Matthias (Moriak) of Chicago

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His Grace, the Right Reverend Matthias (Moriak) of Chicago is the retired bishop of the Diocese of the Midwest of the Orthodox Church in America.


Bishop-elect Matthias was born David Lawrence Moriak on April 4, 1949, in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Lawrence and the late Gladys Mae Moriak. He was baptized at St. Theodosius Cathedral in Cleveland. He attended public schools in Cleveland. He moved with his parents to Parma, Ohio when he was 12 years old. In Parma, he began attending a new mission of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese and began reading the Hours and the Epistle while contemplating a calling to the Holy Priesthood.

Following his graduation from Parma High School in June 1967, David considered joining the U. S. Marine Corps until he met His Grace, the late John (Martin), Bishop of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese, who inspired him to enter Christ the Saviour Seminary, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1967, David began his studies at the seminary and soon realized a strong calling to the priesthood. In June 1972, he graduated from the seminary and on June 3, 1972, he married Jeannette before his ordination to the priesthood on June 18. Fr, Matthias and Jeannette had two children, Rachel and Michael.

Following his ordination as a priest, Fr. Matthias served at parishes in Jenner, Pennsylvania (1972 to 1975), St. Paul the Apostle in Freehold, New Jersey (1975 to 1978: a mission church that he founded), Gary, Indiana (1978 to 1982), St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church in Saint Clair, Pennsylvania (1982 to 2004), at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Johnstown (2004 to 2006), and St. Gregory of Nyssa MIssion in Seaford, New York (2006 to 2010).

In May 1996, Fr. Matthias' wife Jeannette was diagnosed with acute leukemia and reposed in March 1997. While serving in St. Clair, Fr. Matthias enrolled at St. Tikhon's Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania and graduated in 2000 with a Masters of Divinity Degree. Fr. Matthias always admired the monastic life. Following the death of his wife, he visited several monasteries for healing and spiritual strength. He made visits to Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, and Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, Otego, New York, where he also served the Great Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord for two years. He also visited the Monastery of St. Anthony in Arizona, where he stayed for two weeks.

Before he took his monastic tonsure, he visited the Iveron Monastery on Mount Athos where for much of his time he spent following the daily cycle of services and obediences. He also spent hours speaking to his newly found Athonite spiritual father, Priestmonk Jeremiah. After visiting other monasteries in Jerusalem, Greece, Turkey, and Guatemala, Fr. Matthias was tonsured a Riasaphor monk at Camp Nazareth on October 14, 2003.

On September 1, 2010, Fr. Matthias was received into the clergy of the Orthodox Church in America and was assigned as acting rector at the Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery at Otego under the omophorion of Bp. Michael of New York.

During 2010, Fr. Matthias was one the candidates considered by the OCA Diocese of the Midwest for election as their diocesan bishop. In September 2010, an assembly of the diocese nominated him to the Synod of Bishops of the OCA as their choice as their diocesan bishop. At the opening session of the fall gathering of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, Priestmonk Matthias was canonically elected to the vacant Episcopal See of Chicago and the Midwest.

During the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Saint Tikhon of Moscow, celebrated at Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America, Thursday, November 18, 2010, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah elevated Bishop-Elect Matthias to the rank of Archimandrite. He was consecrated to the episcopacy on May 2, 2011.


Bishop Matthias was retired as Bishop of the Midwest on April 15, 2013, and the Holy Synod of the OCA named Bishop Alexander (Golitzin) as the bishop locum tenens of the Diocese. This was due to supposed "sexual misconduct" related to a series of texts sent by Bishop Matthias to a female church member in Ohio over the course of 4 days in August, 2012. Bishop Matthias has always insisted that the comments were taken out of context and that he was joking around with someone he considered a friend. On this basis, he has only admitted to using poor judgement in the matter.

As part of the terms of his retirement, Bishop Matthias was allowed to serve at any parish, as long as he had the blessing of the local bishop. He subsequently moved to West Virginia, where he purchased a house, and secured a job in retail.

In 2015, Bishop Matthias was posted to a one-year temporary assignment in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. According to the suit filed, after members of the SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) advocacy group complained in July 2015, Metropolitan Tikhon told Bishop Matthias he could continue to serve with his blessing, but any references to his position had to be removed from the parish website. Bishop Matthias declined to do this, and was removed from serving this parish.


In September, 2015, Bishop Matthias filed suit against Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and Detroit Archbishop Nathaniel, leader of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate, was filed in Cook County (Illinois) Circuit Court. Bishop Matthias alleges that the terms of his retirement and of a new employment contract were violated by the church leaders. He also claims emotional distress. The suit seeks damages including lost wages as well as moving expenses incurred from his home in West Virginia to his parish posting in Pennsylvania. Both defendants were served the suit during the sixth National Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Chicago.


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Succession box:
Matthias (Moriak) of Chicago
Preceded by:
Job (Osacky) of Chicago
Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest (OCA)
Bishop-elect of Chicago and the Midwest

Succeeded by:
Paul (Gassios) of Chicago
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