The Right Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Andrew (Vujisić), M.A.Ed., D. Min., Ph.D., Th.D., is the bishop-elect of Tralles, with the responsibility of establishing and administering pan-Orthodox communities in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. As Archiepiscopal Vicar, he was responsible for the reception into the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Catholic Church of Guatemala (OCCG) in January 2010.[note 1]
Archimandrite Andrew (Vujisić) was born on January 30, 1957, the first child of the late Vojislav and Sofia Vujisić (née Jovović), and named Zoran. He is a Montenegrin of the Moračani clan, and is a close relative of Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radovic) of Montenegro and Litoral. He lived in the former Republic of Yugoslavia until he was 12 years old. In 1969, his family moved to West Germany, where he lived for one year before migrating to Australia. He is fluent in Serbian, English, and Spanish, and has a working knowledge of Romanian, Hungarian, and German.
In 1998 he received his M.A.Ed. degree from the University of Phoenix. In 2002 he received his D. Min. in Marriage and Family Therapy (summa cum laude) from Southern Christian University (now Amridge University) upon completion of a postgraduate program that included an intense curriculum of class work, clinical training, residency, and research, and was registered as a Certified Family Therapist (CFT) by the National Credentialing Academy. His D. Min. thesis was published under the title: Religious Orientation and Mental Health: Client Preference for the Inclusion of a Religious Module in the Counseling Process.
He subsequently completed two research doctoral degrees. In 2007 he received his Ph.D. in English and Applied Linguistics from Rhodes University. Additionally he earned his Th.D. from the University of South Africa (UNISA), the title of his thesis being The Role of Achievement Motivation on the Interlanguage Fossilization of Middle-aged English-as-a-second-language Learners. This is a groundbreaking study in that it presents evidence that interlanguage fossilization is not a permanent phenomenon.
Continuing his studies, in 2009 he was awarded a Th.D. in Practical Theology for his doctoral research on The Impact of Neptic-Psychotherapeutic Treatment on Self-Reported Depressive Symptomatology and Comorbid Anxiety, which was published under the title of Orthodox Psychotherapy: A Study in the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety.
It should be noted that the University of Phoenix is the largest private academic institution in the U.S.A. and has over 200 campuses worldwide. Amridge University is also a distinguished institution and the preferred educational option for U.S. military personnel, while Rhodes University and UNISA are counted among the top 15% of the accredited universities throughout the world.
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andrew (Vujisić) was elected to "Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges" in recognition of his academic accomplishments and scholarship.
Service in Australia
As a layman, Zoran Vujisić served from 1982 through 1988 as director of St. Mary's Orthodox Community Welfare Center in Sydney and coordinator of the parish's Community Refugee Sponsorship Program.
Fr. Zoran also served as assistant priest at St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Parish, a Pan-Orthodox parish where he was instrumental in bringing many converts to Orthodoxy, several of whom now serve as Orthodox clergymen and monks. The miracle of the Myrrh-streaming Icon of the Crucified Christ occurred at St. Mary’s Church from 1994 to 1995 during his tenure. While at St Mary's, he served temporarily (on loan) at Holy Annunciation Romanian Orthodox Parish and St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish (OCA), both in the Sydney metropolitan area.
During his priestly service in Australia, Fr. Zoran was the administrator of the Archdiocesan Community Housing Program, which provided low cost housing for underprivileged families. Additionally, he served as Archdiocesan Religious Education Coordinator for Public Schools from 1991 through 1995.
In the Caribbean
In 1996, Fr. Zoran arrived in the Caribbean where he established St. Spyridon’s Orthodox Mission in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Archimandrite Andrew transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in December 2008, but was released back to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, prior to his election to the Episcopacy, upon personal request by Metropolitan Athenagoras (Aneste) to Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral).
While under the omophorion of Metropolitan Hilarion, Archimandrite Andrew established the St. Basil of Ostrog Orthodox Theological Institute, a Spanish-language theological studies program. The Institute was also transferred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, in August 2009, and was expanded to include an English-language program under the patronage of St. Gregory Nazianzen. The combined programs now have 72 students from 17 countries, all but 3, on full-scholarship.
Election to the Episcopacy
On September 29, 2009, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously elected Archimandrite Andrew as Bishop of Tralles. The Patriarchal announcement of his election was cited by the official election notice of the Holy Metropolis of Mexico (Central America), which was published worldwide. It references the growing number of Orthodox immigrants in Latin American countries in need of pastoral care, and states that the Bishop-elect would assume the responsibility of establishing and administering Pan-Orthodox communities wherever necessary.
- “Throughout the years,…Bishop-Elect Andrew has earned and enjoyed an unblemished reputation as being a model of true godliness and eminent piety, which is indeed evident to all those who meet him. His life has been marked by self-sacrifice and hard work….”
Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radovic) of Montenegro and Litoral wrote:
- “With joy have I received the news of the consecration of His Grace, Bishop-Elect Andrew (Vujisić) to the Episcopacy by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople… We attest that His Grace has served with me in Montenegro and Australia, and has also served with other Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on numerous occasions and that we know… [of his unassailable character] personally…”.
On December 13, 2009, after personal discussions with His All Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople, Archimandrite Andrew submitted a petition to the Holy Synod requesting that his consecration be temporarily postponed. His petition was accepted but two weeks later he was elevated to the rank of Archiepiscopal Vicar of the General Secretariat for Pan-Orthodox Ministries. As Archiepiscopal Vicar, he was responsible for the reception into the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Catholic Church of Guatemala in January 2010.
In addition to his pastoral duties, the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andrew (Vujisić) serves as a professor of the School of Human and Social Sciences at the University of Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, as well as a counselor/therapist at the University's Resource Center for Counseling and Professional Orientation. He is also the Director of the University's Language Research Center and the editor of Puerto Rico's only ambilingual linguistic journal, Glossa, which is distributed in over 105 countries.
|Bishop of Tralles
- In announcing this exciting development, His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras (Aneste) of Mexico expressed his great pleasure in welcoming the OCCG which was received in its entirety, including their former clergy, seminarians, lay ministers, catechists and affiliated membership into the canonical family of the Orthodox Church. Following their official reception, the leaders of OCCG, Messrs. Andrew Girón and Michael Castellanos traveled to Mexico City where on the weekend of March 19-21, 2010, they were ordained to the Holy Priesthood, receiving the title of Archimandrite. The OCCG has an approximate membership of 527,000 faithful and catechumens, overwhelmingly indigenous, with 334 churches in Guatemala and southern Mexico, with 12 (formerly OCCG) clergymen and 14 seminarians, who are assisted in their pastoral ministry by 250 lay ministers and 380 catechists. (PRESS RELEASE. General Secretariat for Pan-Orthodox Ministries. FROM THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY METROPOLIS, Mexico City, April 7th 2010.)
- A Short Biography of the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andrew (Vujisic). Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos/St. Spyridon’s Orthodox Church (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico (EP)).
- PRESS RELEASE. General Secretariat for Pan-Orthodox Ministries. FROM THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY METROPOLIS, Mexico City, April 7th 2010.