Who we are

Fr. Emmanuel and Presbytera Barbara

Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis

Fr. Emmanuel has been a priest for over 30 years and is with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He is the founder of Orthodox Witness.

Biography summary

Fr. Emmanuel was born in Chania, Crete, Greece in 1941. At age 18, he left Greece to study in Italy. In the middle of his second year, he converted to Roman Catholicism, joined the Society of Saint Paul in Rome, and prepared to become a Roman Catholic priest-monk. However, he returned to the Orthodox Church, and years later became an Orthodox priest. Read the full story here.


  • Licenza – International Institute of St. Paul, Rome, Italy, 1965
  • BA – Classics - Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, 1972
  • Graduate level studies in Classics – the University of Chicago, IL, 1973
  • M.Div. – Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA, 1989


Before being received by ROCOR, Fr. Emmanuel served in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in parishes in Huntington, West Virginia, Rocky River, Ohio, Swansea, Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, Columbia, Missouri and Tarpon Springs, Florida.

He is the author of two books, The Heavenly Banquet: Understanding the Divine Liturgy and Jesus: Fallen? The Human Nature of Christ Examined From an Eastern Orthodox Perspective, both published by Orthodox Witness.

Fr. Emmanuel lives in Palm Harbor, Florida with his Presbytera (Barbara) and his son (Anthony), and has two daughters and three grandchilden.


Fr. Emmanuel has rendered many Orthodox hymns from Greek into English for Vespers, Orthros, Paraklesis, and Great Compline services, so that the original melodies are preserved.

Christmas Plays

Over the years, Fr. Emmanuel has written several original Christmas plays including: “Daniel and the Three Youths”, “Prophecies Announcing Christ”, and “Christmas Eve”. Each play is highlighted with original Orthodox Christmas songs and carols (in English), which he wrote, arranged or composed. He has also written a musical, “The Three Wise Men” and two Divine Liturgies for the youth.


In 2001, with local faithful in the St. Louis area, Fr. Emmanuel founded Orthodox Witness, a non-profit organization dedicated to Orthodox Evangelism. Fr. Emmanuel established an annual seminar with the theme “Come and See”. The seminars were aimed at reaching non-Orthodox seekers in the community and featured several high-profile speakers.

Anthony Hatzidakis

Anthony (Tony) manages the publishing work of Orthodox Witness. He has a BFA in Photography and over the past 20 years has worked in the printing industry, at a university, at a software company and as a freelancer. He now dedicates himself to promoting the Orthodox Faith through the resources published by Orthodox Witness. His work for Orthodox Witness includes graphic design, web design, video production, text editing, marketing, sales, and shipping. He designed/developed this website and designed the 5 books and Orthodox Christmas plays published by Orthodox Witness.

Barbara Hatzidakis

Barbara ships orders for Orthodox Witness.