Parish News

Sergio Giannino - Amico di tutti (A Friend to all)

Fr Luke writes:
It was with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that we learned of the death of Sergio Giannino on Monday 19th September, 2011. He was relatively young at 65, taken so suddenly from us with so little warning. He died in Athens minutes before undergoing necessary cardiology tests. His wife Maria Giuseppina, known to us all as Pina, was with him.

Sergio was born in Naples Italy. His education and culture enabled him to be a diligent and professional bank manager for many years before his retirement. His earthly remains were returned to his beloved Rhodes, the island that he and his wife Pina had come to call home over the last four and a half years. The Giannino family are no strangers to Greece. Sergio and Pina’s three children have lived here for many years. Antonio in Leros with his Greek wife and family, Luciano who works at the Italian Embassy in Athens with his Greek wife, and dear Barbara, their beloved daughter,who lives in Kos. Three splendid and exemplary young adults, who reflect the polite, educated and cultured upbringing they learned from their parents.

The funeral liturgy and burial took place in the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Catholic Cemetery of Rhodes on Thursday, 22nd September, 2011. The chapel was so full; the mourners had to be accommodated outside. The atmosphere was prayerful, composed and gentle as exemplifiedby Pina herself, who remained the model of a dignified woman throughout the ceremony. Her profound grief was almost tangible. Her beloved husband, with whom she had shared her life for several decades, was now gone to the House of the Heavenly Father. Pina with courage and love spoke briefly but very clearly using a phrase Doctor Lucia Conte-Janniki had given her when she herself lost her own beloved husband Savas:

“Lord I do not ask why you have taken him; I thank you for having given him unto me and the joy, happiness and love we have shared together with our children for so many years”

Sergio was known not only to the community of Rhodes but also to our many visiting priests from all over the world. He worked tirelessly for the Catholic Church in any way he was able to offer his many and considerable talents. He accompanied the visiting priests wherever they wished to go with kindness and generosity. To this end, I was able to read out some of the many condolences sent from the priests who knew this remarkable man: the Very Reverend Father Custos of the Holy Land and the Father Treasuere of the Custody of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, Fr. Marcello, the directorof Permanent Formation for the Custody of the Holy Land, Tommaso Saltini, director of the Pro Terra Sancta Association (International Association for the Holy Land), who in fact had a liturgy offered the same morning as the funeral in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where Our Blessed Lord died and rose from the dead. The Father Visitor, Jimmy Zammit who performs the Visitations of the Franciscan Monasteries in the name of our beloved Father General, the Most Reverend Father José Rodríguez Carballo, ofm sent his condolences and an assurance of prayers for Pina and her family and remarked upon what a great loss Sergio would be to all who knew him.

Barbara Merengo the wife of the former Italian Ambassador to Greece joined her condolences to the many others who have written from many parts of the world in respect and in memory of this wonderful self-giving man.

He will be sadly missed by many, as this article began; he was a friend to all. His service to the church was great. I intend to erect a suitable memorial in the Holy Cross Chapel in the Catholic Cemetery of Rhodes in his honour for the many works he performed for the Catholic Church with a spirit of truth, generosity and genuine love.