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His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago
Consecrated: March 17, 2018
Patronal Feast: June 11, 2018
His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago is the second metropolitan to preside over the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, consisting of 58 parishes and two monastic communities in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin as well as central Missouri. He was unanimously elected Metropolitan of Chicago, succeeding His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of blessed memory, by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on February 7, 2018. He was later ordained a Bishop in the Holy Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, New York, on March 17, and was enthroned as Metropolitan of Chicago in the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of Chicago on March 24.
His Eminence has served as a guest professor and lecturer of Orthodox Christian Ethics and Bioethics at Fordham University, the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and Saint Vladimir Theological School, and has authored and delivered numerous articles and presentations in theology and bioethics. A fervent advocate of human rights, His Eminence coordinated the Archdiocesan commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Selma in 2015 and represented the Archdiocese on the National Council of Churches (NCC) Special Task Force to End Racism in America. He currently serves as a member of a select non-partisan and interreligious working group in Washington, D.C., which seeks to advance religious freedom and pluralism in the Middle East.
Born Konstantinos Symeonides in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1978, His Eminence is the third child of Irene and Vasilios Symeonides and is of Pontic and Asia-Minor descent. He received his early education from the Greek-American Institute of the Zoodochos Peghe Parish of the Bronx in New York. He graduated from Hellenic College with a BA in religious studies (2000) and from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with an MDiv (2003). He earned an STM in Christian ethics (2003) and a ThD in bioethics from Boston University (2007). He also studied the history and ethics of public health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
His Eminence was ordained a deacon in 2003 and a presbyter in 2010 by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. He also is a brother of the historic monastery of St. George Epanosifis in Crete, Greece. Among his clergy offices, His Eminence served as the presiding priest of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in New York City from 2010 to 2013, and as the interim pastor of the Holy Resurrection Church of Brookville, NY and the Saints Constantine and Helen Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY. As a parish priest in Manhattan, His Eminence developed a unique urban ministry, Orthodox Professionals in Action (OPA), which provided more than 400 young professionals the opportunity to minister to the most vulnerable members of society. From 2013-2018, His Eminence served as the Director of the Archdiocese’s Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations, and also oversaw the work of the Archdiocese at the United Nations. In 2016, His Eminence attended and supported the press office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the first such meeting of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches in 1,200 years.
In September 2018, His Eminence was appointed to the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for the 2018-2019 ecclesial year. Among the many important decisions taken by the Holy Synod during this period was the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Since his enthronement, His Eminence has sought to implement policies and programs that promote greater transparency, accountability, and professionalism in the Metropolis of Chicago. He has launched a strategic planning initiative to encourage transformative action among the Metropolis’ parishes and has pursued efforts to engage young adults more fully, including through the formation of the Metropolis of Chicago Junior Board.