The clergy at St. Mary’s offers a variety of pastoral services to members of the parish. Feel free to contact the church office for further information.
He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Minnesota (1995), a Masters of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (1999) and a Ph.D. from the University of Thessaloniki (2010).
Father and his wife Presvytera Christa are blessed with four children – Paraskevi, Dimitrios, Nikodimi, and Maria Katherine. Fr. George was ordained to Holy Diaconate on December 8, 2001, and the Holy Priesthood on April 28, 2002, by Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver. He served Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas, Texas, 2001-2004, Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2007-2008, and Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Boulder, Colorado, 2008-2014.
Fr. Jason grew up in New Brighton, MN, and attended St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. After graduating from Irondale High School, Fr. Jason attended the University of Minnesota (Carlson School of Management) where he majored in finance. Upon graduation, he was a financial analyst for the consulting firm Accenture.
Fr. Jason, however, had the aim of attending Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology since he was a child. He began to consider becoming a priest when he was only ten years old. Growing up at a strong parish—St. Mary’s in Minneapolis—was instrumental not only in his choice of vocation, but also in his whole outlook on life. Youth ministry programs, chanting, and serving in the Holy Altar were all very important in Fr. Jason’s life as he prepared to go to seminary.
In 2001, Fr. Jason entered Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology after receiving a full scholarship from Leadership 100. He studied hard, went to services, grew in the Faith, and met his future wife, Presbytera Alexandra, who is also a graduate of Holy Cross. In 2005 he graduated with a Masters of Divinity with highest distinction. Upon graduation, Jason served the Church as a youth director at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC. Fr. Jason and Presbytera Alexandra were married in 2007 and a year later returned to the Boston area where Jason pursued further graduate studies in Biblical Studies at Boston College. The Houcks have five children – Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah.
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 to St. Mary’s at the end of January 2015.
Ordained by Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Fr. John began his pastoral career as assistant priest at St. Mary’s. In 2001, he was granted a Leadership 100 scholarship to pursue advanced studies at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, receiving the degree of Master of Theology in 2005, with a thesis on the earliest existing manuscript of St. John Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew.
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.
Fr. John enjoys sharing the fruits of his studies through preaching and Bible studies. He has traveled widely in Greece and Turkey, and has visited many of the major sites of early Christianity. He continues his study of ancient Greek, particularly Homer, archaic Greek poetry and Greek tragedy. Fr. John and Presbytera Janis Kostas have been married for 38 years. Presbytera Janis is a retired public health nurse and a great friend of animals.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the grandson of Slovakian immigrants, Deacon Paul attended Minneapolis public schools. He was raised and was very involved in St Mary’s Orthodox Church in Northeast Minneapolis. During his time at St Mary’s OCA he completed the Sunday school program, served as an altar boy, read the epistle, sang in both the junior and senior choirs and participated in multiple youth activities.
Deacon Paul attended the University of Minnesota, where he graduated Summa Cum laude with a B.S. degree in Biology. He received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Mayo Medical School. He completed a medical/surgical internship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas; an Ophthalmology Residency at Mayo Clinic Rochester; and a Glaucoma/Anterior Segment Fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (Harvard Medical School) in Boston.
As a medical student and physician-in-training in Rochester, the Orthodox church remained the focal point of Deacon Paul’s life. He was an active member of Sts. Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church and he served the parish in many capacities including Parish Council President, visiting inmates at the Federal Penitentiary in Rochester and cooking souvlaki and selling meals, pastries at Greek festivals.
Deacon Paul met his wife, Diakonissa Alexandria at the 1986 YAL Conference in Dallas, Texas. Deacon Paul and Diakonissa Alexandria were married less than a year later.
In 1993 Deacon Paul accepted an Ophthalmology Consultant position at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale (Arizona) where he remained on staff until 2004 caring for patients with medical and surgical eye problems. He was also the Residency Director for the eye physicians at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Phoenix where Mayo Clinic was involved in that program for several years.
Since 1995, Deacon Paul and Diakonissa Alexandria attended Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Scottsdale. Deacon Paul spent five of his six Parish Council years as President. He established the Archangel Michael Parish Library; co-chaired two Capital Building campaigns for a new church; co-chaired the Building Construction committee. During the same period their three children: Andrew, Maria and Stephen were involved in the Church through Sunday School, altar service, Greek dancing, Greek festivals and Junior GOYA/Senior GOYA.
