Archimandrite Matthias [Moriak] was consecrated to the episcopacy during the Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Church here on Saturday, April 30, 2011.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, presided at the consecration Divine Liturgy. Concelebrating were His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Grace, Bishop Nikon; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin; His Grace, Bishop Alejo; His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek; His Grace, Bishop Michael; His Grace, Bishop Mark; and His Grace, Bishop Irenee. Also concelebrating was His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas. In attendance were His Grace, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, and His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
On the eve of the consecration, Archimandrite Matthias made his profession of faith before members of the Holy Synod during the celebration of Vespers.
Two choirs sang the liturgical responses antiphonally as clergy and faithful from across the Midwest Diocese and beyond anticipated the moment in which the hierarchs would place their hands on the head of Archimandrite Matthias, consecrating him to the episcopacy. As the newly consecrated Bishop Matthias was vested, the clergy and faithful responded with heartfelt cries of “Axios - He is worthy!”
During the Liturgy, Bishop Matthias ordained Subdeacon Nicholas Hubbard to the diaconate.
A special joy for Bishop Matthias was the presence of his son and daughter and their families. His son, Priest Matthew D. Moriak, and his wife and two children live in Manville, NJ, where they serve Holy Ghost Church. His daughter, Rachel Sumner, her husband, and their two children of Charlestown, WV, also were in attendance. Father Matthew and Rachel offered moving addresses during the consecration banquet that followed the Divine Liturgy. Also attending were nuns from Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala, at which Bishop Matthias has ministered many times over the years.
Chicago’s historic Holy Trinity Cathedral was filled beyond capacity for Bishop Matthias’ installation as Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 1. Metropolitan Jonah presented Bishop Matthias with the archpastoral staff as he invoked God’s blessing upon him and his ministry.
During the Liturgy, Bishop Matthias ordained Subdeacon Gregory Ealy to the diaconate.
Bishop Matthias succeeds His Eminence, the late Archbishop Job [Osacky], who had overseen the diocese from the early 1990s until his unexpected repose in December 2009.
Selected from a slate of three candidates at an assembly of clergy and laity in Minneapolis in the fall of 2010, Archimandrite Matthias subsequently was elected to the episcopacy by the Holy Synod of Bishops.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1949, he served parishes in New York and Pennsylvania after his ordination to the priesthood in 1972. He also served as prefect of and associate professor at Christ the Savior Seminary, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A married priest with two children, he was widowed in 1997 when his wife Jeannette succumbed to leukemia. A detailed biography follows below.
His election followed a lengthy search process overseen by a special diocesan committee, the members of which considered nearly 30 potential nominees. In August 2010, the committee and the diocesan council had settled on three candidates. On a second round of balloting, delegates nominated Archimandrite Matthias.
His consecration—the first to be held by the OCA in Chicago since the late 1970s—will be attended by clergy and faithful from across the geographically vast diocese, which spans over a dozen states from Ohio to North Dakota to Missouri.
In January, Archimandrite Matthias took up residence at diocesan headquarters and began duties as the Midwest’s temporary administrator. Immediately, he began an ambitious round of visits to the diocese’s 80-some parishes and missions, familiarizing himself with his new flock. He also has participated in meetings with his fellow bishops. He sees his new ministry as one rooted in service—just as Jesus Christ came “to serve, not to be served,” so too the role of bishop in the Orthodox Christian tradition is one of service to God and His People as archpastor and shepherd.
Photo galleries of the consecration weekend are now available at http://oca.org/media/photos/the-consecration-of-his-grace-bishop-matthias.
Biography of His Grace, Bishop Matthias
His Grace, Bishop Matthias of Chicago and the Midwest, was born David Lawrence Moriak on April 4, 1949, in Cleveland, OH, the son of Lawrence and the late Gladys Mae Moriak. He was baptized at Cleveland’s Saint Theodosius Cathedral, where he and his family were members there. His John Moriak, immigrated to Cleveland in 1913 from the village of Horowa in Galicia, Austria. His father was raised as an Orthodox Christian, while his mother converted to Orthodox Christianity prior to marriage.
At the age of 12, he moved with his parents to Parma, OH, and began attending a newly formed mission of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, where he began reading the Hours and the Epistle. He graduated from Parma High School in June 1967. While contemplating a calling to the Holy Priesthood, he had planned to join the Marine Corps after high school graduation, until he met His Grace, the late Bishop John [Martin] of the Carpatho-Russian Dicoese, who inspired him to begin studies at Christ the Saviour Seminary, Johnstown, PA in the fall of 1967. During the first few weeks of seminary studies, he realized a strong calling to the Holy Priesthood.
He graduated from Christ the Saviour Seminary in June 1972. He and his wife, Pani Jeannette, were married earlier the same month. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the hands of Bishop John on June 18, 1972.
Bishop-elect Matthias’ pastoral experience has been extensive. He planted a mission parish dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle in Freehold, NY in 1975. In 1982, he was to the pastorate of Saint Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church, Saint Clair, PA, a well-established parish that traces its establishment to 1897. The challenges of an older, established parish stood in sharp contrast to those of a mission parish.
In 2004, he was assigned to Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Johnstown, PA, where he served as Associate Pastor and the Prefect of Christ the Saviour Seminary. Two years later, he was assigned to Saint Gregory of Nyssa Church in Seaford, NY, which grew spiritually and numerically during his pastorate.
He and his wife became the parents of two children. Their daughter, Rachel Sumner, and her husband of Charlestown, WV, are the parents of two children, Jude, age five, and Nadia, age one. Their son, Priest Matthew D. Moriak, pastor of Holy Ghost Church, Manville, NJ, and his wife, Pani Jodi, are the parents of one child, Jeannette, age two, and are expecting their second child in December 2010.
In May 1996, Pani Jeannette was diagnosed with acute leukemia. She fell asleep in the Lord 11 months later on March 26, 1997. Prior to his wife’s illness, Father Matthias had begun studies at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA, which he discontinued during his wife’s illness. One year following the repose of his wife, Father resumed his studies and was awarded a Master of Divinity degree.
Bishop-elect Matthias had always admired the monastic life. Following the death of his wife, he visited several monasteries for healing and spiritual strength. He made many visits to Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, PA, and Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, Otego, NY, where he also served the Great Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord for two years. He also visited the Monastery of Saint Anthony in Arizona, where he stayed for two weeks. Prior to his monastic tonsure, 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. With the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, he traveled to the orphanage every three months for a ten-day period to hear confessions, baptize children, and chrismate converts to Orthodox Christianity. Father has baptized at least 60 children and adults in Guatemala.
He also has traveled to Turkey, Israel and the Holy Land, Greece, and Alaska.
In addition to the aforementioned parishes, he served the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Jenners, PA [1972-1975] and Saint Nicholas Church, Gary, IN [1978-1982]. He also has served as Regional Director of the Education Commission of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese [1972-2004], President of the Northwest Indiana Orthodox Clergy Association [1981-1982], Chaplain of Manor Care Nursing Center, Pottsville, PA [1984- 1994], Prefect of Christ the Saviour Seminary, Johnstown, PA [2004-2006], and a member of the faculty of Christ the Saviour Seminary, where he taught liturgics [2004-2006]. He has been a guest preacher at five Sunday of Orthodoxy celebrations and has conducted numerous retreats during his nearly four decades of ordained ministry.
After canonical release from the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, he was received into the Orthodox Church in America on September 1, 2010.