History

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago traces its roots to 1923, when Rt. Rev. Philaretos Johannides became the city’s first Greek Orthodox bishop. Nearly 20 years later, Chicago became the “Second Diocesan District” of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North & South America. The Diocesan District would continue to coordinate the ecclesial growth of this major immigrant, industrial, and rail center in northeastern Illinois.

A number of distinguished bishops have since served the diocesan community, including the memorable Meletios, the beloved Ezekiel, and the late Timotheos of Rodostolon, to mention only a few. Each brought unique gifts to Chicago’s Greek Orthodox and larger communities. This Episcopal ministry excelled with the singular dedication of Chicago’s Metropolitan Iakovos, who tirelessly ministered in the nation’s “Second City” for 38 years. A studied and accomplished liturgist, the Athens-born Metropolitan Iakovos left a profound imprint upon the character of the Midwest’s Greek Orthodox communities.

On March 17, 2018, the next chapter in the history of the Metropolis of Chicago began with the ordination of her new Archpastor, His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. A dedicated servant-leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, His Eminence Metropolitan Chicago has taken decisive steps to renew the Metropolis of Chicago’s reason for being: to support and serve its parishes so they can minister to their faithful to do Christ’s work on Earth.

The majority of Metropolis parishes are concentrated in the greater Chicago area, where Greek immigrants arrived as early as the 19th century. Older parishes are found primarily in the older Midwestern industrialized cities, while newer congregations have followed demographic shifts, locating in suburban and even rural or missionary contexts. In recent decades, the Metropolis’ new churches have integrated traditional Byzantine architectural and decorative forms; earlier structures, in contrast, were often acquired from other faith groups.

The Metropolis of Chicago consists of 58 parishes and two monasteries in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin as well as northern Indiana and southeastern Missouri. All the clergy of the Metropolis of Chicago report to the Metropolitan, who in turn reports to the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople.


Mission, Vision, and Values

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” - Habakkuk 2:2-3

 

Organizations with healthy cultures invest time and resources to clarify and record their mission, vision, and values. The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago is no exception.

In the spring of 2018, 86 volunteers from across the Metropolis came together for three days to discuss fundamental questions including “why we are here” and “what we wish to accomplish while we are here.” The outcomes of the gathering were adopted by the Metropolis of Chicago as its mission, vision, values, and “why” statements, which can be found HERE.

Our mission, vision, and values reflect the fact that Orthodox Christianity is an ancient faith with rich traditions and sacred values. They affirm that Christ is and always must be at the center of our lives. They also seek to grow a sense of community among both Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians, based on beauty, love and truth.

The Metropolis of Chicago has and will continue to bear witness to Christ and minister to the local people, developing programs and policies that support and advance our mission, vision and values. We welcome feedback from the faithful. Please contact us with your thoughts and recommendations.