Metropolitan Nathanael Symeonides is heading up the Chicago Greek Orthodox community – one of the largest in the nation.
The 39-year-old is the youngest person to be appointed as the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church Archdiocese of America.
Symeonides was born in Greece in 1978. At age 4, he and his parents moved to the U.S., where he grew up in New York.
In an interview last month with the Chicago Sun-Times, Symeonides said he didn’t turn to religion until a pivotal event occurred during his teenage years: his father’s death. The elder Symeonides was not a man of the faith, yet he called on a priest two days before he died.
His father’s death sent Symeonides on a journey to find Christ, he said.
Since then, the New York transplant has racked up multiple degrees in theology and divinity from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Boston University. But he isn’t confined to one area of expertise – Symeonides earned a master’s from Columbia University where he studied the history and ethics of public health.
He’s also a guest professor at Fordham University where he lectures on Christian ethics and bioethics.
Young people are a big focus of his work. In Manhattan, he created an urban ministry called the Orthodox Professionals in Action. Within this ministry, Symeonides created opportunities for over 400 young professionals to minister to the most vulnerable.
He became a Deacon in 2003 and a Presbyter in 2010.
Symeonides joins host Eddie Arruza to talk about what exactly it means to be Metropolitan of Chicago’s Greek Orthodox Church.