Father Demetrius MICHAILIDÈS died at the Richelieu infirmary on the evening of June 25. He had been suffering for a long time from various health problems and died of kidney failure. He had joined the Jesuit community at the Richelieu residence in July 2016.
Demetrius (Dimitri, as he was usually called) was born in Cairo (Egypt) to parents of Greek origin on November 7, 1928. He completed his secondary education at the Lycée Franco-Égyptien in Heliopolis and graduated with the French Baccalaureate in 1947. That same year, he left Egypt to come to Canada to attend university training in agronomy at the Cistercian Abbey of Oka. In April 1948, he asked to be welcomed into the Catholic Church, having been baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. After completing the third year of studies in agronomy, he decided to become a Jesuit and entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Montreal on August 14, 1950.
After his first vows, he immediately began the stage of philosophy. He studied one year (1952-53) at the Collège de l’Immaculée-Conception in Montreal and two years (1953-55) at the scholasticate of the Society of Jesus in Toronto. He also took courses in Medieval Philosophy at St Michael College from which he received an M.A.
In regency, he taught philosophy from 1955 to 1958 at Collège Sainte-Marie in Montreal. During this period, he took courses in education every summer at Fordham University in New York. On the verge of completing his regency, he asked the provincial of the time to do a fourth year of regency and to go to Ethiopia to teach philosophy at the university founded by the Society, because he had the desire to devote himself to the missions at the end of his formation.
Upon his return from Ethiopia, Dimitri began his theological studies at the Collège de l’Immaculée-Conception. At the end of the first year, in the spring of 1960, the provincial decided to send him to continue his studies at the scholasticate in Fourvières, France, because he was destined for the Vice-Province of the Near East where he would teach theology. After finishing his licentiate in theology, he was ordained priest in the Eastern rite at the church of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre in Paris on June 9, 1963. He made his tertianship at Saint-Jérôme in 1963-64. Then he undertook doctoral studies in theology at the Université de Strasbourg, which he completed in 1968 with a doctorate in religious sciences and supplemented the following year with a doctorate of state.
While continuing his studies in France, he taught dogmatic theology at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut, as well as in Belgium and New York. He served for some time as dean of the Faculty of Theology in Beirut. In 1974, he returned to Canada and became a member of the Province of French Canada. For one year (1974-75) he served as an expert theologian at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). He worked for about fifteen years in the public service of the Quebec government until he took early retirement in the early 1990s because of his near blindness. He spent his retirement years doing volunteer work.
Fr. Michailides had only one brother, who died without having had children. He had some close friends, including Dr. Samir Khalifé, Mr. Bernard Goyer who regularly visited him at the Richelieu residence. Due to the pandemic, the funeral mass is being postponed to August or September.