The Rev. Father George Bessinas is a native of Veria (Βέροια), Greece. Upon graduation from High School in 1982 he came to the United States as a foreign exchange student. He continued his studies and in 1987 earned a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University, in Seattle, WA. In 1987 he enrolled in the graduate program of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. In the spring of 1990 he earned his Masters of Divinity degree and in the fall of the same year he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. Fr. George is married to Presvytera Chrysanthie (Zografos) Bessinas, a native of Houston, TX, and they are the parents of three sons and a daughter, Nicholas “Niko” (23), Christopher (16), Andreas (16) and Sotiria (12). Fr. George’s parents reside in Veria, and his brother with his family in Thessaloniki, Greece. Presvytera Chrysanthie’s mother resides in Houston, TX and her sister with her family in Katy, TX.
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Father Constantine P. Rogakos, Lt. Colonel U. S. Army, was born in the port city of Gythion, in Laconia, Greece, on October 26, 1932. After high school graduation, he left Gythion and went to Athens where he matriculated at the National University, School of Theology, and received his Divinity degree. He served as an Infantry Lieutenant in the Greek Armed Forces for two years and as a lay preacher for the Metropolis of Sparta for one year. In 1960, he married his fellow student and theology graduate, Eleni Zefka from Amalias, who at that time served as a high school teacher in the island of Crete. He came to U.S.A. the same year and attended graduate studies at Columbia University, in New York, for a year and a half. On November 12, 1961 he was ordained a Deacon in Philadelphia, PA, and two weeks later, a Priest, at the Assumption of the Theotokos Church, in Brooklyn, New York. He then was appointed pastor of the St. George Church, in Port Arthur, Texas, where he arrived on November 30, 1961, and joined by his presvytera Eleni. During his tenure in Port Arthur, he received a direct Presidential Commission and joined the Army Reserve. He served there until November 1, 1966, thence he was transferred to St. Nicholas Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.
After two years pastorate in Corpus Christi, he was transferred to active duty on January 3, 1968; since then, he continuously served as the only Greek Orthodox Army chaplain, under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. His first military assignment was at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. From then on, his assignments and duty stations were variant and many: different locations in U.S.A., Vietnam, and three tours in Germany.
His civilian education includes: BA, MS Literature/Divinity, MS, Education (psychopathology/counseling), Ph.D. Biblical Theology (Ermineutics)
His military education includes: Chaplain Officer Basic Course, Chaplain Officer Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College. Also, countless short courses in a variety of subjects such as: Drug and Alcohol course, Management of Managers course, Clinical Pastoral Education course, etc.
His awards and decorations are: National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Medal, Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation, Army Forces Reserve Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (Second Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (Third Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster)
As his greatest accomplishment, Father Rogakos considers the fact that, through his continuous efforts, the Orthodox are now recognized as a separate entity, and the Fourth Major Faith in the U.S. Army. Father Rogakos has two daughters: Vasilia, a MS degree holder, married to Rhett Russell, a U. S. Army Officer, and Georgia, a veterinary doctor, also married to Todd Johnson, and architectural engineer, residing in Dallas, TX.
Father Rogakos’ greatest joy is his young granddaughter, Ellen Russell, and his grandson, Constantine Adam Russell.
His Ecclesiastical status is that of Protopresbyter (Archpriest) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After retirement from the Army, Father Rogakos served for two years in Kansas City, pastoring the “Annunciation” Greek Orthodox Church. He was transferred to Norfolk by his bishop in 1990, where he served as the pastor for the “Annunciation” Greek Orthodox Church, which he, through the late Metropolitan Silas, elevated into a Cathedral . At this time Father Constantine serves as the Cathedral’s Assistant Pastor.
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