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John (Bērziņš) of Caracas

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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.
Hegumen John was consecrated Bishop of Caracas on [[June 21]], 2008, at the [[Old Believers|Old-Rite]] Church of the Nativity in Erie, Pennsylvania. Officiating at the consecration were His Eminence Metropolitan [[Hilarion (Kapral) of Sydney|Hilarion]] of New York and Eastern America, His Grace Bishop [[Daniel (Alexandrow) of Erie|Daniel]] of Erie, and His Grace Bishop [[Peter (Loukianoff) of Cleveland|Peter]] of Cleveland.

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