Sotirios Maniatis passed away on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. He was 68 years old. Maniatis is survived by his wife Dena from his marriage of four decades, along with his children, Kalomira, George, Konstantine, and Michele (Konstantine’s wife). He had two grandchildren, Konstantina and Sotirios. He is also survived by his sisters in Greece, Froso, and Evie.
Sotirios was born in 1949 and raised in the suburb of Maroussi, Athens, Greece. He served his country as a Green Beret in the Army, before immigrating to the United States in the early 1970’s. He was in search of a better life and embodied the immigrant dream. His passion and love of Hellenism were known throughout the Greek-American community of Philadelphia where he served throughout his life.
Maniatis was a dedicated parishioner of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and later became president. He was well known in the community, where he worked in many philanthropic organizations. Maniatis then stepped forward to represent his church with the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Greater Philadelphia and Delaware Valley, where he eventually became president. There, he served for many years and continued to contribute to the Greek Independence Day Parade that he took great pride in being part of.
He married Dina in 1977 and raised his family on Hazel Avenue in Upper Darby, before moving to Glen Mills. There, he opened Concord Pizza, where his children worked alongside with him. No matter how far out into the suburbs he was, Maniatis was dedicated to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. A place that made him feel at home and that he felt deeply rooted to. That Hellenic pride was also evident in his summer vacations. He returned to his hometown in Greece, where he was raised and shared a special relationship with his lifelong childhood friends that lasted through all the years. He never forgot them, and they loved him for it. In 2004, when the Olympics returned to Greece, he was remembered by the community.
In April of that year, Maniatis received a call from the Olympic Committee saying he was selected to carry the flame in his neighborhood of Maroussi, Athens, Greece. Maniatis would be there on a summer visit like he did every year. At the time, sponsors and organizers had sought out individuals who, through their commitment to their communities, came to embody the Olympic Torch Relay “search for the best in humanity.” When Maniatis heard the news, he said he felt a great sense of pride and was honored to represent both Greece and America in the relay. It was a bittersweet moment for Maniatis who said, “If my parents were still around, I know they would be very proud.”
Full-hearted, energetic and funny, he stood out in the crowd and was recognized for his candor. Maniatis was a pillar of the Greek community, who always worked for the betterment and future of Hellenism, which he embedded in his children. In August of 2016, in an interview with Cosmos Philly about participating in the Olympic torch run, he was quoted as saying the following. “I have raised a family in the traditions of a Hellene I was raised on. Like the torch I carried on that day, I have passed my beliefs and customs on to my children, and hope they will look at this moment and use it to keep our culture alive”.
Sotirios Maniatis viewing will be held on Monday, December 11, 2017, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Upper Darby. Funeral Services will be conducted on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, and will begin at 11:00 am at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. Friends and family are invited to attend.