At Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, our mission is to prepare men and women for leadership by creating an environment that fosters growth in knowledge, faith, and service. Because of its Orthodox Christian identity, the Hellenic College Holy Cross environment is not passive when it comes to the question of faith. It does not hesitate to raise the question of faith. On the contrary, it recognizes that faith is precious and that society gains when its leaders are grounded in faith after having devoted themselves to an experience wherein their faith can be deepened. Our school environment, with Holy Cross Chapel at its heart, provides people with the opportunity to have such an experience.
Holy Cross Chapel is located at the highest point of the Hellenic College Holy Cross campus. It is built in the Byzantine style typical of the 11th and 12th centuries and modeled after the Church of the Holy Apostles in Athens, Greece.
Under the leadership of Archbishop Michael of blessed memory, the Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA) raised the funds for the construction of the Chapel. The Chapel is dedicated to the memory of the Archbishop and all of those who came to America in earlier years and planted the faith here. The first services in the Chapel were held at the graduation exercises in 1963. Beautiful mosaics of the Pantocrator and the Platytera by Demetrios Dukas grace the interior.
Extensive renovations to the interior and exterior of the Chapel were made in recent years. Many relics in the Chapel are available for veneration. A large blessing cross with a piece of the True Cross is kept in the sanctuary. Three hierarchs are buried outside, behind the apse on the east side of the Chapel: Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, Metropolitan Silas of New Jersey, and Bishop Gerasimos of Abydos.
Fr. Athenagoras Ziliaskopoulos, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, was born in 1970 in Reutlingen, Germany. He spent his childhood in both Germany and in Greece. He earned degrees at the undergraduate level in German philology and Orthodox theology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. At the postgraduate level, he completed a program in German studies and pedagogy at the University of Frankfurt, as well as graduating from the Department of Pastoral and Social Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Fr. Athenagoras has also completed coursework at the University of Frankfurt in the areas of comparative religion, philosophy, Evangelical and Roman Catholic theology, and Islamic studies. In 2012, he was conferred a Ph.D. from the Department of Pastoral and Social Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Having spent several years on Mount Athos as a monk, he was ordained to the diaconate in 1997 and to the priesthood in 1998 at the Church of the Prophet Elijah of Frankfurt under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Germany. In 2000, Fr. Athenagoras was conferred the title of Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne. From 1997 to 2017, he served as a priest in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Germany. In 2017, he relocated to Canada in order to serve as Dean of the Patriarchal Theological Academy of Toronto as well as Office Director of the then Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto. He also taught the course on World religions at the Academy. At the same time, he served as parish priest of the Church of Saint John the Theologian in Toronto as well as confessor for the broader Toronto area. On August 26, 2019, Fr. Athenagoras was transferred to the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology at the request of His Eminence Elpidophoros Archbishop of America. Fr. Athenagoras currently serves as the Chaplain at Holy Cross.
Third-year seminarian Isaac Williams is our current Ecclesiarch. In that very important role, he ensures that Holy Cross Chapel is always properly prepared and staffed for the many services that take place there. With the help of the assistant Ecclesiarch, Isaac oversees a team of fellow Holy Cross students who perform various essential functions, from maintaining the Chapel and the precious liturgical vessels to baking prosforo—all to ensure the purity of worship in that sacred space.