Presbytera Xanthippi (Cynthia) Papanikolaou


Xanthippi Papanikolaou December 5, 1936 – July 2, 2022

Services for Presbytera Papanikolaou will be held all in one day on Wednesday July 6th at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 11025 South Roberts Road Palos Hills Illinois 60465. Visitation will begin from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. Funeral Service will begin at 12:00 Noon, immediately following the visitation.

In Lieu of flowers The Papanikolaou family kindly asks that memorials in Presbytera’s name be made to The Father Byron Koraes Scholarship Fund. Please use the link provided.

Father Byron Scholarship Fund:

******For those of you who may not be able to attend, the services for Presbytera will be live streamed on the church home page. Please use link provided below.

Orrico Kourelis Funeral Services Inc. entrusted with all arrangements. For any information or assistance, Please call 815/260-0668 or

Presbytera Xanthippi (Cynthia) Papanikolaou, of Palos Hills, IL, died peacefully on July 2, 2022 at the age of 85. Cynthia was born on December 5, 1936 in Pentalophos, Greece. After World War II, she moved with her family to Thessaloniki. In 1951, her family emigrated to the United States, where they settled in Haverhill, MA. In Haverhill, Cynthia attended high school before working at Lincoln Shoe Company, one of the many shoe factories in a city once described as “the shoe capital of the world.” She was a member of the Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, where she was a part of a vibrant community of friends with whom she was reacquainted every summer when she would visit her parents, Panagiou and Aristotle Kassos.

On September 11, 1960, she was married to Byron Stylianos Papanikolaou (d. 2015). After his ordination to the priesthood, together they served the SS. Constantine and Helen parish, first in Chicago and then in Palos Hills, for nearly fifty-five years. She was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and sister, and one of her greatest joys was caring for and cooking for other people. She especially loved cooking for her grandchildren, who could always count on a steady stream of “Yiayia’s Soupa” (Avgolemono) being available promptly and with pleasure, at all hours of the day. Her homemade Prasopita was world renown, being requested by the late Archbishop Iakovos whenever he visited Chicago.

Presbytera Cynthia touched many lives in the SS. Constantine and Helen community through her generosity, compassion, commitment, kindness, and humility. She accompanied Fr. Byron to thousands of baptisms, weddings, and other church receptions. She was an active member in all aspects of parish life—the festival, the choir, Koraes School, the Philoptochos, and Agia Paraskeve. She will be remembered for her warm smile and loving hugs.

The family would like to thank her caregivers, particularly Stanislawa (Stella) Bilek, who was Presbytera Cynthia’s primary and loving caregiver, companion, and friend for the past 10 years.

Presbytera Cynthia is predeceased by her husband, her parents, her sister Paraskevoula, her grandson Thano, and her son in-law, George Tsokolas. She is survived by her children Sultana of Palos Hills, IL, Evans of Chicago, IL, and Telly and his wife Dena of Haverhill, MA; her grandchildren, Byron, Athan, Eleni, Byron and Alexander, who brought her great joy; her brother and sister in-law, Bill and Virginia Kassos of Haverhill, MA; her brother-in-law and sister in-law, Nikolaos and Niki Papanikolaou of Slippery Rock, PA; several nieces and nephews, and other relatives and friends.