Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Princess Diana, Her Greek Friend, and Metropolitan Paul of Siatista

The late Metropolitan Paul of Siatista (+ 2019) for years served as Hierarchical Commissioner of Mantoudi in Evia and was always dear to the people.

In September 1996, Yiannis Kalyviotis, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, passed away. The 27-year-old Yiannis was the eldest of the four children of the Kalyviotis family from Limni in Evia. He had finished law school and was a practicing lawyer in Halkida when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. He went to England in 1995 where he remained for twenty whole months in treatment at Royal Brompton Hospital in London. He was accompanied to London by Father Paul Ioannou, the future Metropolitan of Siatista.

During one of her visits to the Hospitals of London, Princess Diana was at the Bromton Hospital when Yiannis was being treated. It was then that Princess Diana came to know both Yiannis and Father Paul.

Emotionally moved by his attempt to defeat death, Princess Diana developed a close friendship with Yiannis from Evia and even invited him to Buckingham Palace for dinner when he got well.

When she learned of his death, Diana came to Athens by private jet at the expense of the wealthy shipowner Lamos and from there she was taken to Limni in Evia.

Princess Diana was welcomed at Limni by the then Hierarchical Commissioner of Mantoudi, Limni and Agia Anna, Father Paul Ioannou, who served as her escort.

Diana visited the home of her friend in Limni and she attended the funeral where she sat with Yiannis' mother and brothers, relatives and the English nurse who cared for him during his months in London.

Father Paul said during the funeral service, referring to the presence of Princess Diana, that God sent her at this difficult time to give courage to Yiannis' family.

Fate would have it that she was to die less than a year later in an accident in Paris at the age of 36.