Tributes are flowing today following the death of Father George Kanellis from the Holy Metropolis in New Zealand.
According to a Facebook statement by the Holy Metropolis, Father George passed away on Saturday, July 1. He leaves behind his wife Michelle, their three children Evangelia, Manoli and Sophia, his mother Evangelia and siblings Konstantinos and Maria in Sydney.
News of Father George’s death sent shockwaves through the Greek communities of Australia and New Zealand, with many paying their respects to the young Cretan priest.
In a post of Facebook, the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand expressed their condolences to the Kanellis family.
“Father George served the Greek Orthodox faithful in New Zealand with passion and love for anyone that knew him,” the post read.
“He was also the pastoral father and community leader to so many young Greek and non-Greek children in New Zealand. He was a shining light and a beacon of hope for the entire community.”
The Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW also said they were “very saddened” to hear the news of Father George’s death.
“Father George was the Vice President of the Cretans Association of New Zealand Incorporated and was very proud to be active in the Cretan community,” the Association said in a Facebook post, adding that the priest “left a lasting impact.”
In New Zealand, parishioners at the Holy Trinity Christian Greek Orthodox Church of Auckland also mourned the loss of Father George.
“Everyone in our congregation knew Father George relentlessly serving our parish before he reallocated with his family to Wellington,” the parish said in a post on Facebook.
“Father George was an exemplary priest, offering guidance, compassion, and unwavering faith to all who sought his counsel.”
Father George’s funeral service will be conducted on Thursday, July 6 at 11am at the Greek Orthodox Parish of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary situated at 3 Hania Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand.