2023: A Year in Review


The past year proved to be another active period for Diocese of the Midwest. During this time the diocese had the honor of hosting several major events, honoring distinguished clergy and laity, and several historic announcements being made. The Chancery itself saw several changes with the sale of the Burbank Chancery and officially moving into St. George Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Priest Esteban Vazquez was appointed as Vice Chancellor to assist with day-to-day operations, while long time Diocesan Treasurer, Robert Koncel, announced his retirement from the position after more than 30 years of service.

The Diocese of the Midwest also played a central role in hosting various events this past year. The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America held its Regular Fall Session at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Chicago, IL and elected a new hierarch for the New England Diocese and made the announcement for the canonization of Matushka Olga of Alaska. The National Clergy Retreat for the OCA was also held in Chicagoland with a Primatial Liturgy being held at the Diocesan Cathedral. The Diocese also conducted the 62nd Diocesan Assembly at St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Burr Ridge, IL.

His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest took on various travels making 24 pastoral visits throughout the year. The Archbishop also lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and lead the pilgrimage for the Holy Dormition Monastery, Rives Junction, MI. His Eminence continued making several trips to the seminaries to visit the diocesan seminarians. In addition to visiting them the Archbishop also held a retreat over the summer bringing the seminarians together for several days of prayer and fellowship. The diocese has seen an increase in seminary students, and therefore also ordinations. Two recent graduates, Priest Joseph Whittaker, and Priest Mark Therrian were both ordained and are now serving parishes within the diocese. Recently ordained Priest John York will be finishing up his third year before assignment, while Philip Dage and Jared Ries were ordained to the holy diaconate.

The diocese experienced some major announcements this past year. One prominent announcement was the creation of the Dakotas Mission District, which was created to focus on the growing spiritual need of that geographical territory. In February, the local leaders, both clergy and laity, gathered for the Dakota Mission Summit which was an intensive study on the needs and the step-by-step process to accomplish the various demands. The diocese also announced the reception of a new parish into its canonical territory, St. Nicholas of Myra Church, McHenry, IL. This active community serves the Ukrainian population in the Northern Illinois region and continues to grow and see the fruits of their labor.

Several communities also celebrated special commemorations and anniversaries. Holy Trinity Cathedral, Chicago, IL celebrated the 120th anniversary of consecration by St. Tikhon of Moscow. Holy Assumption Church, Marblehead, OH enjoyed its 125th anniversary, and St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Lorain, OH, community rejoiced in their 110th year, while St. Innocent Church, Olmstead Falls, OH, was honored by their 40th year of service to the Lord.

The various ministries of the diocese were also busy offering their skills to enrich one another for the benefit of the communities. The St. Andrew of Crete Music Ministry held a Paschal Concert recording various children’s choirs and had a full and successful musical workshop in Dayton, OH. The Clergy Wives group held several retreats offering support and prayer to one another. The Diocese also conducted the 10th Small Parish Forum, gathering strong participation from within and beyond the diocese. Children’s camps continued to offer sessions throughout the year, both in the summer and winter. These efforts provided educational, spiritual, and fun opportunities for the youth of the diocese to engage with their faith. The DOM also offered scholarships to the children of the diocese to attend these camps through the Archbishop Job Memorial Fund.

Other highlights also include Archpriest Basil Stoyka being awarded the miter for his many years of service. This would make him the first in the diocese to receive a miter since the Holy Synod renewed the award. One of the musicians of the diocese received the synodal St. Romanos Award. Michael Pilat, recently retired choirmaster, was given this honor following 57 years of service leading various choirs.

In the past year, the diocese also experienced the loss of Archpriest Eugene Tarris, Archpriest Daniel W. Rentel. This past year the diocese also marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of the beloved hierarch, Archbishop Paul (Gassios). Services were held at the Diocesan Cathedral and in Holy Dormition Monastery in Michigan to solemnly mark the occasion. May their memory be eternal!

Much good has come from the past year inspiring the hopes of those in this diocese, while also creating challenges for our continued effort. May God continue to bless and strengthen our hierarch, Archbishop Daniel, our clergy and faithful in the upcoming year, assisting us in keeping our eyes on our home – the Heavenly Kingdom.


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