S. Nicholas Kriketos' service to St. Athanasius the Great parish in Arlington nearly 30 years was recognized by parish members June 12.
Now the building and facilities manager of the Appleton Street church, he has served with dignity, loyalty, respect and humility.
When he was 8, he fondly recalls the day his father brought him into the altar and introduced him to the Rev. Dr. Metaxas. In an account provided by Stella Kazantzas, she wrote that "his chin was barely above the altar table as he stood with his hands cupped in front of him, all the while paying close attention to the senior altar servers, learning from them the traditions and duties."
In 1993, Kriketos was accepted as a reader and acolyte by Metropolitan Methodios, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston. This blessing allowed him to continue his service to the church by reading the Apostolos on Sundays and being a mentor to the younger altar servers. ("Apostolos" derives from from Classical Greek, meaning "one who is sent off," or an apostle.)
To this day, he vividly remembers his mentors at St. Athanasius the Great, with whom he developed meaningful relationships. One was the late Nicholas Pithis, a chanter, who taught him how to recite the Apostolos with vigor and love. It was not uncommon, Kazantzas wrote, for Nicholas to request an excused school absence to serve during vesper services, especially during the Lenten season and other services during the year on weekdays. His mother, Katherine, dropped him off and waited patiently to take him home.
When Nicholas received is driver's permit, he would often find himself at the church early on Sunday mornings before Orthros to assist the priest in preparations for divine liturgy. Nicholas remembers a dedicated former founder and parish council member, Dimitrios Rasis, who would also be at church early to set up and greet people.
One Sunday morning, Rasis was waiting for the bus to take him to church. From that day forward, whenever Nicholas saw him, he would pick him up and take him to church. He enjoyed speaking with an elder who dedicated his life to the success of the St. Athanasius the Great.
Throughout those early years, Nicholas could always be found cleaning, organizing and keeping the altar orderly and neat. Of course, those duties were just the beginning.
In addition, Nicholas committed his time to the Arlington Goya youth group as corresponding secretary and vice president, participating in fund-raisers for the homeless and local food banks and coat drives for those in need. His altar service continued through college, spanning more than 14 years as an acolyte. Even when his altar service ended, Nicholas ran for the parish council in 2006 and was elected.
During his early years on the parish council, he served as an apprentice to two facilities chairmen whom he admired and deeply respected, the late Nicholas Darris and the late Arthur Papas, from whom he learned great deal about the art of maintaining a church facility and keeping a parish family safe.
Since 2007, Nicholas has been at the forefront of all church repairs, maintenance, emergencies, storm losses, capital renovations and improvements, guiding all of the parish councilor design and engaging them on best practices for a meaningful, economical and long-lasting maintenance of the church.
Serving as the chairman of facilities, maintenance, buildings and grounds, Nicholas is always engaged in parish matters, working with key ministry leaders and parishioners. Some of his favorite church projects are liturgical artifacts and sacramental vessel restorations and renovations that beautify the interior and exterior of the church, and ultimately improve the worship experience for all.
He has also served as health-and-safety liaison for the parish to the Town of Arlington from 2008-2020, advising the parish on public health, local regulatory requirements and food safety while establishing protocols and best practices.
He served as parish council secretary for 14 years and remains n the parish council, continuing his service as an associate treasurer. To this day, Nicholas's focus remains sharp, aiming to make sure that St. Athanasius the Great Church remains a testament of hope.
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This news summary was published Sunday, June 19, 2022. It was submitted by Stella Kazantzas.
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