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Greeks Gone West: Meet the U.S. Navy pilot who became a priest in San Francisco!

18 December 2015

Since 2008, Father Aris has been the parish priest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California. He leads retreats for adults and counsels parish members about issues in their daily lives. He has two children with his wife, Presvytera Valerie.

Father Aris has had an unusual career path: he was a U.S. navy pilot for several years before he ordained. He attended and graduated from the elite United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He talked to us about his journey to becoming a priest.

In his own words:

On being an officer and then a priest:
"At 17 I went to the the U.S. Naval Academy. I graduated in 1978 and worked as an officer for seven years . I was a pilot on anti-submarine planes in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, observing Russian submarines and taking pictures of Russian ships. I finished my time in the Navy teaching instrument flying and acrobatic flying. It was a lot of fun."

On his life's true calling:
"The Naval Academy is a great cross section of the United States, with people from literally every background. While I was there I re-discovered the Church. At that time the Greek Orthodox Church was in walking distance of the Naval Academy, and all the time that I served in the Navy I had the privilege of being around good churches and good priests. After a while it became clear that this the direction my life was headed."

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