This article from March, 2010, about Fr. Nick’s journey to the Priesthood.
Nick Greanias achieved a personal ambition when he became a Greek Orthodox priest.
The Decatur diplomat had longed to combine professional employment with ministry.
Since late in 2007, he has been the American consul in Auckland, New Zealand. Last year, he was ordained to the priesthood and leads the parish of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity there. The three-year Auckland posting is about to end.
“We’ll be home this fall, probably for good, probably settling in the south suburbs of Chicago,” he said.
Meanwhile, he ministers to a few hundred worshipers and continues his consul duties in downtown Auckland.
Greanias was familiar with Orthodox services from being altar boy at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Decatur. He also was cantor at High Masses at Loyola University, Chicago.
He began his career as a lawyer. After college, he was in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Department for almost eight years, 1979 to 1986, as a military attorney.
Returning to civilian life, he practiced law in Chicago, then decided he wanted to become a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State. He passed a rigorous hiring examination and signed to go, if he was chosen, to wherever he was sent. It turned out to be Toronto, for two years.
Bucharest, Rumania, was his next assignment, for two years. A baritone singer, he took opera lessons there.
“I hated to leave,” he said.
Nick’s globetrotting ended for five years when he worked in Washington, D.C., as the Ukraine desk officer and the United Nations political officer. During that time, Nick’s wife, Mary, gave birth to twin sons Johnny and Teddy.
Nick became a teacher in the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Va., before being sent to Athens, Greece. Nick’s father, John, was born in Greece.
The Athens days were followed by the move to Auckland.
“Trying to Live a Classical Life in a Modern Age: Ruminations on the Impact of Greek and Latin on My Life,” was the subject of one of his talks at the Auckland Classical Association. He said, in part:
“As early as I began to understand the beauty and importance of classical Hellenic ideals – an awareness much hastened by the fact that I was the son of recent Greek immigrants to the United States – I became particularly captivated by the classical ideal of the well-rounded individual and semiconsciously dedicated myself to its modern realization. Alas, that has stood in the way of modern notions of success, and I have often felt myself a misfit.
“After much formal and informal education, as an attorney and as an American diplomat, along with much sports, music and theatrical activity, I still find myself wondering what I want to be when I grow up.
“And now I have added Orthodox priesthood to the mix.
“Meanwhile, my boyhood, university and Army friends are now approaching the ends of ‘successful’ – often very much so, careers. Is this what the ancient Athenians really meant for me?”
On the occasion of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in February, Nick’s newsletter to Americans in New Zealand focused on Lincoln and Decatur days:
“When I grew up, Lincoln lore was everything, and between my ninth and 13th years was the centennial of the Civil War, so you couldn’t avoid Lincoln if you tried.
“Lincoln and high school basketball were our two local passions in those days. We impressionable kids tied a lot of who we were into those rich sources of inspiration.
“I once saw a note taped to an office wall. Here is what it said: ‘I shall prepare myself, and then perhaps my chance will come – Abraham Lincoln.’ I have never forgotten those words. Of all Lincoln’s famous lines, that is the one I hold closest to my heart.”