The future Bishop Jose was born in Santa Teresa, Guana Juato, Mexico on [[August 5]], 1923, into a devout Roman Catholic family. His father was Juan Jose Cortes and his mother Maria del Refugio Olmos. He began his education in the Santa Teresa Federal School before entering a Jesuit middle school and then a Jesuit [[seminary]]. He continued his higher theological education in Barcelona, Spain and in Rome, Italy receiving a Doctorate in Canon Law. After completing his education he moved to Havana, Cuba where he taught at the Jesuit College of Belen. He also was a leader in Cuba in the "Catholic Youth Action" and served local parishes.
He became dissatisfied with the Roman Catholic Church and in 1950 joined the the Mexican National Catholic Church. The Mexican National Church had its origins in Mexican reaction to Spanish colonialism. In 1961, he was elected bishop of the National Church. Over the ensuing years, Bishop Jose and his community learned of the ancient faith of the Orthodox Christians and in 1971 petitioned the newly autocephalous Orthodox Church in America for acceptance of his community and clergy into the Orthodox Church. He was received into the new Exarchate of Mexico with his clergy and community, he and his priests as priests. He then participated in studies at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York)|St. Vladimir's Seminary]] before his [[consecration]] as Bishop of Mexico City at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in New York City on [[April 22]], 1972. He thus became the first bishop of an indigenous Orthodox Church in Mexico.
In addition to his duties in Mexico, during the early years after his consecration, Bp. Jose traveled under the guidance of Bp. [[Dmitri (Royster) of Dallas|Dmitri of Hartford]], who had been appointed Exarch of the Mexican Church, participating for experience in [[parish]] level life in the United States.