Archbishop of New York and Los Angeles & Metropolitan of All North America
His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus, after many years of serving as a deacon and priest. His Eminence was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1950. He completed his basic schooling at the St. John of Damascus and al-Assiyeh schools in Damascus and then at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in Koura, Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Lebanese University in Beirut and then earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Tikhon Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania in May, 2010.
With the blessing of Patriarch ELIAS IV of blessed memory, Metropolitan PANTELEIMON (Rodopoulos) ordained him to be a deacon on December 4, 1976 in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Patriarch IGNATIUS IV of blessed memory ordained him a priest on December 10, 1980 in Damascus, Syria. The priest Joseph served as dean of St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus and as overseer of Holy Cross Church and other parishes in the suburbs of Damascus. He served as superintendent of the secondary school in Damascus from 1980 until 1983. He then went abroad to pastor the Antiochian Orthodox Church in London, England, from 1983 to 1986 and the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cyprus from 1986 until 1991, when he was elected to be a bishop.
Bishop JOSEPH was consecrated with the title, Bishop of Katana in Syria, and served as Patriarchal Assistant and Secretary of the Holy Synod of Antioch. In 1995, he was sent by Patriarch IGNATIUS to America. Here, in our Archdiocese, Bishop JOSEPH was assigned to the West Coast Chancery by Metropolitan PHILIP of blessed memory. Bishop JOSEPH was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, California by Metropolitan PHILIP as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West on September 12, 2004.
On December 11, 2011, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV elevated Bishop JOSEPH to the rank of Archbishop, in honor of his many years of service as a bishop both in our Archdiocese and in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
On July 3, 2014, Archbishop JOSEPH was elected to become the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
Metropolitan JOSEPH'S achievements in apostolic ministry over the course of almost 20 years of diakonia as Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles & the West, as well as the locum tenens of the Diocese of Eagle River & the Northwest, form a solid testimony to his spiritual, ethical, and personal leadership qualifications. Over this vast expanse of the western United States and Canada, including Alaska, Metropolitan JOSEPH has tirelessly and unrelentingly maintained a personal apostolic presence in the more than 60 parishes under his care. His Eminence has maintained a personal culture of contact, by direct phone, with all his clergy. Many of the clergy and laity testify that Sayidna always remembers and acts on any important issue placed before him. This unique combination of traits, sobriety and blameless familiarity form the bedrock for his personal effectiveness with all.
Based upon his solid spiritual, ascetical, intellectual, and cultural formation and education, His Eminence has effectively established solid and meaningful Annual Clergy Seminars, and deepened the spiritual and educational experience of both clergy and laity at the annual Parish Life Conferences. He has brought in many and diverse Orthodox authors, leaders, and teachers to enrich the clergy and the laity of his two western dioceses. This has served to promote a strong sense of clergy brotherhood, inter-parochial exchanges, and has become the envy of other Orthodox jurisdictions everywhere. Guest speakers and visitors constantly remark that Metropolitan JOSEPH'S clergy are outstanding in their consistent and active involvement in such events. His Eminence has labored intensely to deepen the spiritual life of his clergy, by encouraging frequent confession, personal prayer, continual education, and a heightened sense of the fullness of our Orthodox Christian tradition of interior and ascetical transfiguration in Christ.
His Eminence has demonstrated episcopal hospitality in his way of life and has led the way in cultivating an active pan-Orthodox community in the western United States and Canada. All of the canonical Orthodox hierarchs of the West relate to Metropolitan JOSEPH in a personal way as an episcopal concelebrant. This episcopal brotherhood has increasingly been reflected in the inter-parochial interaction of the priests and laity of all the parishes, across the western states and provinces.
Metropolitan JOSEPH has taken care in establishing a strong, clear, and straightforward liturgical guidance for all his parishes. He pioneered the use of the internet in publishing the entire text of all the Sunday and festal services of the Church throughout the year. His love for the divine services inspires him to improve the liturgical praxis of all the clergy, through constant interactions and special teachings. In addition, he constantly promotes the spiritual climate of the dioceses under his care with such things as "the thought of the day."
Sayidna JOSEPH is fluent in English, Arabic and Greek and is conversant in other European languages. His name day is the second Sunday after Pascha (Joseph of Arimathea).
2300 W 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 382-6269 (Phone)
Nabil Lotfy Ragheb Hanna was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1960. He emigrated to the United States, with his parents and two sisters, in 1968. He was then raised in Portland, Oregon, and attended schools there. He was graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland with a degree in chemistry in 1981 and worked as an engineer for the Intel Corporation for the next five years.
In 1986, Nabil began theological studies at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained to the diaconate on January 29, 1989, and served as deacon at St. George Church in Little Falls, New Jersey. He completed his masters’ degree (M.Div.) at St. Vladimir’s and was graduated in May, 1989. His emphasis was on Scripture and biblical languages, and his thesis was entitled, “Exegesis of John 9.1-38: The Healing of the Man Born Blind.”
Upon graduation Dn. Nabil was assigned as Assistant Pastor for St. Luke’s Church in Garden Grove, California, where he was ordained as a presbyter by Archbishop Philip on July 30, 1989. Fr. Nabil then served as pastor of St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, Massachusetts, and of St. George Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio, before beginning his pastorate of St. George Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, in August of 1995. He was honored with the dignity of protopresbyter in September of 1999.
