Rev. Panteleimon Klostri finds parishioners of Greek Orthodox Church of St. Luke 'live their faith in the larger world'

Since he was installed as the parish priest at the “vibrant” Greek Orthodox Church of St. Luke in East Longmeadow here in February, the Rev. Panteleimon Klostri has been impressed with the way parishioners live their faith.

“They try to live their faith in the larger world,” he said. “It’s not just confined to the geographical space of the church property.”

Describing it as a “vibrant parish of about 250 families,” Klostri enumerated many of the church’s activities: the Loaves and Fishes meal program for the poor and needy of the area, the Greek Orthodox Youth of America, the Junior Orthodox Youth, an active music ministry, religious education for youth, youth participation in the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival, a youth Greek dance group, a dedicated Philoptochos women’s group, the Romeos and Juliets fellowship group and a Taste of Greece annual festival.

Bible study is also on his list.

“Christian education is taken very seriously here,” Klostri said. “It’s very, very important.”

The nearly 40-year-old church has members of all ages, but there are many young families.

“It’s a community that’s very welcoming,” the priest said.

Commenting on the importance of maintaining ethnic identity and religious traditions, Klostri said faith transforms culture, and he hopes the “gospel will take root in America the same way as in the home countries” of Greece and Cyprus. “That’s a beautiful thing,” he added.

Klostri’s Feb. 1 installation service was presided over by Bishop Methodios Tournas of the Boston Metropolis and other area clergy during a vespers service at which he pledged his devotion to serve Orthodox Christians within the greater East Longmeadow community.

Asked during a recent interview what he hopes to accomplish in his new assignment, he replied, “To be faithful to the task with which I have been entrusted as a priest and to serve the wonderful people of St. Luke’s faithfully.”

He came to St. Luke’s from The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church in Somerville where he served as parish priest for about two years.

He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Fordham University in New York and a master’s in divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline. He was ordained at St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church in Peabody in 2007.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston includes Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont and the Connecticut towns of Danielson, Enfield, New London and Norwich. The metropolis, the offices of which are located in Brookline, consists of 63 parishes comprised of about 200,000 Greek Orthodox faithful.

Klostri, who is in his thirties, has moved to the East Longmeadow area with his family.

He replaced the Rev. Michael Sitaras who served St. Luke’s for 10 years before moving to California.


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