His Eminence Hierotheos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and St. Vlassios, secular name Georgios Vlachos, was born in Ioannina in 1945. He received his elementary education in his hometown and completed his high-school studies in Agrinio. He entered the School of Philosophy of Ioannina but transferred to the Theological School of Thessaloniki (1964-1968), where he graduated with “excellent”. During his college years he studied Patrology intensively and participated with a group of students in the recording of manuscripts surviving in the Libraries of the Holy Mountain. He also assisted in the critical edition of the works of St. Gregory Palamas, under the guidance of Professor Panagiotis Christou.
After receiving his Bachelor Degree, he went to the Diocese of Edessa, Pella and Almopia, based in Edessa, under the then Metropolitan Kallinikos (Poulos), where he served as lay preacher of the “Apostoliki Diakonia” (1969-1971). In 1971 (10th October) he was ordained Deacon and was appointed as Preacher of ODDEP (Organization of the Management of Church Property). In 1972 (25th June) he was ordained Priest and made Archimandrite in the same Diocese. As a Preacher he travelled throughout the border province and organized lectures, sermons, and Sunday Schools in the town of Edessa. He organized the summer camps of the Diocese of Edessa, directed and taught in fast-track tutorials for priests, lectured in conferences for priests and directed the Church life of Edessa and its region. For three years he served the Liturgical needs of the officers and soldiers of the 2nd Army Division.
He ministered in Edessa for a full 18 years. He founded and still guides as a Spiritual Father a Monastic Sisterhood, which started in the Diocese of Edessa, Pella and Almopia and is now at the Holy Monastery of the Birth of the Theotokos (Pelagia) in the Diocese of Thebes and Levadia. In 1987 he served as Preacher in the Diocese of Thebes and Levadia for six months, under the guidance of its Bishop Hieronymos, the present Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. In 1987-1995 he served as Preacher of the Archbishopric of Athens, under Archbishop Seraphim. In the Archbishopric of Athens, in parallel with the work of Preacher, he was appointed Director for Youth and member of the Board of the Institute for Youth of the Archbishopric. In this capacity he organized and directed the Sunday Schools of the Church, organized Conferences and workshops for those in charge of Catechism, ran Tutorials for catechists, and supervised the Spiritual Centers of the Parishes.
In 1988-1990, after an invitation from Patriarch Ignatios of Antioch, a decision of the Holy Synod and the approval of the Directorate for Church Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, he intermittently taught courses in Greek language (ancient and modern) and in Christian Ethics at the Balamand Theological School “St. John of Damascus” of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Northern Lebanon, close to Tripolis, during the war in that area. His Beatitude the Patriarch Ignatios of Antioch and the Ambassador of Greece in Damascus proposed him as Principal of the Balamand Theological School, but his duties in the Archbishopric of Athens did not allow him to accept this very honorable, as attested by the Foreign Ministry of Greece, proposal of the Patriarch of Antioch. Several years later (2001), as a Metropolitan, he taught Bioethics at the same Theological School of the Patriarchate of Antioch. He represented the Church of Greece as regular or substitute member on the Governing Boards of: the “National Council for Radio-Television”, the “National Committee for AIDS”, the “Control Center for Infectious Diseases”, the “Organization against Drugs”, and other Committees. He presented the views of the Church of Greece in the bipartisan Parliamentary Committee on the demographic problem (1992).
He spoke, as a Preacher, at priestly, theological and scientific Conferences organized by the Holy Synod, Holy Dioceses, the Panhellenic Association of Theologians, etc. As a Preacher of the Archbishopric of Athens he was one of the prime movers in the foundation and operation of the Radio Station of the Church of Greece, a member of the Programming Committee of the Radio Station and producer of the program titled “The Fathers in the modern world” for six years (1989-1995). Since 2010, as a Metropolitan, he has a weekly program on the same Radio Station. He was elected Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and St. Vlassios on July 19th 1995, and ordained on July 20th, 1995, in the Cathedral of Athens, in a rite celebrated by Metropolitan Theoklitos of Ioannina and concelebrated by the Metropolitans Christodoulos of Demetrias (later Archbishop of Athens and All Greece), Kallinikos of Piraeus, Hieronymos of Thebes and Levadia (now Archbishop of Athens and All Greece), Maximos of Serres and Nigrita, Alexandros of Mantineia and Kynouria, Agathonikos of Kitros, Ioannis of Pergamos, Ignatios of Arta and Panteleimon of Verroia. He was enthroned in Nafpaktos on September 10th of the same year.
