Speaks to TNH about Fr. Anastasios Gounaris
Metropolitan Alexios Speaks to TNH about Fr. Anastasios Gounaris
Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta is shocked by the strange behavior of Rev. Anastasios Gounaris, who left his Tarpon Springs church to go to Greece. Father Anastasios Gounaris, the pastor of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Tarpons Springs Florida, has abandoned his parish and the active priesthood and has fled to Greece. June 18, 2015 By Theodore Kalmoukos Metropolitan Alexios Speaks to TNH about Fr. Anastasios Gounaris
"The festival is an opportunity to welcome people into our home once a year," says Holy Trinity's Rev. Anastasios Gounaris, also known as Father Taso.
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.