Our Patron Saint & Parish Leadership

Saint John the Baptist seen holding our Church.
Saint John the Baptist seen holding our Church.
Saint John the Baptist seen holding our Church.

The glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist is also referred to as John the Forerunner because he was the forerunner of Christ. He was an ascetic and great prophet, who baptized Christ and became one of the most revered saints in the Orthodox Church. John is a cousin of Christ through his mother Elizabeth who was the daughter of Zoia. Zoia is the sister of Christ's grandmother. He was later beheaded by Herod in the first century to satisfy the request of Herod's stepdaughter, Salome, and wife Herodias. Because he baptized Christ, he is the patron saint of godparents. He is sometimes called the Angel of the Desert; because of this title, he is sometimes depicted with wings.

Isaiah 40:3-5 is commonly read as a prophecy of John. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elizabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). John held the priesthood of Aaron, giving him the authority to perform baptisms of God.

His birth took place six months before that of Jesus, and according to the Gospel account was expected by prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1) and foretold by an angel. Zacharias lost his power of speech because of his unbelief over the birth of his son, and had it restored on the occasion of John's circumcision (Luke 1:64).

John was a Nazarite from his birth (Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judea lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (Matt. 3:1-12). He led a simple life, wearing rope (gamla) fiber clothing and eating "locusts and wild honey" (Matt. 3:4).

As an adult John started to preach in public, and people from "every quarter" were attracted to his message. The essence of his preaching was the necessity of repentance and turning away from selfish pursuits. He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them not to assume their heritage gave them special privilege (Luke 3:8). He warned tax collectors and soldiers against extortion and plunder. His doctrine and manner of life stirred interest, bringing people from all parts to see him on the banks of the Jordan River. There he baptized thousands unto repentance.

The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt. 3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John, on the special ground that it became him to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15). John's special office ceased with the baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus, a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded at the instigation of Herodias; later tradition also implicates Salomé. His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave, went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12). John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover of Jesus' ministry.

Jesus himself testified regarding John that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35). John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge figure between that period of revelation and Jesus. They also embrace a tradition that, following his death, John descended into Hell and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming.

Feast days

The Orthodox Church remembers Saint John the Forerunner on six separate feast days, listed here in order of the church year which begins on September 1:

Also, St. John's parents Zechariah and Elisabeth, are commemorated on September 5.


Miniature of the Finding of the head of St. John the Baptist (Menologion of Basil II, 10th c.).

The First Uncovering of the Head of St. John the Baptist took place in the fourth century at the time when Saint Constantine the Great and his mother, St. Helen, began restoring the holy places of Jerusalem.

The Second Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist of took place on on February 18, 452, at Emesa.

After the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), which reestablished the veneration of icons, the head of St. John the Baptist was returned to the Byzantine capital in around the year 850. The Church commemorates this event on May 25/June 7 as the Third Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist.

His relics are kept in several places including:

  • St. Demetrios Church, Neo Phaleron, Piraeus
  • Benaki Museum, Athens
  • Sacred Relics Room, Topkapi Museum, Constantinople (entire right arm and cranium)
  • Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria
  • Cetinje Monastery, Montenegro (right palm)



His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel (Brum)

Archbishop Daniel [Brum] was born in 1954 the eldest of three children born to Orville Antonio and Marjory Brum.  He was raised in Riverdale, CA—a community predominantly comprised of Portuguese-American families—where he graduated from high school in 1973.

Raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, he enrolled at Saint Patrick’s College Seminary, Mountain View, CA, where, during his freshman year, he first encountered the history of the Orthodox Church and frequently attended services at Saint Nicholas Church, Saratoga, CA, at that time under the rectorate of Mitered Archpriest George Benigsen, who welcomed him and encouraged him to explore Orthodox Christianity further.  In the early 1970s, he began reading the Church Fathers and tried to integrate what he was learning of Orthodoxy into his regular courses of study.

He received a BA in Humanities, with specialization in history, philosophy and English literature, from Saint Patrick’s College Seminary in 1977, after which he entered Saint Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, CA, where he continued the study of Church history.  In 1981, he received his Masters of Divinity degree and was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood.  After ordination, he served in a variety of capacities and was especially involved in the Portuguese-American community.  He also served as diocesan Director of Vocations and as editor of the Portuguese-language page of the diocesan newspaper.

