Beloved Priest, Father Angelo Gavalas, Falls Asleep in the Lord
Constantine S. Sirigos
NEW YORK – A man who brought joy into almost every room he entered, Father Angelo Gavalas has left the building. The beloved pastor and youth leader, whose resonant tenor voice thrilled with its singing and inspired with its preaching, passed away early Saturday evening, November 24. Countless people whose lives were touched by this charismatic yet down-to-earth priest were saddened by the loss as word spread by phone and internet across the country. They joined his daughters Catherine and Elaine in mourning and remembering a man whose love, dedication, and struggles came to define both the rewards and the sacrifices entailed by service as a Greek Orthodox priest America. Few who knew him as the man who brought light and solace wherever he visited were aware of the losses and disappointments he endured. Two sons, George and Harry, and Presbytera Ismene departed before him.
ANGELO H. GAVALAS
GAVALAS–Rev. Angelo H., on November 24, 2012. Associate Pastor of the
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral under the direction of Father Robert Stephanopoulos.
Former Head Pastor at Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church in Brooklyn and Former
Pastor of the Greek Orthodox Community of St. George and St. Demetrios on East 103rd
Street in New York. Beloved husband of the late Presbytera Ismene. Loving father of
Catherine and Elaine and the late George and Harry. Dear brother of Helen. Reposing at the
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 319 East 74th St., New York, on Wednesday from
3-9pm. Funeral Service Thursday, 10am at the Cathedral. Entombment to follow at St.
Michael’s Cemetery, East Elmhurst, NY.
Published in The New York Times on November 27, 2012
This is the official notice that New Yorkers read in the Standard Newspaper of the world, but those of us who go back to Fr. Angelo’s days at Three Hierarchs’ Church in Brooklyn – be they brother seminary classmates, clergy, faithful parishioners, altar boys, Jr. G.O.Y.A. members, or Scouts of his church’s Boy or Girl Scout troops – have been thinking back to the impressions Fr. Angelo left on us. Indeed, the internet and telephones – land lines, cell, and instant messaging – have been passing words of the love, dedication, and struggles Fr. Angelo passed through in his lifetime. Intensely proud of his Greek heritage, he was a pioneer in the New York area in defining that heritage to a new, young generation born in the U.S.
His Brooklyn church was filled with the activities of youth so many years ago. He was always present at the many youth activities conducted by the Greek Orthodox churches of Brooklyn and Queens, and was instrumental in the organization of the now annual Scout retreat begun in 1964. After leaving Three Hierarchs’ Church, he supported the Archdiocese’ new National Youth Department, always keeping Scouting in mind. He was of the generation that bridged the immigrant church to the Greek Orthodox Church in America that we know today.
He was honored for his support of Scouting by the Greater New York Council, Boy Scouts of America, with their “Silver Beaver” award; and by the Girl Scouts, U.S.A., with their “Impact Award”. These awards are significant in that they recognize actual work and inspiration to youth. The outpouring of sorrow at the passing of Fr. Angelo is just a small measure of the inspiration he was to many of us.
May his memory be eternal!