His Grace was born Pēteris Bērziņš on [[March 16]], 1957, in Cooma, Australia, of [[Church of Latvia|Latvian Orthodox]] refugees, Leonid (1921-1996) and Margarita (b. 1924) Bērziņš. He grew up in Cooma and graduated with a philological degree from the Australian National University.
[[Vladyka ]] John is fluent in ancient Greek and Latin.
In 1982, he entered [[Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville, New York)|Holy Trinity Monastery]] in Jordanville, New York, and enrolled in [[Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville, New York)|Holy Trinity Seminary]]. He graduated from the [[seminary]] in 1985. He was [[tonsure]]d to the mantle on [[March 16]], 1985, by [[Archbishop]] [[Laurus (Skurla) of New York|Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity]] and [[ordination|ordained]] [[hierodeacon]] on [[April 12]], 1987, also by Abp. Laurus. From 1992-1996, he served as father-confessor at Gethsemane Convent in the [[Holy Land]]. In 1994, he was awarded the gold [[clergy awards|pectoral cross]] by Abp. Laurus. From 2001-2005, he served again as father-confessor at Gethsemane Convent in the Holy Land. In September 2005, he was elevated to the rank of [[hegumen]] by His Eminence [[Metropolitan]] Laurus. From 2005 to 2008, he ministered 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 ROCOR designated him as candidate for the Caracas cathedra.