Clergy

Father Timothy Sas

Father Tim was born on April 16, 1973 in the city of Simeria, Romania as the eldest of five children in the family of an Orthodox Christian priest. Due to increased persecution at the hands of the Communist regime, his parents fled Romania in July 1988 and ended up in a refugee camp in Sweden. Fr. Tim and his siblings were reunited with them in February 1989. In January 1990 Fr. Tim’s family moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada where his father became the pastor at one of the Romanian Orthodox Churches.

Fr. Tim graduated from St. Andrew’s Seminary, Winnipeg, in 1998. In August of that same year, Fr. Tim moved to Winona, Minnesota, to pursue a master’s degree at St. Mary’s University. On the feast of Transfiguration, August 6, Fr. Tim was ordained to the diaconate and on Sunday, August 8 to the priesthood by the hand of the late Archbishop Victorin at St. Stephen Church (ROA) in South St. Paul, Minnesota.

In March 2002, Fr. Tim and family joined our community of St. Mary’s and was an assistant priest to Fr. Harry Pappas. He was subsequently assigned to Twelve Holy Apostles Church in Duluth in September 2004. In January 2022, Fr. Tim returned to Minneapolis to serve as priest at St. Mary’s.

Father Tim and his wife Presvytera Gabriela are blessed with four daughters– Andrea, Casiana, Theodora, and Sofia.

Father Jason Houck

Father Jason grew up in New Brighton, MN, and attended St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Fr. Jason has Bachelor’s in Finance from the University of Minnesota (Carlson School of Management). Upon graduation, he was a financial analyst for the consulting firm Accenture, until deciding to enter Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology where he graduated with a Masters of Divinity. Upon graduation, Fr. Jason served the Church as a youth director at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC.

Fr. Jason was ordained to the Diaconate at St. Mary’s in June 2012 and to the Priesthood in August 2012. He served as the second priest at Sts. Constantine and Helen of Washington D.C. from July 2012 until January 2015 until returning home at the end of January 2015 to serve as priest at St. Mary’s.

Father Jason and Presbytera Alexandra (who publishes The Children’s Word) have five children – Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah.

Father John Kostas

Father John Kostas was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 after a 16-year career in government and politics in the New York State legislature and on Capitol Hill. While in Washington, Fr. John earned a master’s degree in ancient Greek at the University of Maryland. He then earned a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary.

Fr. John began his pastoral career as assistant priest at St. Mary’s until deciding to pursue advanced studies at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, receiving the degree of Master of Theology. Fr. John has served parishes in Pittsfield, MA, Knoxville, TN, Martin’s Ferry, OH, and Nassau, Bahamas. He also served first as an assistant chaplain under the late Rev. Fr. Thomas Hopko at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA.

Upon retirement Father John and Presbytera Janis Kostas returned to St. Mary’s where Fr. John currently serves as priest, assisting with bible studies and other pastoral duties.

Father Paul Kalina

Father Paul Kalina, the grandson of Slovakian immigrants, was very involved in St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral in Northeast Minneapolis where he was born and raised. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. degree in Biology, Fr. Paul received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Mayo Medical School.

Even as a medical student and physician-in-training, the Orthodox church remained the focal point of Fr. Paul’s life. In 1999, Fr. Paul enrolled in the St. Stephen’s House of Studies, a 4-year theological studies program administered by the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. In 2003, he received a Master’s degree in Applied Theology, and in February 2004, he was ordained to the diaconate in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Fr. Paul (a practicing ophthalmologist) and his wife, Diakonissa Alexandria (a practicing pediatrician) have three children – Andrew (married to Andrea) , Maria, and Stephen. Father Paul now serves St Mary’s community as a deacon.

Father Luke Twito

Father Luke Twito was born in Minneapolis to parents of Norwegian and German ancestry. He was baptized and raised in the Lutheran church with the given name, Randy Scott Twito. He graduated from the pre-med program at  Valparaiso University with a degree in Chemistry. While attending Mayo Medical School he met Mary Kay (Pantages) and they were married in 1981. Surgical training continued with two years in general surgery at Mayo followed by a four year residency in orthopedic surgery at Loma Linda University in California which was completed in 1988.

