Religion: The Nylon Patriarch

The day after Pearl Harbor, tall, grizzle-bearded Aristocles Spyrou tried to join the U.S. Army. But he was turned down as too old (56) and so he went back to his duties as Archbishop Athenagoras, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America. Born in a little Greek town under Turkish rule, Athenagoras frequently reminded his U.S. flock of their good fortune. "Just to be here," he would say, "that is happiness."

This week, in his flowing robes and black-veiled hat, Archbishop Athenagoras moved among his congregations saying goodbye to the U.S. forever. In a few weeks he would...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!