12 Dec Metropolitan Irineos Galanakis
He was born in Nerohori, in Apokoronas, Chania, in 1911. He graduated from the secondary school of Vamos, he continued his studies in the Seminary of Agia Triada in Crete and obtained his degree in Theology at the Department of Theology of the University of Athens. As a university graduate, he took courses of Theology and Sociology in the catholic Universities of Lille and Paris, as well as in the University of Frankfurt.
He served as a teacher in several schools of the prefecture of Chania. In 1946 he was ordained Deacon-Presbyter with the title of Archimandrite, in the Monastery of Agia Triada of Akrotiri, Chania and was designated vice-principal of the Ecclesiastical School of Crete.
In December 1957, the Provincial Synod of the Church of Crete elected him Bishop of Kisamos and Selino. During his prelacy, boarding schools were founded and built in all the towns of his metropolis, as well as secondary schools, technical colleges, a housekeeping school, a home for the aged, a school for deaf-mute, a centre of agricultural development, a cheese-dairy, a printing-house, cultural centres, and the Orthodox Academy of Crete. Moreover, women’s handicraft associations and workshops were founded in almost all of the villages of his metropolis, a boarding school for students in Athens, a municipal band and a conservatory.
He was opposed to dictatorship and, in 1971, the Ecumenical Patriarchate designated him Metropolitan of Germany. During his prelacy there (1972-1980) the Greek orthodox metropolis of Germany was recognised as the third official church of the country (1974), women’s associations were founded, as well as rapid learning colleges and a student aid fund.
In February 1981, after several months of militant mobilisations by the inhabitants of the two provinces, Metropolitan Irineos returned to the metropolis of Kisamos and Selino. He continued his previous social work and he also took action for environment protection, peace and disarmament.
In August 2005, he submitted his resignation to the Provincial Synod of the Church of Crete and it was accepted.
Metropolitan Irineos has been qualified as “a visionary and a realiser” and during his prelacy he developed numerous innovative initiatives for both Church and Society. He has played a determining role in the foundation and the organisation of one of the leading shipping companies of Crete, ANEK Lines, that has been the first multi shareholder company of the country. He envisaged, founded and has been the president of various development companies and cultural institutes: Development Company of Apokoronas, Trans Eurokreta, Development Company of Selino, South Shipping S.A. (ANEN), “Agia Sofia” Welfare Foundation and the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”.
Being an author as well, he published more than thirty books on his thoughts and questionings, of folklore and theological content. He has published numerous articles in the Cretan and Athenian press.
He is the lifelong chairman of the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”. In his honor, the building accommodating the scientific and administrative services of the Foundation was named “Metropolitan Irineos Galanakis” Mansion, in a special event held in August 2007.