Basil Stavropoulos 1959-2012
It is not often that a father says to a son “You have understood the spiritual better than I ever understood it”. These words were said to Basil Stavropoulos by his father.
Briefly, Basil was devoted to his faith from his earliest days. As a young child, he described himself as a soldier of Christ. He was amongst the first products of the Sunday Schools in Australia, having attended first at St George, Rose Bay, then at St Euphemia, Bankstown. He attended the Omatha boys youth group at the Archdiocese, travelling each Saturday from Bass Hill by train. He said that it was this group that deepened his understanding of the spiritual life.
Basil was active in every aspect of his Faith. He was a longstanding member of the Orthodox Christian Society. He taught Sunday Schools at Bankstown, Burwood and Earlwood and around 1988 became the leader of the boys youth group Omatha at All Saints, Belmore.
Basil faced his last months with purpose. Probably, he did not realise how much direction his example gave to others. He passed away one year ago on the 15th December 2012, but saw his coming death as a re-birth. There is no doubt that his Faith gave him great courage.Basil is remembered fondly for his love of Byzantine hymnology. He recognised the importance of this tradition and went out of his way to train for five years as a chanter. He served at the parish church of the Transfiguration, Earlwood, from 1989-2012. If this was not a sufficient contribution, he went on to establish the Sydney School of Byzantine Chant in 1995. It now has some 60 students. With this single step, he has influenced the future of the Orthodox Church in Sydney.
As a testament to his life, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, His Grace Bishop Seraphim and some 17 priests gathered together with several thousand mourners at the church of St Nicholas, Marrickville.
Lychnos visited Basil Stavropoulos a few weeks before his death. This was undertaken with the permission of his spiritual father. It was intended as the first of a series of personal interviews with prominent Greek Orthodox Christians in Australia.
In addition to some details of his early background and youth, Lychnos asked him four questions and this is a brief summary of his response:
Basil Stavropoulos was raised in the Orthodox Church by devout parents who placed their trust in God. Basil followed their example in every area of his life. May his memory be eternal.