Parishioners of the Dormition of Our Lady, the Greek Orthodox Church of Altona and Districts, would say that Fr George Frangos was born to be a member of the clergy.
For the last seven years, he has worked tirelessly to serve the needs of the 1,000 families in his region. “It was my first posting where I learnt the basic principles of being a priest,” Fr George tells Neos Kosmos, while looking back at his tenure just before moving on to the larger parish of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Thomastown, to take over from Fr Evmenios who has been promoted to vicar of the Northern District, Northcote.
He takes with him many life lessons from his time with the parish. “When you show love and dedication to people, they show you love and dedication in return,” he says. “Things tend to grow and become good and this has a positive impact in the church and community as a whole.”
Looking back, he feels a little bit of sentimentality. “So many things have happened in such a short time,” he says. “The creation and construction of a new church, efforts to make the church more appealing to young people through the introduction of English services that has lead to more families coming to church and using our services.”
Over the years, he has revamped the social media site, supervised new constructions and has held everything from kolyva and prosfora-making workshops to special programs to help those who are less privileged, even those outside the Orthodox denomination.
The impact has been impressive, however Fr George admits that he was reluctant to join the clergy even though he was born into the lifestyle as the son of Fr Sinesios and brother of Fr John. So instead of doing what came naturally, he pursued a career in corporate finance. “I guess you can say that I always had a calling, and it was within me to do it, but there was fear of the unknown that caused the delay,” he says in reference to his 10 years of corporate experience as a cash flow analyst and credit manager before he went to Mount Athos for further studies.
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“I had 10 years of corporate experience prior to becoming a priest, I was a cash flow analyst and credit manager. And these skills did not go to waste, as they are needed when operating projects such as the construction of a new church.”
He says that his vision has always been the same – “to open up the church to everybody, regardless of age and to create a positive spiritual experience for people. That has been my motto. That won’t change.”
As for the parish of Altona, he knows that he’s leaving it in good hands with the arrival of Fr Dimitris from the Monaster of Axion Esti. “He’s a learned priest, is multilingual and holds a Masters in Theology,” Fr George says, adding that he won’t be far.
“Ultimately, when we become priests, we devote our life to the church. We’re always there,” he promises.