Tom Hanks Celebrates Good Friday with Greek Orthodox Community

Tom Hanks and Jim Gianopulos (back) carry the Epitaphios at Saint Sophia in Los Angeles

On Friday evening, the Christian Orthodox population of Los Angeles gathered at the Saint Sophia Cathedral for Good Friday’s Liturgy and periphery of Epitaphios. Since we are talking about Los Angeles, there are many celebrities that come to the church every year such as Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, Nia Vardalos, Maria Menounos and 20th Century CEO Jim Gianopulos. Every year Tom Hanks and Jim Gianopulos are two of the men that hold the Epitaphios. According to people that work for Saint Sophia, Tom Hanks is very religious, and goes to church almost every day throughout the holy week. The celebration of the Holy week continues with Liturgy on Saturday morning and the Ressurection liturgy on Saturday night. On Sunday there are private Easter parties- one of those at Jim Gianopulos house- and the pic-nic of the Saint Sophia Cathedral at the Rosebown in Pasadena.


  1. I’m very impressed about Tom Hanks,if I could afford to go there next year and see it that would be great ,but I’m a single dad retired and still paying college bills for my daughter and my son (a Marine Pilot) is going to be a dad himself so money is at a standstill,so Mr. Hanks ty from my family and being part of a very special day for Greek Orthodox people JOHN (butchthegreek)

  2. I’m happy to see that he is actively involved (way to go Rita!) and I do truly love him as an actor and a person. But while I suppose in Hollywood/LA it should be expected that a celebrity is holding the Epitafios, I think the editorializing of ‘he’s very religious’ because he goes to church almost every night during Holy Week is a ridiculous statement. I literally rolled my eyes when I read that. If he doesn’t make him religious because it goes to church for a couple days a year. Nor does it make people who don’t attend church any less religious. I just think the correlation is silly.

  3. Pontia, it appears the article hit a sorespot with you. While you are absolutely correct that attending church regularly, especially during the week following Palm Sunday, does not in and of itself enable one to be characterized as “religious,” it does certainly indicate that they may have cared enough to do their very best, i.e., they made an effort. I hope you are not one of those individuals who maintains that one does not have to attend church to be religious. That is a convenient myth those who do not attend regularly subscribe to in order to justify not going if in fact, and I emphasize, if in fact, he or she is available to atttend but chooses not to attend. In a sentence, attending church on any basis indicates that one has made the effort to give back to our Maker some tangible token of our appreciation for all he has given to us. That tangible token is commonly referred to as effort. You should not take umbrage to my remarks if it does not apply to you. Panagiotis

  4. I read the article and saw the picture of Tom Hank and I was very touched that he attends THE GREEK curch and is one of the men carrying the epitaphio. Rita must be very proud of the fact that she has been able to bring her non Greek husband to her church good for her, its nice to see. I was so impressed with the story and the picture i sent it to all my friends. Keep up the good work Rita and may God bless your family, and XRISTOS ANESTI LITSA sTATHACOPOULOS

  5. an an eastern long island greek american we see tom and rita during the summers in the hamptons and attend church and the churches frestival and have been rumored to be the benafactors of many church and community causes.

  6. I was born and raised Greek Orthodox, but am now Agnostic. I don’t attend church at all (save the Greek festival), and am still a happy and productive citizen. I also to consider myself to be ‘spiritual’ insofar as I am beyond mystified and appreciative of life, nature, science, our universe, etc. The assertion by a previous poster here that you have to attend church to be religious or spiritual is patently absurd. If you are religious, there can be a direct connection with ‘God’ without the need to enter a physical building and be surrounded by people by choice. Even prisoners in solitary confinement can be highly religious people not by choice.

  7. Yorgos

    How stupid and insane can anybody be to go from being Greek Orthodox to being agnostic? You are most certainly under the influence of your god Satan to be an agnostic. And when you stand before Jesus after you pass away and He tells you “Depart from me you worker of iniquity into the Lake Of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels” then you will be sorry that you were under the influence of your master Satan into being agnostic.

  8.  And you wonder WHY people leave the Church or become agnostic? Besides EVERYONE is agnostic, no one “knows”, that is why it’s called faith. Nothing wrong with faith and unknowing…go read Dionysius the Areopagite, or how about the freakin’ bible…Job and Ecclesiastes are perfect examples of pious agnosticism.  of course you seem to “know” how Jesus will judge each and everyone of us….lemme guess, you’re gonna be in heaven and you know this, how? Grow up, read about your Orthodox faith and stop telling people doubt is sending them to hell…it didn’t seem to work out to bad for the Apostle Thomas.

  9. Hey John. I saw your last name and it is exactly the same as mine!!!! I cant believe it!!! We have to be related somehow. My name is Jason Paul Hrisanthacopoulos. Please email me so we can chat. This is crazy! [email protected]  Thanks