Revered St. Nicholas clergyman praised after death

The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church in Auburndale, which lost a longtime spiritual leader last week, celebrates its annual fair in October.
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The community of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church in Auburndale reflected this week on the death of one of its longtime spiritual leaders.

The Rev. Father Anastasios Diacovasilis was laid to rest in Flushing Cemetery Friday, after succumbing to an undisclosed illness earlier in the week. He was 75.

“He was a pillar of the community and one of our spiritual leaders in the Bayside area,” said church President Nick Karacostas. “His death was a great loss for all of us.”

Diacovasilis first came to St. Nicholas, at 196-10 Northern Blvd., in 1984 and remained active in an unofficial capacity after his retirement in 1999.

“His years of service were extraordinary and he could not stop giving to his community until his last, final days, even as a retired priest,” Karacostas said. “There was a beautiful funeral where the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America officiated with a number of bishops and priests from the surrounding parishes.”

Diacovasilis was born Feb. 29, 1936, on the Greek island of Nisyros, a region to which many of St. Nicholas’ approximately 1,000 active families trace their roots, a church official said.

He attended high school in Greece and served in the nation’s air force for 27 months in the 1950s before enrolling in the Ecclesiastical Preparatory School of Rhodes, where he completed his theological education.

In 1960, he married Maria Hartofilis and they immigrated to the United States in 1963. Diacovasilis first became a chantor at St. Demetrios in Astoria, a position he held for 11 years before being ordained a deacon March 9, 1975.

Soon thereafter, he was ordained a priest at Saint Elpis Greek Orthodox church in Hopewell, Va.

In the 1980s, the congregation of St. Nicholas was growing, and the archdiocese sent Diacovasilis to the church in 1984 as a second priest.

He lived two blocks away from the church, where he taught Greek Bible study in both English and Greek.

After retiring in 1999, Diacovasilis spent his time vacationing in Greece and kept active in the church community.

He died Jan. 16 and is survived by his wife, daughter Helen and son Paul. His first daughter, Eugenia, is married to Father Nicholas Samaras, a priest at the Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in West Nyack, L.I.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 1:35 am, January 26, 2012
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