At his Chrismation on April 8, 1990, he was given the name “Luke” (the Evangelist). Early in his career as an  orthopedic surgeon he felt a calling to some day serve the Church as a deacon. He retired in 2018 and completed the Diaconate Program at Holy Cross in 2020. His Ordination to the Diaconate occurred on June 18, 2022 with “the laying on of hands” by Metropolitan Nathaneal. He joins Fr Paul Kalina as one of the deacons serving the St Mary’s community. He hopes to help his fellow clergy with hospital and other medically related visits.

He and Diakonissa Mary Kay have three children – Kristina (married to Andy), Andrew (married to Megan), and Nicole. They love being called “Papou and YiaYia” by their four grandchildren.

Pastoral Staff

Ministry Support

Doria Saros

Doria is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Minnesota. She has also completed coursework in Basic Theology from St. Stephen’s Course of Studies in Orthodox Theology. Doria formerly served as the Youth Director for 20 years. She has been serving the faithful of St. Mary’s since 1993. Doria is responsible for these key areas: Youth Committee Program Facilitator, Visitation Ministry Coordinator, Summer Camp Coordinator, Family Camp Coordinator, Sacramental Paperwork, and Parish Lenten Retreat

Youth Director

Jon Klein

Originally from Pella, Iowa, Jon attended St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. In May of 2017, he earned his Masters Degree from the University of Northern Iowa studying Leisure, Youth, and Human Services. He has been a summer camp counselor abroad in Taiwan and completed his internship as a day camp director in the Netherlands. Jon has been involved with the St. Mary’s Camp Program since 1999. Jon has been serving as the Youth Director since June 2017. Jon is responsible for these key areas: HOPE/JOY, Junior GOYA, Senior GOYA, Summer Camp Task Force, Family Camp Task Force, and Basketball

Church School Director

Dena Tortorelis

Dena is a lifelong member of St. Mary’s. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BA in Nursing and worked at the VA hospital for eight years in a variety of specialties including critical care.
After marrying her husband, Deano, they moved to Rockford, IL where they were members of Sts. Constantine and Helen GOC and she taught 4th grade Church School. They moved to Chicago where she worked as a head nurse for the Dept. of Federal Occupational Health and attended Holy Apostles GOC in Westchester, IL. In 1998 they moved to Scarsdale, NY where they attended Holy Trinity GOC in New Rochelle. Dena, Deano and their three children, Athanasia, George, and Pericles returned to the Twin Cities in 2002. She then joined the St. Mary’s team and has been a Church School teacher ever since. She has served as the advisor for Jr GOYA, a St Mary’s camp counselor, and started and led the Zouzounia – Junior Greek dance program. She served as Church School co-director from 2008-10 before reassuming the role in 2016 to the present.

Music Director

Thespina Macres

Thespina began her music career teaching in the Fridley public school system after graduating from the University of Minnesota – Duluth in Music Education. She sang in St Mary’s choir and later became its director. Thespina developed a Chant Group program which has included singers from Middle School age to adult. She was invited to direct the Annual Chicago Metropolis Sr Choir Conference in 2001 at St Mary’s and again in 2002 at St Spyridon. Thespina also arranged and directed a recent choir recording on CD.

Organist

Mark Macres

Mark accompanies the choir at the organ. He has participated in the Chicago Metropolis Choir Federation as a Board Member and also as the Choir Loft newsletter editor.

Administrative Staff

Parish Administrator

Julia Moricz

Raised in an Orthodox home, our Parish Administrator has vast experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors.  She oversees our entire facility, while also managing our staff, purchasing needs, community outreach, and overall financial aspects of St. Mary’s.

Parishioner Support / Communications

David Mertesdorf

David has been at St. Mary’s since 1996. He provides administrative and clerical assistance to our clergy, ministry groups, committee liaisons, and all others who come through our doors. David’s key areas of responsibility are marketing and communications, financial management assistance, and liturgical support and administration.

Facilities Coordinator

Bob Yang

Bob assists our non-member renters with their events. He also tackles a variety of projects throughout the facility, such as assembling bookshelves, setting up chairs, answering phones, and anything requiring the skills of a craftsman.