Our Clergy

 Father Ignatius

Born in California and raised in Wisconsin, Fr. Ignatius came to St. Raphael Orthodox Church in August 2006. He was brought up in the Lutheran Church, the only child of Jim and Kathy Valentine, who modeled Christ for him in their lives. After graduating from Biola University with a BA in Biblical Studies, he began a process of study and spiritual inquiry which eventually led him to the Orthodox Church. He and his family were joined sacramentally to the Orthodox Church through chrismation on Holy Saturday, 1997 at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. After completing the St. Stephen’s Course of Orthodox Theology, he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Demetri on November 4, 2001, serving at St. Nicholas. He continued to pursue theological studies, doing coursework in a Master’s degree program in Applied Orthodox Theology sponsored by the St. John of Damascus School of Theology at Balamand University, Tripoli, Lebanon. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Mark on December 20, 2005. This day was particularly special for Fr. Ignatius, since it was also the feast day of St. Ignatius of Antioch, his patron saint. For a short time, he continued to serve at St. Nicholas as an assistant priest to Fr. Bill Olnhausen. On Pentecost Sunday 2006, Bishop Mark asked Fr. Ignatius to come to Iowa City to pastor St. Raphael Church.

Fr. Ignatius and his wife Kh. Maria have four children and assorted pets. He loves history, theology, archaeology, Celtic music, exploring caves, watching stars, waterfalls and geysers. Some of his favorite authors include C. S. Lewis and Edgar Allan Poe. He enjoys watching Alfred Hitchcock movies. His favorite parts of his priestly duties include serving at the altar, performing baptisms, hearing confessions and teaching the faith to newcomers. His least favorite is attending meetings. Fr. Ignatius likes to collect ancient coins: Roman, Greek, Judean, Byzantine, etc., and will gladly talk about them to anyone who feigns interest.

 Bishop Anthony

Bishop Anthony (Michaels) attended the University of Michigan, where he received his B.A. in Literature, Science and the Arts, having a double major in History and English literature. Following his university degree he attended St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree and graduated as a valedictorian of his class. Besides English, he has a reading knowledge of biblical Greek and is currently learning Arabic, at the request of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip.

He taught modern philosophy at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, Michigan, before becoming a pastoral assistant and youth director at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, for two years. He and fellow seminarian Fr. Patrick Kinder held positions of youth coordinators at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Akron, Ohio, while they toured the country giving concerts and retreats as part of the group KERYGMA. Fr. Anthony also spent two years based in Nashville, Tennessee, at St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church in Franklin, Tennessee, recording for KERYGMA with Fr. Patrick and Fr. Michael (Alan) Shanbour. Bishop Anthony has lectured extensively in North America, speaking to youth groups and church retreats for various jurisdictions besides his own.

He was ordained to the diaconate on September 18, 2004, and to the priesthood on September 19, 2004, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in West St. Paul, Minnesota, under the pastorate of the Very Rev. John Khoury, of blessed memory, and by the laying on of hands of Bishop Antoun. He was able to serve his home parish for seven months before he was given his current assignment to lead the faithful of St. John Chrysostom Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Bishop Anthony inspired and oversaw the design and construction of the new church facilities at St. John Chrysostom Church in Fort Wayne. On the sixth anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood, he had the great honor of hosting Metropolitan Philip for the consecration of the new church on September 19, 2010, at which time he was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite by the laying on of hands of the Metropolitan. He was subsequently appointed dean of the Indiana Deanery by Metropolitan Philip. On December, 11, 2011, he was consecrated to the sacred episcopacy by the hand of Patriarch Ignatius IV and assigned as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest.

 Metropolitan Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at the St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus, after many years of serving as a deacon and a priest. His Eminence was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1950. He completed his basic schooling at the St. John of Damascus and al-Alliyeh schools in Damascus and then at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in Koura, Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at Lebanese University in Beirut and then earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Tikhon Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, in May, 2010.

Patriarch Ignatius IV of Blessed Memory ordained His Eminence as a deacon in November, 1976, and priest in 1980. As priest, Fr. Joseph served as dean of St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus and as overseer of Holy Cross Church and other parishes in the suburbs of Damascus. He served as superintendent of the secondary school in Damascus from 1980 until 1983. Father Joseph then went abroad to pastor the Antiochian Orthodox Church in London, England from 1983 to 1986, and then the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cyprus from 1986 until 1991, when he was elected as bishop.

His Grace was consecrated with the title Bishop of Katana in Syria, and served as Patriarchal Assistant and Secretary of the Holy Synod of Antioch. In 1995, he was sent by Patriarch Ignatius to America. Here, in our Archdiocese, Bishop Joseph was assigned to the West Coast Chancery by Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. After self-rule status was awarded to our Archdiocese, Bishop Joseph was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral by Metropolitan Philip as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West on September 12, 2004.

On December 11, 2011, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon, Patriarch Ignatius elevated Bishop Joseph to the rank of Archbishop, in honor of his many years of service as a bishop both in our Archdiocese and in the Patriarchate of Antioch.

On Thursday, July 3, 2014, the Holy Synod of Antioch, meeting in Balamand, Lebanon, elected Archbishop Joseph to be Metropolitan of all North America, succeeding the late Metropolitan Philip.

 Patriarch John X

The Patriarch was born in 1955 in the city of Latakiya, Syria into a pious Orthodox home. His father was Syrian and was a professor of Arabic Language. His mother is Lebanese. He has four brothers, with his brother Paul being the current Metropolitan of Aleppo, and he has one sister who is a nun. During his early studies, he played a key role in the leadership of Orthodox youth, and organized many choirs to sing in the local churches.

The Patriarch received his primary, secondary and university education in Latakiya, Syria graduating with a degree in civil engineering. He earned a degree in theology in 1978 from the St. John of Damascus School of Orthodox of Theology at the Balamand University and a doctorate in theology (emphases in liturgy and Byzantine music) in 1983 from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He was tonsured a monk at the Athonite Monastery of St Paul on the Holy Mountain, was ordained to the holy diaconate in 1979 and to the holy priesthood in 1983, and in 1981 became professor of Liturgical Studies at the St. John of Damascus School of Orthodox Theology at the Balamand University. He assumed the position of dean of that theological school from 1988-1991 and again from 2001-2005. He was elected and consecrated to the sacred episcopacy in 1995 with the title Bishop of al-Hosn. He has served as superior of the Monastery of St George al-Humayrah in the Christian Valley (Wadi al-Nasara) in Syria, superior of the Our Lady of Balamand Monastery, and spiritual father to the Convent of the Dormition in Blemmana, Syria. In 2008 he was elected and enthroned as the Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe.

The Patriarch has had strong influence in the Middle East and other areas , having participated in many international Orthodox and ecumenical conferences in countries such as Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Cyprus, Russia, and Great Britain. His love of music has led him to translate many selections of liturgical music. He is the author of a work on the principles of Byzantine Music which he first wrote in 1990, with a second edition having been published in 2001. In 1999 he lectured at the Balamand University on the subject of the contribution of the Church of Antioch to liturgical development in the 6th and 7th centuries. He has written scholarly works on the life of St. Nektarios The Wonderworker, the role of marriage in the life of Orthodox clergy, the life of St. Macrina, St. Gregory Nazianzus, and a comprehensive work on the life of the saints published in 1984. In 2002, he lectured at Oxford University on the topic of the Church in the Middle East, and also at the biennial Clergy Symposium for the Archdiocese of North America. He was elected to succeed the late Patriarch Ignatius IV on December 17, 2012.