In 1992, he was asked by his bishop to pursue further studies and, in 1995, he completed the academic work and received a degree in canon law (JCL) from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.  His relationship with Orthodoxy continued as he continued research within the context of the Orthodox Church councils.  During this time, he seriously contemplated conversion to Orthodox Christianity—a difficult decision given his background and ties.  Ultimately, it was his study of canon law that impelled him to respond to the call to embrace Orthodox Christianity.

After completing his course of studies in canon law, he returned to his diocese and was assigned to the Diocesan Tribunal, as well as to a small mission parish in a rural setting.  During this period, his feelings and perceptions about Catholicism, based upon years of personal experience and reinforced through informal and formal study, were confirmed, while his growing love and appreciation for the Orthodox Church were increasingly confirmed and strengthened.

He petitioned to be received into the Orthodox Church in America in 1997 and was vested as an Orthodox priest by His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the West at the Monastery of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco on the Saturday of the Praises of the Theotokos the same year, after which he served briefly at Saint Nicholas Church, Saratoga, CA before his assignment to Saint Paul the Apostle Church, Las Vegas, NV.  In August 1998, he was transferred to the omophorion of His Eminence, Archbishop Peter and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey and assigned Rector of Saint Gregory Palamas Mission, Flemington, NJ, where he gained a new appreciation for the hard work and special challenges faced by mission priests.  In 2000, he was appointed Secretary to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius and, later, to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman.  He also served on several Church committees and commissions, including the Canons and Statute Commission, the Statute Revision Task Force, the Legal Advisory Board, and the Canonization Commission, and in numerous other capacities.

In December 2005, he expressed his desire to return to parish ministry and, in July of the following year, he was transferred to the Diocese of San Francisco and the West and appointed Rector of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Phoenix, AZ, which he continues to serve.  In October 2006, he was elected as a member of the Diocesan Council.

On October 21, 2014, the Holy Synod elected him to serve as auxiliary to His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West as Bishop of Santa Rosa, CA.  He was consecrated to the episcopacy on January 24, 2015.

On July 18, 2022, he was canonically elected by the Holy Synod of Bishops as Bishop of Chicago and the Diocese of the Midwest.

On November 11, 2022, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop by the Holy Synod of Bishops, under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington; Metropolitan of All America and Canada. 


Father Brian Crivella

Fr. Brian was born in 1985 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the small town of Mt. Pleasant, southeast of Pittsburgh with his parents and two sisters. Raised at Saint John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Scottdale, Fr. Brian didn’t discover the Orthodox Church until he began attending college as a history student. Before completing his Bachelor’s Degree,  Fr. Brian decided to enlist in the United States Coast Guard rather than rack up a large amount of school debt like many of his friends had done.

A week before leaving for Basic Training in Cape May, NJ,  Fr. Brian married his wife Matushka Rose. It was shortly after completing Basic Training and being stationed at a Search and Rescue station in Sheboygan, WI that Matushka Rose encouraged Fr. Brian to finally attend his first Orthodox Church service at Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church. Fr. Brian immediately felt as if he had come home, and enrolled as a catechumen. During the summer of 2010, before being promoted and transferred from Sheboygan, WI, Fr. Brian was chrismated into the Orthodox Church.

Fr. Brian would spend seven and a half years active duty in the United States Coast Guard performing search and rescue, law enforcement, and logistical support, while Matushka Rose served in the Army Reserve as a Water Treatment Specialist. After several promotions and moves, their family finally came to live in Willoughby, OH where they began attending Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Mentor, OH under the leadership of Fr. Andrew Clements. Through the constant selfless love shown to the family by the parish, hearing the services for the first time in English, and through Fr. Andrew’s pastoring, Matushka Rose and Fr. Brian’s children, Sarah, Katherine, Irene, & Helen finally joined him in the Orthodox faith.

While serving in the Coast Guard in Fairport Harbor and attending Saint Nicholas, Fr. Brian was made aware that his GI Bill benefits would cover his entire tuition, cost of books, and his housing expenses if he attended Seminary. After discerning a calling to attend Seminary with Fr. Andrew’s help, Fr. Brian was given a blessing by Archbishop Paul to apply for Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, NY.  Despite not having the prerequisite Bachelor’s degree, Saint Vladimir’s accepted Fr. Brian as a student where he moved with his family and began classes in 2016.

During his third year of studies, Fr. Brian was ordained to the Holy Deaconate by Archbishop Paul at Saint Vladimir’s. He interned with Fr. Vladimir Aleandro at Christ the Savior Church in Southbury, CT his last year at Seminary, and after completing his coursework at Saint Vladimir’s, Fr. Brian returned to Saint Nicholas in Mentor to serve as a Deacon under Fr. Andrew in 2019. 

