A rock-star-turned-priest will visit St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in South Charlotte this month to talk about the joys and struggles he has experienced serving the poor in West Africa.
Fr. Themi Adamopoulo will speak at 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at the church.
Adamopoulo, who has ties to St. Nektarios, was included as part of the church’s speaker series, said Peter Reinhart, program chairman for the series.
Adamopoulo was born in Egypt and raised in Australia, where he played bass for The Flies, a band that opened for The Rolling Stones in 1965. His popularity reached such heights in Australia that teenage fans regularly camped out on his family’s lawn in Melbourne.
After a long journey that included drug experimentation, atheism, Marxism and Eastern mysticism, Adamopoulo returned to his Greek Orthodox roots. He completed theological studies and taught at Makarios III Seminary in Nairobi, Kenya. He ultimately sold all of his possessions and went to work with people who are disadvantaged in Sierra Leone.
Reinhart said Adamopoulo would talk about his mission in Sierra Leone, where he currently works with children who were orphaned during the Ebola crisis.
“He told me he wants to use the occasion to take us vicariously with him to Africa, through slides and stories as well as introducing us to some of the children who are traveling with him, so we can experience for ourselves the work being done over there,” Reinhart said.
Adamapoulo and the charity Paradise 4 Kids build homes for orphans in Sierra Leone, a country struggling from the effects of violence and disease.
The priest’s visit to Charlotte, and his story of transformation and discovery of mission and purpose, should be inspiring to all people regardless of their faith, church leaders said.
“I believe any story of selfless devotion to the needy should be of interest to all well-meaning people no matter which faith or beliefs they hold,” said Tim Klund, a member of St. Nektarios who met Adamopoulo when he lived in Kenya.
“The fact that Fr. Themi has decided to follow Christ’s teaching to leave all behind to follow and serve is inspirational, just as the impetus to do so, Mother Teresa.”
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to go?
The community is invited to Adamopoulo’s talk at 6 p.m. on Feb. 21 at St. Nektarios, 5108 Kuykendall Road. A dessert and coffee reception will follow for those who are interested in meeting Adamopoulo and speaking with him personally. Details: www.stnektarios.org.