Power Broker: Father Alexander Karloutsos

Father Alexander Karloutsos.
Father Alexander Karloutsos.
Photo: ©PATRICKMCMULLAN

Whether you are in houses of worship, both houses of Congress, the White House or your house in the Hamptons, you have heard of Father Alexander Karloutsos. With notability among American power brokers that can most aptly be described as “fame,” he is among the most prominent religious figures in the United States—and he resides here, on Long Island’s East End.

Modestly, among Hamptons residents, he is known as “Father Alex.” He is a man of God, a caring husband, father and grandfather, who cares for his community and for the church to which he has dedicated his life. However, when speaking to him, you learn just how far beyond our 118-mile island his influence extends.

Father Alex holds liasonships, advisory roles and is a counselor to some of our nation’s highest decision-makers. He maintains friendships with some of our region’s most notable business leaders, like John Catsimatidis, another Hamptons Power Broker highlighted by Dan’s Papers. He has earned many of the highest honors given to a faith leader, holds several theological degrees and has inspired thousands with his prayer and religious guidance.

But behind the degrees, the honors and the titles, we ask: Who really is Father Alex?

Father Alex describes himself as “first, a priest, but among my friends and flock, a ‘Good Shepherd,’ who lays down his life for his friends and flock.”

Father Alex was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States with his family at a young age. His father, a priest himself, traveled the U.S. sharing God’s message. When Father Alex was in his earliest years of life, his mother tragically passed, leaving his father to raise their six children.

After the tragedy, his grandmother immigrated to the U.S., as well, to aid in raising her grandchildren. With the church and their father’s priesthood, he lived the life that he referred to as the “army brats” of the church, deploying his father to dozens of locations across the states.

At age 15, he knew that his future was one with the church. Inspired to do so by his mother’s untimely death, his relationship with faith manifested at a young age. He says that while coping with this loss, he began to ask questions.

“I began to ask, ‘Why did my mother die?,’ and while pondering that same question, I began to ask, ‘Why did my mother live?’ This became a relationship with God at a very young age,” Father Alex recalls.

In the wisdom of his elders, he remembers the insight of a teacher of his, who said, “If you want to serve God, become a monk. If you want to serve man, become a doctor. If you want to do both, become a priest.”

“And that’s what I did,” Father Alex says.

So, from then, he began a storied ministry in the Greek Orthodox Church. Starting as an assistant priest at Sts. Constantine and Helen in Chicago in 1970, where he was active in youth ministries. Some years later, he was appointed to the position of Archdiocesan Director of Youth Ministry and moved the headquarters to New York. Later in the ’70s, Father Alex became the Archdiocesan Director of the Office of the Church and Society, where he served until 1980, when he then assumed the role of Director of the Department of Communications.

In just a short time, he went from a local priest, to being one of the most recognizable names in the Greek Orthodox Church. Obviously, his drive to succeed is innate, but when asked what continues to inspire him, he says, “The power of love, rather than the love of power.”

Father Alex, now 75, cherishes his vocation and roles as an advisor, as one of his stature must. Throughout his truly remarkable life, he has had the privilege of being blessed by three popes—John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis—and has met and advised seven sitting U.S. Presidents and one President-elect who will soon assume the role.

“President-elect Biden visited the Dormition of the Virgin Mary on two occasions,” notes Father Alex, one as recently as this past summer. The Dormition of the Virgin Mary is one of the largest and most-attended houses of worship on the East End.

Father Alex has since settled down in Southampton for many of the same reasons that we all have. While he has visited between 30 and 40 countries and traveled to all 50 states, he says there is nothing like the Hamptons.

“There is a natural beauty of the Hamptons,” he says. “The sea, the sand and the sun, the energy of the local residents, the farms and those who visit from New York during the summertime. Everyone becomes a neighbor, which makes everything become more organic, more real.” When people visit the East End, he emphasizes, they go from “living life in the fast lane, to living life in the right lane.”

He enjoys life year-round here, with his lovely wife, Xanthi, and sees his three children and nine grandchildren frequently. When asked what his family means to him, he’ll charmingly reply, “As says the President-elect, my family is my soul.” This goes to show that you can travel anywhere, see some of the world’s greatest sights, work alongside the world’s most powerful, and still value nothing above faith and family, which together create the true meaning of “home.”

As life begins to speed up around the holiday season, he encourages all to take a moment, reflect on the difficulties and remember that the future is always bright for us all. The holiday message he shares is as old as time: “As said the angels, peace on Earth and good will to all men and women.”

Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and Associate Publisher at Dan’s Papers.

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