Reverend Father Demetrios Kounavis, Economos
Father Demetrios Kounavis was born in Chicago and raised in the heart of the community of St. Demetrios. He attended Solon Greek School through high school and participated in the many formative youth ministries of that parish, especially as an altar boy and later as a chanter. Being a child of an immigrant family, Father grew up with his siblings cultivating a deep love and appreciation for his Greek heritage and faith. While attending Lane Technical High School, he developed an interest in studying Byzantine chant that strengthened Father Demetri’s calling to the Holy Priesthood.
After graduating high school, Father attended the University of Illinois at Chicago studying Classics and Medieval History. He later transferred to Hellenic College to complete his bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. He enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and was awarded a Master of Divinity degree in 2006. While at Holy Cross, Father Demetri had the opportunity as protopsaltis to travel around the country at various parishes and chant for special occasions, holidays, and musical programs, to serve on the student council, and to be a student ambassador. After graduation, he married Presvytera Katerina in their hometown village in Greece. On October 26, 2006, Fr. Demetri was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at St. Demetrios Church in Chicago, IL and on January 7, 2007, to the Holy Priesthood at St. John the Baptist in Des Plaines, IL by the hands of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Iakovos. During this time, Father and Presvytera were blessed with their son, Niko. By God’s grace, Father Demetri has served the parishes of St. John the Baptist in Des Plaines, IL, Sts. Constantine and Helen in Rockford, IL, and Holy Cross in Justice, IL. As of November 1, 2021, Father has been assigned to serve as proistamenos of St. George Church.
Father Demetri is an instructor at the Chicago Metropolis Byzantine School of Music, which includes online students from around the country, and assisted in restructuring the program to fit our modern needs. He led pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Egypt. He also serves on the Metropolis Liturgical Committee and served as secretary and vice president of the Chicago Clergy Syndesmos for many years. In 2019, he was elevated to the rank of economos by the hands of His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago.