John A. Jillions

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The Very Reverend Doctor John A. Jillions has been the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America since late 2011. Previously he was an archpriest of the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America, who served as dean of Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa, Canada until 2009. He was a founding director and first Principal of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England, and is an Associate Professor at the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada.


John Jillions was born in Montreal, Canada in 1955, and baptized at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Montreal. In 1963, he moved with his family to the United States of America. Between 1968-71, he lived in northern Connecticut[1]. After attending McGill University in Montreal, Canada, from 1973 to 1977, John received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

In 1977, John was tonsured a reader by Archbishop Sylvester and then entered St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, graduating in 1980 with a Masters of Divinity degree. After graduating from the seminary John worked as administrator of Ss. Cosmas and Damian Adult Home on Staten Island in New York City.

After marrying his wife, Denise Melligon, in 1979, John was ordained a deacon in 1981 and then a priest in 1984. Fr. John then received a missionary assignment of three years to Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, Brisbane, Australia, a parish then under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America[2]. After returning to the United States in 1987, Fr. John was assigned as priest at Holy Trinity Church in Rahway, New Jersey, a position he held until 1994. During his rectorate at Holy Trinity Church, he was simultaneously a USAF Reserve Chaplain (holding the rank of Captain) from 1990-1992, and was the pastoral fieldwork supervisor for seminarians at St Vladimir's Seminary.

In August 1994, he moved with his family of five to Greece where he attended the University of Thessalonica and began his studies toward a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the New Testament (which he would finish in 2002), while attached to St George Orthodox Church, Thessalonica. The following year, Fr. John and his family moved to Cambridge, England, to continue his research, where he was made rector of St Ephraim Orthodox Church (Diocese of Sourozh) there. While at Cambridge, Fr. John and his wife took part in the establishment of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in 1997, of which Fr. John was a founding director and its first Principal from 1999 until 2002.

Returning to North America in 2003, Fr. John was assigned dean of Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa and the Ontario Deanery. In addition to his clerical duties, Fr. John has continued an active theological life in academia. He completed his studies and in 2002 received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in New Testament from Aristotle University of Thessalonica in Greece (dissertation: Divine Guidance in Corinth: Graeco-Roman, Jewish and Pauline Views) and a Doctor of Ministry from St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary in 2005.

Fr. John was an Associate Professor at the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa since 2003[3], and director of the D.Min program since 2008. Additionally, he was Adjunct Professor at the Ottawa Lay School of Theology and the University of Sherbrooke Program in Orthodox Theology. He is also a member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of the University of Ottawa.

Fr. John's appointment as Dean lasted until 2009, when he took an academic sabbatical (from 2010-2011), when he was made interim rector of Ascension Greek Orthodox Church in Ontario (on loan to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America). In October 2011, he accepted the position of Chancellor of the OCA[4].


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