In 1999, Deacon Paul enrolled in the St Stephen’s House of Studies which was a 4-year theological studies program administered by the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. He completed the required courses, tests and projects and in 2003 his Master’s thesis was approved which led him to receiving a Master’s degree in Applied Theology. In February 2004, Deacon Paul was ordained to the diaconate in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Fr. Anthony Coniaris
May his memory be eternal.
Αἰωνία ἠ μνήμη!
Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris has served at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN, since 1948. Ordained a Deacon in 1950 and a Priest in 1953, he is a native of Boston, MA, where he graduated from the Boston Latin School. He is a graduate of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary in Brookline, MA (Bachelor of Theology), as well as the Northwestern Theological Seminary in Minneapolis (which has since merged with Luther Seminary). He has attended post-graduate studies in the field of religion and psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. Fr. Coniaris served on the Council of Religious Advisors at the University of Minnesota.
He is Past President of the Minneapolis Ministerial Association, the Twin Cities Metropolitan Church Commission, the Minneapolis Professional Men’s Club, the Minneapolis Kiwanis, and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. He was a member of the Board of the Children’s Heart Fund and is listed in WHO’S WHO IN RELIGION 1976-77. Author of several books, he received the Three Hierarchs Medal for outstanding service from Holy Cross School of Theology.
Born in 1926, he retired in January 1993 after serving St. Mary’s for 44 years. He has served on the Standing Committee of Liturgical Translations of the Archdiocese. He also served as Adjunct Professor of the Homiletics at Holy Cross Seminary.
During his priesthood at St. Mary’s, he worked through the local Philoptochos chapter to bring close to 100 Greek children to Minneapolis for open-heart surgery at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Lilihei. This was accomplished with the assistance of Social Service Department of the Archdiocese of Athens and the Children’s Heart Fund of Minnesota. He helped establish the St. John Chrysostom Lecture series at Holy Cross Seminary, which funds an annual lectureship series on effective preaching.
During his pastorate at St. Mary’s, he led the congregation in building a magnificent church, school building, and social hall in 1956-57 on one of the most prestigious city sites, overlooking beautiful Lake Calhoun. The complex was enlarged with an additional building in 1972. A scholarship has been established at Holy Cross Seminary in the names of Fr. Anthony and Presbytera Mary Coniaris to assist needy students. Fr. Coniaris served for several years on the Archdiocese Board and Missions as well as on the Presbyter’s Council.
An invaluable resource that provides moral and spiritual support to those who are grieving a loss in their lives, whether from death, illness, disability, unemployment or significant change. Evening meetings with clergy supervision are in six-week cycles about three times a year or as needed. Regular social gatherings and informal support are also offered. In particular, the group welcomes people from all faith communities.
The clergy and trained counselors are also available to counsel and work with married couples who may either experience difficulties or who simply wish to work on their marriage. The Enrich inventory, also developed by the Life Innovations, is a very useful tool in evaluation, and involves steps one and two of the premarital counseling described above. Referrals are also made to professional counselors and therapists.
The clergy and trained counselors conduct a series of counseling classes before marriage that includes the following:
- A standardized inventory called Prepare developed by Life Innovations (one hour duration);
- Six 90-minute feedback sessions interpreting the inventory results, including a workbook for the couple;
- Two two-hour group sessions that involve Biblical and theological teaching on love, marriage, and family life and a review of the Sacrament of Marriage.
Clergy and our youth director are available for family and personal counseling on any issue. This is done by appointment and is kept in confidence. Should the issue(s) be beyond their competency or schedule, they will make referrals to spiritual fathers, counselors or centers that are compatible with the Orthodox Christian faith.
By custom, homes and businesses are blessed following the Great Feast of Theophany (January 6). Upon invitation, a priest will come at a mutually agreed time to lead a brief prayer service that includes the sprinkling and drinking of holy water. Since this is such a large parish, members may also pray and then sprinkle their home or business themselves with holy water from bottles provided at church. A two-page handout contains an appropriate order of prayer for those who wish to do this themselves. Items useful for the service: icon, candle, censer, cross, small bowl of water, bunch of basil or other leafy green.