The Most Blessed Tikhon, Metropolitan of all America and Canada
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada was born Marc R. Mollard in Boston, MA on July 15, 1966, the eldest of three children born to Francois and Elizabeth Mollard.
After brief periods living in Connecticut, France, and Missouri, he and his family settled in Reading, PA, where he graduated from Wyomissing High School in 1984. In 1988 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Sociology from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, after which he moved to Chicago.
In 1989 he was received into the Orthodox Church from Episcopalianism and, in the fall of the same year, he began studies at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA. One year later he entered the monastic community at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery as a novice. He was awarded the Master of Divinity degree from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary in 1993, after which he was appointed Instructor in Old Testament and subsequently Senior Lecturer in Old Testament, teaching Master level courses in the Prophets and the Psalms and Wisdom Literature. He also served as an Instructor in the seminary’s Extension Studies program, offering courses in the lives of the Old Testament saints, the liturgical use of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament in patristic literature.
He collaborated with Igumen Alexander [Golitzin]—now Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America—in the publication of “The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain” by Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press.
In 1995, he was tonsured to the Lesser Schema with the name Tikhon, in honor of Saint Patriarch Tikhon, Enlightener of North America. Later that year, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and Holy Priesthood at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. In 1998 he was elevated to the rank of Igumen, and in 2000, to the rank of Archimandrite.
In December 2002, he was named Deputy Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. Two years later—on February 14, 2004—he was consecrated to the episcopacy at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery Church. On May 9, 2012, he was elevated to the dignity of Archbishop.
On November 13, 2012, Archbishop Tikhon was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America at the 17th All-American Council.
The Right Reverend Paul, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest
Bishop 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.
The Reverend John Kennerk, Holy Assumption Parish Priest
Fr. John was born in Zionsville, Indiana. He attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he met his wife, Michelle. After moving to Chicago, he continued his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received his Master of Art History degree. He was involved in various aspects of the art world, particularly the art market and college education. He attended St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary and received his Master of Divinity degree, mediocri cum laude. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace, Bishop Paul on January 1st, 2017 at Christ the Savior in Chicago, IL.
Matushka Michelle was born in Nicosia, Cyprus. Her family moved to Grand Rapids while she was young. She also attended Calvin College and moved to Chicago to pursue a career in the textile industry. She and Father John were married in 2004 and have three children.