In March of 2020, Fr. Brian was ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop Paul at St. Nicholas the weekend before COVID-19 shutdowns began in the United States.  In May Fr. Brian was blessed to be sent to succeed Fr. Johnathan at our parish where he seeks to continue the work of his predecessors building up the people of God within the Church while bringing the love of Christ and the fullness of the Orthodox Faith to Warren and the surrounding area.


Father Deacon John Tutoki

Deacon John was baptized at Saint John's Orthodox Church (the old church building on Hoyt Street) by Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory. When he reached the appropriate age, he began serving as an alter boy for many years, always having a love for serving the parish. His father was the Sacristan for many years, until he was hospitalized, whereas Deacon John would fill in. Unfortunately, his father never came out of the hospital, so Deacon John remained the sacristan for 24 years before being tonsured a sub-deacon, and attending the DVP schooling. After completing his diaconate education, John was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by the laying on of hands by His Grace Bishop Paul on June 24, 2018. John is married to his wife Peggy of 29 years, and they have four children; two boys and two girls. Deacon John enjoys the outdoors, going to the beach and visiting parishoners who are unable to attend services. When asked what his favorite scripture verse or liturgical hymn is he responded with, "The Angel Cried!"


Mark Malacky

In 2019 Mark was sworn in as Council President, which is his third time serving as Council President, though not in back to back terms. He is married to his wife Ellen, and they have three children, Joseph, Susanna & Thomas. Mark was the third child baptized in Saint John's current Church building (on Reeves Road) and has been a life time member of the parish. He enjoys spending time with his family, and golfing.
His favorite scripture verse is John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." His favorite hymn is, "Arise O God, Judge the Earth" sung on Holy Saturday. When asked what he loves most about Saint John's he said, "I love the people at St John's, and how well we work together."

Vadim Stehnach

Since 1969, Vadim, has been a parishoner of Saint Johns here in Warren. Prior to that, he and his family were parishoners or Saint John's Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA. And since 1983, Vadim has been our fearless leader in directing the hymns and responses to the divine services. Over the course of his leadership, our choir has recorded three full length albums, available for purchase on our website, Amazon Music, the iTunes store and Spotify. Vadim is married to his wonderful wife Kathy, and they have two dogs, Isabella and Bouché. Vadim enjoyes singing (in the car or in church), golfing and spending time with family and friends. His favorite liturgical hymn is "The Angel Cried..." (9th ode of the Paschal Canon) This hymn (sung energetically) defines the announcement to the Virgin Mary of the resurrection of Christ (her Son). When asked what he love most about Saint John's, he said, "I love the extended family that I have enjoyed praying with and growing with in the Orthodox faith." When asked what his hope and prayer is for the future of Saint John's and the Warren community he said, "I pray that we are able to continue to worship with purpose and grow our faith with others."


Archpriest Jonathan Cholcher

Fr. Jonathan was born in 1963 in Fort Smith, AR, and baptized there three weeks later at First Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod).  He graduated from Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, MO, in 1990 and embarked on a ten-year ministry as a Lutheran pastor in both Oklahoma and Southern Illinois.  Following a two-year catechumenate and Late Vocations program, he and his wife and three children (one daughter and two sons) were received into the Orthodox Church via chrismation in July of 2000 and moved to Akron, OH, where he taught at the newly opened Saint Nicholas Orthodox School.  Ordained to the Diaconate by Bishop Job of Chicago at Saint Nicholas Church in Mogadore, OH, on June 24, 2001, he was then ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Job at the same location on November 3, 2002.  Fr. Jonathan and family moved to Warren in the summer of 2006 where he began service as Priest at Saint John Church on August 1, remaining there until moving in May 2020 to Bradenton, FL, where he started as Priest of Saint Mark Church.  The years at Saint John’s will be fondly remembered for the warm camaraderie of the Parish community, the beautiful liturgical life, and the fellowship of working together in all kinds of activities for the betterment of the Church.  Throughout all these years, the words of Saint John the Baptist regarding our Savior continually ring true: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  Glory to Jesus Christ!  Glory forever!

Archpriest Peter Pawlack

Archpriest Peter Pawlack fell asleep in the Lord on April 19, 2021.

Father Peter was born in Mayfield, PA the son of the late Julia (Hadginske) and Peter J. Pawlack. A younger sister and only sibling recently fell asleep in the Lord.

