The Rev. John A. Limberakis, 84, of Jenkintown, who celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination as a Greek Orthodox priest in November, died of congestive heart failure Thursday, June 10, at the hospice of Paul's Run in Northeast Philadelphia, where he had lived for two months.
Father Limberakis was pastor at the Church of the Annunciation in Elkins Park from 1970 to 1990 and at the Church of St. Sophia in Jeffersonville, near Norristown, from 1990 to 2000.
He "led some 10 pilgrimages to the Holy Land" from 1970 to 2000, often hiking up Mount Sinai in Egypt, son Anthony said.
In 2004, Father Limberakis was at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul - the most important Greek Orthodox church - to witness the return of relics of St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom from the Vatican. Crusaders had taken the relics in 1204.
In 1972, Father Limberakis was named a protopresbyter, which, his son said, is the highest rank for Orthodox married priests. In 1978, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem named him Crossbearer of the Holy Sepulchre.
He served on the archbishop's advisory council for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America and, his son said, often represented the denomination in ecumenical meetings in the Philadelphia region.
Born in Boston, Father Limberakis graduated in 1943 from Somerville (Mass.) High School and earned a diploma in theology in 1948 at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
He was seminary registrar and executive secretary to the dean in the year before his 1949 ordination and was president of the school's alumni association from 1958 to 1960.
In 1950, he was assigned to Fresno, Calif.; built the Church of St. George; and served there until 1955.
After being assigned in 1955 to the Church of the Annunciation in Providence, R.I., Father Limberakis moved the parish to Cranston, built a new church there, and was its pastor until going to Elkins Park.
After earning a bachelor's in theology in 1956 and a bachelor's of divinity in 1959 from the Holy Cross School of Theology, Father Limberakis earned a master's from the religion department at Temple University in 1988.
Besides his son Anthony, Father Limberakis is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; another son, Cary; a daughter, Catherine Tsatalis; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Daughter Evangelyn died in 1961.
A viewing was set from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, June 14, at the Church of St. Sophia, 900 S. Trooper Rd., Jeffersonville. A prayer service was to take place there at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 15, followed by a 9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy and an 11 a.m. funeral service. Burial will be in Lawnview Cemetery, Rockledge.