Themistoclese Anthony Adamopoulo was born in 1945 in Alexandria, Egypt into a Greek family, but anticipating developments in Egypt at the time, his parents made the decision in 1956 to immigrate to Melbourne, Australia.
Arriving into Australia before his teens, Themi went to high school at Williamstown High in the city of Melbourne, Australia. Gifted in academics he won a scholarship to Melbourne University where he began a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1964.
Undergoing this Christian mystical experience, Themi accepted Christianity as the path to God, but did not immediately go to his parents’ church, the Greek Orthodox Church, but rather looked for the denomination that could best understand his experience. During these early Christian years he was ready to become a Pastor in any Church, but after speaking to several Greek Orthodox priests, he was led to joining the Greek Orthodox Church in the early seventies with a hunger for the Bible he could not quench.
In mid 2007, during his work in Kenya, the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria invited Father Themi to commence a new mission of his choice, moving from Kenya to Sierra Leone in early 2008 (considered the poorest country in the world at the time).
When asked why he chose Sierra Leone, Rev Themi responded “…I thought we could start at the bottom and work our way up”.
Rev Themi’s Motivation
I was, I must confess, influenced by Mother Teresa, who by all accounts was not an academic or systematic theologian, and yet of all the theologians I know, none of them has had as great an impact on world history as her.
I was engrossed, of course, in theological and particularly early Christian research, but the impact I was making through this work was minimal. I grew dissatised therefore with my situation and decided to make a radical break.
Rev Themi’s Vision
As a priest, part of my work involves conducting liturgies and preaching in various parishes, but my work also involves fighting poverty, and this is done by empowering the local people. By training them, in other words, charity through empowerment, we try not to repeat the mistakes of the charity of imperialism or neo-colonialism (i.e. I give you food so that you depend on me).
As the old cliché puts it, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
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