He graduated from (Eastside) New Jersey High School. He attended Rollins College in Winter Park, FL and subsequently transferred to Rider College (now Rider University) in Lawrenceville, NJ to continue his undergraduate studies. He received his undergraduate degree in Commerce and Industrial Management from Rider College. In the fall of 1962 he entered Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY.

In June of 1964 he and the former Barbara Rugala were married by the late Archpriest Dimitri Ressetar, Archpriest John Meyendorff and Archpriest Paul Shafran at Saint John’s Orthodox Church, Mayfield, PA.

On October 10, 1964 Father Peter was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Chapel by the late Archbishop John of San Francisco. Four months later on February 15th he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary in New York City by the late Archbishop Ireney of Boston. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in the spring of 1965 he was assigned to Saint Mary’s Church in Waterbury, CT.

While serving as pastor of Saint Mary’s Church, Father Peter advocated the use of the English language in an era when Church Slavonic was still quite prevalent. He served as Spiritual Advisor to the Atlantic District Eastern Orthodox Christian Education Association and the Atlantic District FROC, Secretary of the Diocese of New England and University Chaplain for the New England Diocese.

He returned to Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in 1967-68 and completed requirements for the Master of Divinity degree which was awarded in May of 1968.

In June of 1968, Father Peter was assigned to Saint John the Baptist Church, Warren, Ohio where he served as pastor for 38 years.

During his pastorate at Saint John’s Church, Father Peter has served as: Chairman of the Department of Church School Programs for the Chicago-Minneapolis Diocese, Member of the Midwest Diocesan Council, Member of Saint Joseph Hospital’s Pastoral Advisory Council, Member of the Warren Police/Clergy Crisis Intervention Team and Vice-President of the Warren Clergy Association.

He has served as Secretary of the OCA Pension Board, Chairman of the Cleveland Deanery Publications Committee and was a member of the Howland Clergy Association.

Father Peter was elevated to Archpriest in 1977 and awarded the Jeweled Cross by the Synod of Bishops in 1990.

Prior to his retirement Father Peter served as Dean of the Ohio Deanery from 2004 to 2006. He retired from Saint John the Baptist Church in August of 2006. During his retirement years he was a substitute priest as needed in parishes of the Ohio Deanery and for the last six years served Sunday Liturgy at the Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA.

Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko

Thomas Hopko was born in Endicott, New York of Rusyn descent. His ancestors are linked to the Rusyn village of Naviczke (now Nevyts'ke) near the city of Uzhorod. He was baptized and raised in St. Mary’s Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek-Catholic Church, Endicott. He gained his B.A. in Russian studies at Fordham University in 1960, followed by a Master of Divinity degree at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1963. He later completed a master's degree in philosophy at Duquesne University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in theology at Fordham University in 1982. At St. Vladimir's Seminary, Hopko studied with such renowned Orthodox theologians as Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Nicholas Arseniev and Serge Verkhovskoy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1963 and served several parishes in the states of Ohio and New York, noteably, our beloved parish. When assigned to our parish, we were still worshipping in our Church building in downtown Warren on Hoyt Street. He is responsible for designing and constructing the current building we're in,  on Reeves Road. In 1968 he began to teach at St. Vladimir's and eventually succeeded his teacher Serge Verkhovskoy as professor of dogmatic theology. He was elevated to the rank of archpriest in 1970 and, upon his election as dean, to the rank of protopresbyter (1995). 

Hopko was an Orthodox Christian lecturer and speaker, known both in Orthodox and ecumenical circles. He served as a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and as a delegate from the Orthodox Church in America to the Assemblies of WCC in Uppsala, Sweden and Nairobi, Kenya. He was also President of the Orthodox Theological Society in America (1992–95). In retirement, he had several popular podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio.

Hopko has written about the ordination of women and the reasons for its rejection in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Hopko died of complications from congestive heart failure due to amyloidosis on March 18, 2015, in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, Pennsylvania. He was survived by his wife and five children. Days before his death, his daughter Juliana created a blog wherein she provided periodic status updates about his declining health and eventual death. 

Memory Eternal, dear Father!

Great Vespers every Saturday @ 5:00 PM
Divine Liturgy every Sunday @ 9:30 AM
*Divine Liturgy every Wednesday @ 9:30 AM unless otherwise noted
in the weekly bulletin or master monthly calendar
*Be sure to check our schedule of services to ensure service times haven't been adjusted*
2220 Reeves Road
Warren, OH 44483
(330) 372-3895