CURRENT LEADERSHIP

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His Eminence Archbishop Paul Gassios

Archbishop Paul was born in 1953 to Nicholas and Georgia Gassios, natives of Castanea, Greece.  He, his parents, and his sister Agatha lived in Detroit until their move to the suburbs in 1973. As an infant, he was baptized with the name Apostolos, in honor of the holy Apostle Paul, at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Detroit, MI—his home parish for the first 28 years of his life. He graduated from Detroit’s Cooley High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society, in 1971, after which he enrolled in Wayne State University as a history and psychology major.  After his graduation in 1976, he worked with emotionally and physically abused children.  He furthered his education at Wayne State, from which he received a Master of Social Work degree in 1980, and continued to work in his chosen field.

In the mid-1980s, he became a member of Holy Transfiguration Church, Livonia, MI.  He began theological studies in September 1991 at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, from which he received his Master of Divinity degree summa cum laude and served as valedictorian in 1994.  He was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence, the late Archbishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest, on June 25, 1994.

After ordination, he was assigned Priest-in-Charge of Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, Kokomo, IN, which he served until June 2005, after which he resided at Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery, Hayesville, OH until May 2006.  He briefly served as Rector of Archangel Michael Church, St. Louis, MO and the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Church, Desloge, MO before his transfer to the OCA’s Bulgarian Diocese and assignment as Dean of Saint George Cathedral, Rossford, OH in 2007.  In August 2014, he was named Administrator of the Diocese of the Midwest and relocated to Chicago.

On October 20, 2014, he was tonsured to monastic rank with the name Paul, in honor of Saint Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople.  On October 21, 2014, the Holy Synod elected him to fill the vacant Episcopal See of Chicago and the Diocese of the Midwest.

Archimandrite Paul was consecrated to the Episcopacy and enthroned as Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest at Chicago’s historic Holy Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, December 27, 2014.  Concelebrating at the Consecration Liturgy were His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West; His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania; His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas; His Grace, Bishop Irénée of Ottawa and Canada; His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey; His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese; and His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska. On Thursday, May 28, 2020 he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

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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.

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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!"

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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."
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Annette Moy

Bio coming soon!

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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 1984 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."

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Youth Group Leaders

 

Pam Zalewski

Bio coming soon!

Diane Mediate

Diane Mediate is one of the co-youth coordinators as of summer of 2020. She grew up going to St Vladimir's Summer Camp every summer, and competing in the basketball and bowling tournaments with the juniors. Having those experiences, she wanted to have her kids enjoy similar experiences as well, which drives her desire to help with the youth. She lives with her husband, Vince, and their three kids: Juji, Rocco and Race. The Mediate family joined Saint John's late in 2019 and felt so welcomed to the parish, having transferred from another Orthodox Church in NE Ohio. Diane enjoys traveling, eating out and summers by the pool with her kids. Her favorite time of the year in the church is the Paschal season. We're thankful for Diane and her zeal!

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Choir Directors & Cantors

Vadim Stehnach - See Bio Above

Mark Malacky - See Bio Above

James Stan - Bio coming soon!

Joseph Yez - Bio coming soon!

Christine (Chris) DiGiacobbe • Assistant Choir Director - 24 years

Chris has been our Sunday School Coordinator for 15 years. She has been a public school teacher for 17 years and served as a Sunday school teacher for 6 years, prior to accepting the position of Sunday School coordinator. Chris served as the Youth Group coordinator for 20 years, but decided to step down from the position in 2020. Diane Mediate and Pam Georgevich, two devoted and active mothers of our parish, have accepted co-coordinator positions for this role. Something Chris really enjoys, is working with children and understanding the necessity to educate our youth in the teachings of our church.   
 
Complimenting her involvement with our Youth comes her experience as one of our assistant choir directors. Chris accepted this position because she's a music teacher in the public school system. She also served as a choir director in her Father’s parish for four years, and have been an assistant choir director at Archangel Michael (OCA) parish in Broadview Heights, and Saint Nicholas (OCA) parish in Mogadore. 
 
Chris is married and has three grown children who live out of town. Born and raised Orthodox Christian, and has been a member of Saint John’s for 25 years. She enjoys spending time with her family, exercising and hiking. Her favorite song from our Festal year is Christ is Risen, along with Psalm 95:1-2  “Oh, sing a new song to the Lord. Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Sing to the Lord; bless His name: Proclaim His salvation from day to day.”
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ABOUT US

We are a community of the Orthodox Church in America. Click below to visit the OCA website and learn more about our national Church body.

 

THE OCA MISSION

The Mission of the Orthodox Church in America, the local autocephalous Orthodox Church, is to be faithful in fulfilling the commandment of Christ to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all [things that He has] commanded” so that all people may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth:

To preach, in accordance with God’s will, the fullness of the gospel of the Kingdom to the peoples of North America and to invite them to become members of the Orthodox Church.

To utilize for her mission the various languages of the peoples of this continent.

To be the body of Christ in North America and to be faithful to the tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church.

To witness to the truth, and by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to reveal Christ’s way of sanctification and eternal salvation to all.

Answering the Call: Discerning your Vocation

Vocation is: Ones unique and ongoing reponse to Christ's call to love God, in heart and soul, strength and mind, and to love ones neighboor as oneself.

Serving Christ and His people can take a variety of forms. Perhaps you have a calling to the priesthood or diaconate. Perhaps you feel a pull toward monasticism. Or maybe serving Christ comes through volunteer and service opportunities through your workplace. Serving Gods people can happen at anytime or anywhere. For more information on a formal seminary education, or jobs focusing on the Church, check out the links below!

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Saint Tikhon's Seminary
St. Tikhon’s is an institution of professional Orthodox Christian theo­logical education, chartered by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and affiliated with the Orthodox Church in America. In a rural environment conducive to spiritual growth and academic study, the Seminary nurtures the theological vocations of its students and faculty, who share the unique opportunity of learning and teaching Orthodox theology in the framework of their daily experience.
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Saint Vladimir's Seminary
Purpose: The purpose of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary is to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by bearing witness to Him throughout the world. Mission: We train priests, lay leaders, and scholars to be active apologists of the Orthodox Christian Faith—focusing on academic rigor and spiritual formation within a residential Orthodox community.
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Orthodox Jobs
For over 15 years, OrthodoxJobs is the premier online location for finding opportunities in lay ministry within the Orthodox Church with over 900 job opportunities posted during that time.
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Late Vocation Program
The St. Macrina Orthodox Institute for Diakonia and Catechesis of the Diocese of the Midwest looks to help local parishes and Deaneries within the diocese to set up high quality, rigorous continuing education programs to train men and women to assist in parish and deanery ministries.

FORMER LEADERSHIP

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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!

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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.

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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!

CONNECT WITH US
 

Address: 2220 Reeves Road • Warren, OH 44483     Phone: (330) 372-3895     Email: FrBrian@stjohnswarren.com