On August 27th, 1940 Spiros and Antonia Spiteris will bring into the world their second child out of four, which on October 28, the day of the eruption of the Greek-Italian war, would be baptized as John, here in this parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the same place, the monastery and the school that was maintained by the Franciscan nuns of Malta, little John will learn his first letters and with help of the Capuchin Fathers will cultivate the monastic vocation.
On August 15th, 1948, at the feast of Virgin Mary’s Metastasis in Heaven, he will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, while on October 3rd, 1953, he will decide to take the long journey to Italy and join the piece of pa Capuchins of Sciacca and then to the seminary of Caltanisetta in Sicily. Then, he will discover the small village of Calasibetta, where on September 17th 1959, he will put on the monastic cloth of the Capuchin Brothers of the Order of St. Francis, and on September 17th 1960, he will give his first monastic promises and will take the name of Anastasios. St. Francis’ path has opened for the young monk who, on December 29th 1960, will give his final monastic vows. On July 14th 1967, in the church of the Capuchins of Palermo, in Sicily, he will be ordained deacon by the hands of Armenian Capuchin Bishop Cirillo Giovanni Zohrabian (1881 – 1972), who has now been proclaimed by the Catholic Church as a Servant of God.
From then on, he will be sent for another year in Rome and then on Wednesday, July 24 1968, he will be ordained priest in Corfu by Bishop Antonios Varthalitou (1924-2007). Vicar of the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Kotsella of Corfu, at the time, was the current Bishop of Syros, Fr. Francis (George) Papamanolis.
After his ordination, the young monk will be sent to serve, for a short while, communities of the Capuchins in Athens and Crete and from there on, to continue his postgraduate studies in theology and the preparation of his doctoral thesis at Fribourg, Switzerland. He will attend courses at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, taught by renowned Orthodox theologian Nicholas Nisiotis, while he will be appointed as a member of various committees and institutions of the Synod of the Catholic Hierarchy of Greece.
During his academic career in Italy, he will write numerous independent works and publications on Eastern Orthodox theology and in many cases, with his work, he will not hesitate to confront various schools of the new orthodox theological tradition. He will teach, for many years, Eastern spirituality at the “Antonianum” University of the Capuchins of Rome, systematic orthodox theology in Pontifical “Lateranum” University of Rome, byzantine and modern orthodox theology in Pontificium Institutum Orientalium in the capital of Italy and ecumenical ecclesiology at the Ecumenical Institute “San Bernardino” in Venice. Very important is the initiative taken by him, his fellow Capuchins and the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki to organize international Symposiums of theology between Orthodox and Catholic theologians, which continues as an institution today.
Then, he will be designated by Pope John Paul, II Advisor to the Commission for the Eastern Churches, and as a member of the International Theological Commission for the preparation of the great Jubilee in year 2000, he will prepare a special task on the third person of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. The great distinction and recognition of his work will come with his election as a regular Member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, a position in which he offers his experiences and knowledges to this day.
On March 15th 2003, Pope John Paul II will sign his name to the Archbishop and on the 22nd of the same month, his election as Archbishop of Corfu, Zante – Cephalonia and Vicar Apostolic of Thessaloniki’s Vicariate will be announced. The festive in all aspects ordination and enthronement will take place in Corfu’s Cathedral Catholic Church on Sunday, May 18th, 2003. On the 25th of the same month, his enthronement in the Cathedral of Asbestos Conception in Thessaloniki will follow.
On 05.18.2013 at a modest ceremony, he celebrated his first decade of his ministry as Archbishop of the Ionian Islands and the Northern Greece.