On June 21, 2008, Hegumen John (Berzins) of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America was consecrated to the episcopacy in the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Erie, PA. He was given the title Bishop of Caracas and will administer the South American parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Divine Liturgy and the rite of consecration, and the rite of nomination held the evening before, were celebrated and performed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Grace Bishop Daniel of Erie, and His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland.
The election of Fr John as Bishop of Caracas took place at the recent Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and, in accordance with the Act of Canonical Communion signed on May 17, 2007, was confirmed by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The divine services of June 21, as is customary in the Old-Rite Church of the Nativity in Erie, were performed in the ancient tradition. Participating were a multitude of clergymen who gathered in the city for the Orthodoxy in the 21st Century Conference, including Priest John Miroliubov, Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchateâ€™s Committee on Old-Rite Parishes.
Curriculum Vitae of Hegumen John:Â
Born Peteris Berzins on March 3/16, 1957 in Cooma, Australia, of Latvian Orthodox refugees, Leonid (1921-1996) and Margarita (1924- ) Berzins. Grew up in that city. Graduated with a philological degree from Australian National University. Fluent in Ancient Greek and Latin. Entered Holy Trinity Monastery and enrolled in Holy Trinity Seminary in 1982. Graduated HTS in 1985. Tonsured to the mantle on March 16/29, 1985 by Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity. Ordained hierodeacon on March 30/April 12, 1987, by Archbishop Laurus. From 1992-1996, served as father-confessor at the Mount of Olives convent in the Holy Land. In 1994, awarded the gold pectoral cross by Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity. From 2001-2005, served as father-confessor at Gethsemane Convent in the Holy Land. In September 2005, elevated to the rank of hegumen by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. Since 2005, ministers to SS Sergius and German of Valaam Community of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America. In May, 2008, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia designated him as candidate of Bishop of Caracas. Hegumen John is a member of the brotherhood of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.