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Father Fotios Bithas
The Very Reverend Protopresbyter of The Ecumenical Throne

I was born in Samiko, Olympia, Ilia prefecture, Greece on May 1, 1962.

I am a married priest and a son, grandson, and a nephew of priests. I am also the father of three daughters and the grandfather of four grandsons.

I am the eldest of five siblings from a family of longstanding servers of the Holy Church.

I finished Primary School in Samiko and started high school in Krestaina, Olympia, but due to my father's transfer, I continued my studies and graduated in 1980 from Andritsaina High School.

During this time, I assisted my father and grandfather in the church. I learned to chant and for three years, and from 1977 to 1980, I served as a chanter in my grandfather's three small mountain parishes.

After finishing high school, having decided to become a priest, I continued my studies and graduated in 1984 from the Ecclesiastical College of Athens.

In 1981 I met my wife, Panagiota Panagiotopoulou, who was born to a pious family and raised in Amfikleia Lokridos, Fthiotidos , Greece.Our wedding took place on December 29, 1983 in Amfikleia.

On February 24, 1985, I was ordained Deacon by my blessed Elder His Eminence Metropolitan Fthiotidos Damaskinos and was appointed to serve the Holy Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Lamia, Amfileia.

 I continued my studies at the Theological School of the University of Athens from where I graduated in 1990.

In April 1987 I suddenly became ill with an advanced form of cancer called lymphoma. I had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for six months. Many miraculous events strengthened and supported me. During this time, I was acutely aware of the presence of the Lord in my life and convinced that although I would suffer and struggle with my illness that everything would pass, as it did.

By the Grace of our Lord the cancer disappeared, and I became completely well! I was miraculously cured, thanks to the prayers of the blessed Elder and then living Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvitos.

On December 6, 1988, I was ordained a priest in the Holy Church of Agios Nikolaos in Nea Vrachas, Lamia by the blessed Metropolitan Fthiotidos Damaskinos and I was appointed to the Holy Church of Agios Efstathios Koumbouria, in Amfikleia.

In gratitude to our Lord for giving me back my life, I vowed to serve our Church wherever He sent me and under any circumstances.

In July 1989 I began my ministry in our Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. With the blessings of our former Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Gregorios of blessed memory, I served the Greek Community of Nottingham for 4 years. During my ministry there the Greek School of Derby and the Greek Community and School of Lincoln were established.

In January 1993 I was called by the Metropolitan Paul of Ioannoupolis to serve at the Holy Church of the Mother of God of Pantanassa, Johannesburg, South Africa and then in September 1993, with the blessings of the Bishop of Buenos Aires Gennadios, I was assigned to move countries again to serve the Greek Community of Panama until July 2008.

In 1997 the new Metropolis of Panama, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean was founded. The Metropolitan elected was His Eminence Athenagoras, whom I faithfully served and supported in this difficult task. I helped in the organisation of his enthronement and in the setting up of the new Metropolis.

On February 16, 2004, during a visit with the ladies of the Philoptochos (Women’s Charitable Association) at the Children's Hospital of Panama, we experienced the miraculous healing of the premature newborn Josué Meneses, who was suffering from cerebral hemorrhage, severe pneumonia, and heart failure. The baby, according to the medical doctors, was given only a few hours to live.

At the persistent request of the Catholics in faith, the father of the baby Luis Carlos, wishing that his baby should not die unbaptised, asked me to  carry out an “emergency” baptism of his son, giving the child the baptismal name of Josué Antonio.

The father publicly confessed that if his child lived, not only the child, but he himself, his entire family and his village would be baptized into the Orthodox Church.

Indeed, our Lord performed His miracle! The baby became well, and the father's wish was fulfilled!  I catechized and baptized the whole family, and an Orthodox mission began in the area where they live.

This event of the miraculous healing of the baby and featuring our church, was made into a one-hour special program on Channel 4 of Panama Television and was broadcast all over the country.

In this way, our Lord prepared the People and the Government of Panama, to welcome and host His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the honours worthy of a Head of State, two years later, for a period of eight days. By the Grace of God, I was appointed to oversee the organisation and hospitality of the visit of His Holiness to the city and country of Panama, which was a resounding success.

During this Patriarchal visit, His Holiness our Patriarch personally honoured me by conferring on me the Office of the Protopresbyter of our Ecumenical Throne.

In July 2008, I returned to the U.K. with the blessing of the late Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, His Eminence Gregorios ,to serve the Greek Community & Church of Saint Spyridon the Wonderworker in Great Yarmouth where I am to the present day.

Besides Greek I speak Spanish and English.

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