Metropolitan Irineos Galanakis – Μητροπολίτης Ειρηναίος Γαλανάκης

Irineos Galanakis is one of the most important personalities of the Crete. He was Metropolitan.

The Metropolitan: High Priest of the Greek Orient. Whose rank is directly under the patriarch, the supreme national church leader.

His authority is also covering areas outside its own diocese.

Bishop Irineos Galanakis was a charismatic spiritual leader. It was very popular.

He deeply believed in the ideals of peace, democracy and freedom.

– initiated the establishment of technical schools and cultural centres

– created equal opportunities for men and women in education and employment

– he patronized the elderly, the helpless and the poor

He struggled with faith and social commitment against oppression, against injustice.

From whom we can only learn!

1911 November 10 – 2013 April 30

– he provided opportunities for children from poorer families to study

– considered development important: He was one of the initiators of the founding of the first shipping company

His work was also recognized outside Greece.

1971 – appointed German Metropolitan

– during his work, the Orthodox Church was officially recognized in Germany

– a number of Orthodox churches were built on his initiative

Bishop Irineos Galanakis was a unique pastor, educator, leader: who fought for the rights of the people in his whole life. He fought against injustice.

During his 102 years on earth, Irineos Galanakis became a symbol of a peaceful revolution: transcending the narrow borders of the island of Crete.

1911 January 11. –  He was born in Nerohori, in Apokoronas, Chania.

He studied at the Agia Triada Theological Seminary in Crete and then at the Theological School of the University of Athens.

1937 – He graduated on the Department of Theology at the University of Athens.

He completed his postgraduate studies in theology and sociology at the Catholic Universities of Lille and Paris, as well as at the University of Frankfurt.

1938 – 1945 – He worked as a professor of theology in schools in Chania Prefecture.

– He became a monk in the Monastery of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity), or also known as: Tzagarolon Monastery

– He served under the Agathangelos Xirouchakis, the bishop of Kydonia and Apokoronas

1946 – receives the title of Archimandrite at Agia Triada Monastery, in Akrotiri – Chania prefecture. The archimandrite is the title used in Eastern Orthodox Christianity: bishop appointed to oversee the monastery.

– He became deputy principal of the Church School of Crete.

– He also served as pastor and preacher in the dioceses of Kydonia and Apokoronas.

1957 December 22. – Provincial Synod of the Church of Crete elected him: bishop of Kissamos and Selino.

1962 September 25. – Promoted as a Metropolitan of the dioceses of the Church of Crete.

He founded and organized the constructions:

– boarding schools

– secondary school, vocational secondary school, technical college

– nursing homes – homes for elderly people

– the school for the deaf

– agricultural development center

– cheese factory

– printing house

– cultural center

– Orthodox Academy of Crete

– women’s craft associations and workshops

– a boarding school in Athens

1971 December 16. -The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected him: into the Metropolitan of the German Holy See.

1972 – 1980 – During his presidency:

– the Orthodox Church was recognized as the third official religion of the country in Germany

– the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Metropolitan Palace in Bonn were built

– several other holy churches were built in other important centres of Germany

– every Saturday he spoke on German radio with the Greeks there

– began publishing the monthly newspaper “Orthodox Immigrant”

1980 – Ireneos Metropolita resigns

1981 January 26. – Ireneos Metropolitan returns to the dioceses of Kissamos and Selinos. He continued his previous social work, and he also acted for environment protection, peace and disarmament.

2005 August 24. – At the age of ninety-four, Ireneos Metropolita submitted his resignation to the Holy Provincial Synod of the Church of Crete: the Synod approved.


2013 April 30. – Irineos Galanakis Metropolita died at the age of 102.

Irineos Metropolita has developed a number of innovative initiatives for both the church and society.

He played a key role in the founding of ANEK Lines, one of the leading shipping companies in Crete. ANEK Lines was the first multi-shareholder company in the country.

Irineos Galanakis, in collaboration with other social actors founded:

– ETANAP (Apokoronos Development Company)

– ANEN (Anonymous Shipping Company)

– Selino Development Company

Author of 30 books about folklore and theology.

He shared his thoughts many times in the Cretan and Athens press.

He shared his thoughts many times in the Cretan and Athens press.

He was the lifelong president of the “Eleftherios K. Venizelos” National Research Foundation.

2007 – In honor of him:  the building hosting the scientific and administrative services of the Foundation, it was named after him:

2008 – an association was formed to get to know and present, the work of Ireneos Metropolita.

2009 October 6. – The “Ireneos Galanakis” museum

The life, teaching, and diverse work of Metropolitan Irineos Galanakis inspired Koukourakis and Theodore Papadoulakis to make a documentary movie about him.


2017 April 19. – Presentation of the documentary: “Peaceful Galanakis, Peaceful Revolutionary.”

The clothes of Irineos Galanakis can be seen in the museum of the Agia Triada monastery in Crete.