In Guatemala, the nuns wanted the mission teams to come there so that the children wouldn’t believe they were the only Orthodox Christians in existence. After the teams came, they began to realize that the Orthodox Faith exists throughout the entire world.
His Grace, the Right Reverend Matthias is the OCA Bishop of Chicago and the Diocese of the Midwest. No stranger to mission parishes, at the age of 12, he moved with his parents to Parma, OH where began attending a newly formed mission of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. After getting married to his wife, Jeannette, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in 1972, and they planted a mission parish in New York in 1975.
In May 1996, his wife, Jeannette, was diagnosed with acute leukemia. She fell asleep in the Lord 11 months later on March 26, 1997, leaving (then) Fr. Matthias and their two children. Prior to his wife’s illness, Fr. Matthias had begun studies at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA, which he discontinued during her cancer. One year following the repose of his wife, Father resumed his studies and was awarded a Master of Divinity degree.
Having always admired the monastic life, he visited the Iveron Monastery on Mount Athos for the entire month of May 2003. Much of his time on Mount Athos was spent following the daily cycle of services and obediences. Many hours were spent speaking to his newly found Anthonite spiritual father, Priestmonk Jeremiah. Following his time on Mount Athos, he was tonsured a riasophor monk on October 14, 2003.
During the last ten years, he has visited Holy Trinity Monastery and Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala, both on his own and as the leader of several mission teams. For the last two years, he has served as spiritual father to the nuns at the monastery and the children at the orphanage. He was consecrated Bishop of Chicago on April 30, 2011 and blessed the planting of a mission in Rolla during the early months of 2012.