Who is Rev Dr Themistocles Adamopoulo or as he likes to be called “Brother Themi”
Themistoclese Anthony Adamopoulos was born in 1945 in Alexandria, Egypt into a Greek family, but anticipating developments in Egypt at the time, his parents made the decision in 1956 to immigrate to Melbourne, Australia.
Arriving into Australia before his teens, Themi went to high school at Williamstown High School in the city of Melbourne. Gifted in academics he won a scholarship to Melbourne University where he began a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1964.
During the 60s, Themi became a founding member of a Rock n Roll band called ‘The Flies’, deferring his studies to pursue a career in the music industry and gaining local and interstate popularity (and it was an intense popularity).
Two stories from his only and younger sibling Mary, include; teenage fans camping outside their Melbourne home (where his mother felt sorry for the fans and would feed them home cooked Greek food & sweets) and Mary selling his personal belongings such as socks, toothbrushes and clippings of his hair to the adoring fans, thus taking advantage of his notoriety.
The groups popularity reached its peak when “The Flies” began supporting some of the biggest Rock n Roll names in history, including Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.
Up until this time, he held a strict atheistic view; but, during these Rock n Roll years, he had what he describes as a “mystical” experience, where he believes he saw Jesus. Realizing that this was not going to be his permanent occupation he returned to university, beginning a Bachelor of Arts course studying philosophy, political science and history. At the age of 22, Themi became the youngest tutor at Melbourne University.
Undergoing this Christian mystical experience, Themi accepted Christianity as the path to God, but did not immediately go to his parents’ church, the Greek Orthodox Church, but rather looked for the denomination that could best understand his experience. During these early Christian years he was ready to become a Pastor in any Church, but after speaking to several Greek Orthodox priests, he was led to joining the Greek Orthodox Church in the early seventies with a hunger for the Bible he could not quench.
After completing a Masters of Education, Themi went on to teach at various educational facilities in Melbourne, but the call of God was so strong that after reading the Gospels countless times, he sold everything he had, gave it to the poor and began a walk of 1000 miles between Melbourne to Brisbane seeking God’s will for him.
God led Themi to the Greek Orthodox Church and became “Brother Themi” taking up theological studies in Australia and completing his studies in theUSAat Holy Cross, where he completed a Master of Theological Studies while concurrently studying at Harvard Divinity School, and then undertaking a Master of Theology at Princeton Divinity School, and finally completing a PhD at Brown University.
He returned to Australia and in 1986, was one of the founding lecturers at St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College in Sydney.
After considerable time lecturing, Brother Themi felt a calling from God to go and help the poor in a way of personally acting out his faith, admiring the work of Mother Teresa, he realised and was been drawn to the great need in Africa.
Arriving in Kenya, Africa in the mid 90s, he began conducting liturgies and preaching in various parishesin Kenya with a primary focus being to teach the poor to earn a living on their own. Some of Brother Themi’s works include building a preschool, a primary school and a high school, providing free education, food and clothing for children in slum areas, as well as building a college consisting of an education, business/information technology, and tailoring departments, teaching for free or a minimal cost to break the cycle of depression.
In mid 2007, during his work in Kenya, the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria invited Father Themi to commence a new mission of his choice, moving from Kenya to Sierra Leone in early 2008 (considered the poorest country in the world at the time). When asked why he chose Sierra Leone, Rev Themi responded “…I thought we could start at the bottom and work our way up”.
Today he is sponsored by the international charity ‘Paradise Kids for Africa’ and “with the help of God” as he is often heard saying, cares for the Holy Diocese of Sierra Leone as Patriarchal Vicar.
With the help of PK4A and other missionary minded societies from Greece and elsewhere, Brother Themi has overseen the establishment of the, PK4A Mission House for guests, missionaries and priests of the mission, the Freetown Orthodox Teachers college for the establishment of better teachers and the College Chapel, all in the suburb of Tower Hill, Freetown (the Capital of Sierra Leone); the Syke St School in the centre of Freetown’s city with over 2500 students and a Cathedral on the school grounds, that acts not just as a church, but also as the school assembly hall where Jesus Christ is the centre of all things; a Tailoring School in the Freetown Jail for women inmates, where on release, he offers a free Sewing machine for all who have completed the course, giving them some skill to make a living; and finally the Disabled Village in Freetown’s fringe suburb of Waterloo, housing hundreds of families of disabled (the poorest of the poor) and their families, here at Waterloo he has overlooked the establishment of Free Housing, the Church, a School, a Medical Clinic, a Feeding Hall, the Priest house and guest housing.
All this in less than three (3) years; and even now he continues to study to further his ability to help the poor and his love of Education by undertaking his Masters and Phd in Early Childhood Education at the Monash University, Melbourne, so he can act with authority in establishing education for the poor.
Now, in 2011, Brother Themi, has the responsibility of seven (7) nations, soon to be known as “The Holy Orthodox Diocese of West Africa”.
Here, he will continue to follow, after 40 years, his original calling as demanded by Jesus Christ, “to sell everything he has, give it to the poor, and follow Christ”; he will continue to follow Christ’s parable in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25; to help the poor; to feed the poor, to clothe the poor, to quench their thirst, to visit them in Jail, to take in the lost and adding education to lift the poor out of poverty giving them the opportunity to a future until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Just like the Apostles, Brother Themi continues to walk in the footsteps of Christ, not owning anything, rejecting monetary gifts or remuneration for himself and living a simple life with no place to call his own, living only on the hospitality of his sister, those around him and his small salary from the Church in Greece.
The charity Paradise Kids for Africa (PK4A) was first established in Australia to help Rev Themi in his calling from God; now with committees all around the world, made up of dedicated Christians in the Orthodox Church, PK4A have set themselves apart by being a total Voluntary organization with no one receiving any remuneration, (not even Brother Themi), funding his outreach to the poor and anyone who will listen.