Deacon Stephen Stefani passes away

Deacon Stephen Stefani of Philadelphia reposed on June 21, 2002 at his home in Springfield, PA following a bout with cancer.

Deacon Stephen was born in Philadelphia on December 22, 1944, the son of Philip and Lica Stefani.His brother John reposed several years ago. He is survived by his brother Joseph and nieces and nephews.

He had served the Albanian Archdiocese for many years in numerous and valued capacities: as acolyte, church school teacher, parish council officer, Student Fund advisor and consultant to parish and diocesan clergy. In addition he was Scholarship Chairman of the Albanian American National Organization and member of its Board of Governors. He was a popular teacher in the Springfield, PA School District for over thirty years and much heralded for his creative interpretation and presentation of history to high school students. Respected by his colleagues and adored by his students, he received numerous awards for exemplary teaching and in particular for relating concepts taught in school to daily life and world affairs. He retained an abiding interest in the reawakening of the Orthodox Church in Albania and was one of the first visitors to that nation during its early transitions and recent emergence.

Deacon Stephen was ordained to the Sub-diaconate by Bishop STEPHEN (Lasko) on October 15, 1969 at St.George Cathedral in Boston. On October 20, 2001, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS at his home parish of St. John Chrysostom Albanian Orthodox Church in Philadelphia.

He had received his Associate of Arts from Temple University, Bachelor of Science in History and Psychology from West Chester State, and a Master’s in History and Education from Villanova. From 1986 to 89, he pursued theological studies in the St.Tikhon’s Seminary Extension Program.

Deacon Stephen was noted for his outgoing and engaging personality, as proponent of Orthodox outreach to newcomer immigrants from Albania, which he pursued with care and compassion. Coupled with his acumen in Byzantine chant and devotion to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, he became a trusted confidant to many during their acculturation into American society.

Funeral Services are to be held on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 at 10 am, at St. John Chrysostom Church, 237 North 17th Street (Franklin Plaza) in Philadelphia. For further information, please call: Rev Thomas Ledford (215) 563-0979.