Fr. Nabil led the many wonderful members of St. George—who shared the vision and worked and sacrificed for it to become a reality—in the construction of and relocation to a new church temple in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers in 2013. The new church building features a traditional Byzantine architecture, with a large central dome and iconography that conveys the understanding that “Christ is in our midst.”
After completing twenty-five years in Indiana, Fr. Nabil was assigned by Metropolitan Joseph to serve as Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, California, in August, 2020.
In July, 1987, he married Elaine Gounaris, who also holds an M.Div. as a graduate from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and who has served the Church in various national and parochial capacities. She has researched the role of deaconesses in the early Church, with its implications on the role of women in the Church today and she participated in the International Orthodox consultations on the role women in Rhodes (1988) and Crete (1990). Kh. Elaine has written articles, led retreats, given lectures and taught various classes. She has also worked on the reading and writing sections of various standardized exams for elementary, middle and high school levels, including college entrance exams.
Fr. Nabil and Kh. Elaine have three grown children, Anastasia, Basil and Gregory.
2300 W 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 382-6269 (Phone)
The Rev. Fr. Paul Olson who serves in our Spanish Ministry spent his early years in an Evangelical Protestant Church in downtown Los Angeles. Later his family moved to Orange County where he spent his youth mostly at another large Evangelical Church in Santa Ana where he and his wife Laurie met and were married. From there he and his wife Kh. Laurie were sent as missionaries to Colombia for 4 years. There he learned to read and write Spanish fluently as well as to teach and preach publicly. After 5 years in inner-city ministry with Cambodians and Hispanics, they and their three daughters became Orthodox at St. Barnabas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Costa Mesa where he served as head chanter for over 10 years. In 2003, he began the St. Stephen’s course and came to St. Nicholas to do his directed projects with the Spanish ministry here. After a short time, Fr. Paul and Kh. Laurie felt so at home at St. Nicholas that they moved their membership and began attending both the Spanish as well as the English and Arabic Liturgies while teaching a Bible Study and Sunday School class in Spanish between the services. They continue to do this until the present. Fr. Paul dedicated himself to God’s service from a very early age as had Kh. Laurie, earliest as short term missionaries, even before they married. Later, Fr. Paul ministered as a musician and later as a missionary, teacher, preacher and leader of an extension Bible institute. After 13 years, he began the St. Stephen’s course, still feeling unworthy and uncertain that ordination was a possibility. Through the leadership of Fr. Michel Najim under then-Bishop JOSEPH, he was brought soon into the sub-deaconate and 3 years later to the deaconate and 2 years after that into the priesthood. A priest since 2008, Fr. Paul is grateful to God for this priesthood and offers thanks daily to God for the privilege to serve Him and His Church in this way. Fr. Paul is the father of three beautiful daughters all married in the Orthodox Church to pious Orthodox men raising their 5 grandchildren (with one on the way at this writing) in the Church. His daughters are active chanters and choir members in their respective parishes.
2300 W 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(925) 323-6787 (Phone)
Father Andrew was born and raised in the Los Angeles area and grew up as a member of St. Nicholas Cathedral. He is the first of four children of Robert and Adrianne Andrews and has two brothers and one sister. Fr. Andrew married Ruth Elia Davis in 1987 and they have one son, Nicholas Peter. Fr. Andrew, Ruth and Nick have been residents of Walnut Creek, CA since 1990. Fr. Andrew and Ruth relocated back to the LA area in 2021 and Nick is currently living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Fr. Andrew received his BA degree from Cal Poly Pomona in Agricultural Business Management with a minor in Information Services. He also has a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership from the University of California, San Francisco. He completed the St. Stephen’s Course of Study receiving a Certificate in Applied Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies in 2005. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at the hands of Metropolitan JOSEPH on July 3, 2005 in San Francisco, CA. After serving over fifteen years as a deacon first at St. John the Evangelist Church in Orinda, CA and later at St. Timothy Church in Fairfield, CA he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the hands of Metropolitan JOSEPH on December 8, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA. Fr. Andrew was attached to St Timothy Church until his assignment to St Nicholas Cathedral in August of 2020.
Father Andrew has served many roles in his lifetime in the Orthodox Church including Teen SOYO President, Director of Camp St. Nicholas and Camp St John summer programs; was the founding Chairman of the Archdiocese Department of Communication and Information; and was registration chairman for two parish life conferences. Fr. Andrew is a former Board of Directors member of the St. Herman Orthodox Theological School in Kodiak, AK as well as Project Mexico and the St. Innocent Orphanage. He is also a life member in the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.
In his secular career, Fr. Andrew worked as the Director of Information Services for Sutter Health, an Integrated Healthcare Delivery System in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Valley. He retired from the Healthcare industry and began full time pastoral ministry in January of 2021. Prior to this, Fr. Andrew served as Director of Applied Professional Services for an information technology consulting firm specializing in large scale system implementations, business process improvement, and technology / process integration. His hobbies include umpiring little league baseball and playing rock and roll keyboards.