As Metropolitan of Nafpaktos he organized his Diocese; every summer he tours the villages of mountainous Nafpaktia and St. Vlassios; he founded Charity Associations in the Parishes of the town, which undertake important social work; he is interested in youth and in catechism; he visits schools and talks to the students; he revived the summer camps and “Communication Center” of the Diocese in St. Panteleimon Antirrio; he founded a School of Byzantine Music which operates in Nafpaktos and the Cultural and Research Center at Hosios David; he organizes and lectures at Conferences, Meetings for priests, teachers, university students, professionals, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, etc. He has organized an annual Theological Conference in Nafpaktos. Two Conferences have taken place so far (2015 and 2016). Their topics were “Theology and Pastoral Care” and “Issues of Ecclesiology”. He continues as Metropolitan his weekly programs in the Radio Station of the Church of Greece, and, since 2015, has also started a weekly TV program in the TV Station “Lychnos” of the Holy Diocese of Patras.
In his capacity as Metropolitan of Nafpaktos he presides over ten Foundations and Bequests of the Province, namely the Foundations: “Demetrios and Vassiliki Papacharalampous”, “Georgios Kapordelis-Ioannis Xykis”, “Georgios and Maria Athanassiadi-Nova”, “Andreas Tsaras”, “Gabriel Oikonomou”, “Antonios and Panagiota Anastasopoulou” (legal and bureaucratic procedures are going on for its establishment), and the Bequests: “Dem. Asimakopoulos”, “A. Kozonis”, “Dem. Ploumis”, “Ioannis Vardakoulas”, which award scholarships to high-school and university students. He is also President of the Supervisory Council of the Public Papacharalampios Library of Nafpaktos. He has been four times a member of the Permanent Holy Synod during the Archbishopric of all three most recent Archbishops, namely, Seraphim, Christodoulos and Hieronymos. He accompanied the blessed Archbishop Christodoulos on his eirenic visits to the Holy Monastery of Sinai and to Romania. He has served repeatedly as Press Representative of the Permanent Holy Synod and the Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece.
As a Metropolitan he has participated in various Synodical Committees, namely: member of the Synodical Committee for monastic life, the Synodical Committee on Church Finances, the Synodical Committee for Youth, the Synodical Committee for Doctrinal and Canonical Affairs. He has also participated in Ad hoc Synodical Committees, namely: Chairman of the Ad hoc Synodical Committee on the identification cards, Chairman of the Ad hoc Synodical Committee for the preparation of the 2004 Olympic Games, member of the Ad hoc Synodical Committee for child-abuse. At present he participates in the following Synodical Committees: Chairman of the Synodical Committee on the Press, Public Relations and Information, Chairman of the Ad hoc Synodical Committee on Special Pastoral Issues, and scientific advisor to the Ad hoc Synodical Committee on Bioethics. As a Metropolitan, at the proposal of the Holy Synod, he was a member of the National Organization of Social Welfare, and of the National Council of Medical Ethics and Deontology.
He has been appointed by the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece eleven times so far to present the following subjects: “On transplants” (Oct. 1999). “Historical development of the issue of recording religious creed on police identity cards of Greek citizens” (June 2000). “Update on the issue of identity cards” (Oct. 2000). “Update on the issue of identity cards” (Oct. 2001). “The contribution of the Church to the successful organization of the 2004 Olympic Games” (Oct. 2002). “Medical assistance in human reproduction (Assisted reproduction - New Law)” (Oct. 2005). “Regulations of the Ad hoc Synodical Committee on Sports” (Oct. 2006). “The functioning of the synodical system in the Church of Greece” (Oct. 2009). “On the recognition of the 879-880 AD Council of Constantinople as the Eighth Ecumenical Council” (Oct. 2011, but postponed to a later Meeting). “The theological crisis and its impact on daily Church life” (Oct. 2015). “The Religious Studies course in Education” (March 2016).
He is distinguished for his voluminous writing, having written 96 multi-page books with theological, ecclesiological and social content, based on the teaching of the holy Fathers. Seventy-eight of these books have been translated, by the translators’ initiative, into 24 foreign languages, namely, English, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Serbian, Hungarian, Romanian, Swahili, Chinese, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Czech, Dutch, Albanian, Italian, Finnish, Georgian, Urdu-Pakistan and Korean. More translations are being prepared. The total number of books, offprints and publications, excluding various articles, reaches three hundred and seven.