Hopkins, Minnesota, March 23, 2020
Long-time priest, prolific author, and founder and president of Light and Life Publishing Fr. Anthony Coniaris reposed in the Lord on March 15 in Hopkins, Minnesota, at the age of 93.
Fr. Anthony served as priest of St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis from 1953 until his retirement in 1992—his only parish assignment—and is known well known as the author of more than 75 books, pamphlets, and brochures on a broad range of Orthodox topics, according to his obituary in the Star Tribune.
Fr. Anthony graduated from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary in Boston, after which he received a Masters of Divinity from Northwestern Theological Seminary in Minneapolis. He then continued his studies in the fields of religion and psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Fr. Anthony was ordained in 1953 and began his ministry at St. Mary’s, where he remained until 1992. During his time in parish ministry, Light and Life Publishing was launched with its first publication, Eastern Orthodoxy: A Way of Life—a collection of Fr. Anthony’s homilies—in 1966, according to the Light and Life website.
Light and Life has since become one of the foremost publishers of Orthodox material in English, with a catalog of over 200 titles, and one of the largest distributors of Orthodox material in the world.
After his retirement from parish ministry, Fr. Anthony devoted most of his time to Light and Life. He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Homiletics at Holy Cross Seminary in Boston.
Over the years, Fr. Anthony also served in a number of other capacities: on the Council of Religious Advisors at the University of Minnesota, as president of the Minneapolis Ministerial Association, the Twin Cities Metropolitan Church Commission, the Minneapolis Professional Men's Club, the Minneapolis Kiwanis, and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, and as member of the Board of Trustees, Children’s Heart Fund.
Through his work with the Children’s Heart Fund, he was able to bring nearly 100 Greek children to Minneapolis for open-heart surgery at the University of Minnesota, according to the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Fr. Anthony also served for several years on the Greek Archdiocese Board of Missions, the Presbyters’ Council, and the Standing Committee of Liturgical Translations of the Greek Archdiocese.
He received the WCCO Good Neighbor Award in 1973 and the Alumnus Citation from Holy Cross Seminary. In 2018, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. A scholarship has also been established in his name and the name of his Presbytera, Mary, to help needy students at Holy Cross.