Our

Hierarchal Proistamenos

Consecrated: December 9, 2006
Name Day: October 26

His Grace Bishop Demetrios (Kantzavelos) of Mokissos, a native of Chicago born to first-generation Greek-Americans, Merope (née Kossivas) and the late Christ J. Kantzavelos, grew up as an active participant in the life of the city’s historic Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. He went on to attend Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Ecclesiastical Appointments

Having received monastic tonsure, Bishop Demetrios was ordained to the Diaconate October of 1989. In 1992, he was ordained to the priesthood, and in 1995 elevated to the rank of Archimandrite, all by the hand of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago. He has served as assistant and deacon to the bishop, as pastor of Annunciation Cathedral of Chicago, and as Chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago.

On October 30, 2006, Archimandrite Demetrios Kantzavelos was elected unanimously by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as Bishop of Mokissos, to serve as an auxiliary bishop of the Holy Archdiocese of America. He was assigned to serve the needs of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago at the direction of its hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos. His episcopal ordination took place on December 9, 2006, at his home parish of the Assumption Church, in Chicago, Illinois, by the hand of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, with Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, along with other revered Hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions.

Currently, he is serving as Hierarchal Administrator (Proistamenos) of the Saint Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine in St. Augustine, FL, having been appointed by His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in 2019. Concurrently, he was likewise appointed to spearhead the Archdiocese of America’s “Spanish Ministry Initiative,” a new ministry of national scope.

Additionally, he serves as the representative of the Assembly of Bishops on the Board of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, also located at St. Augustine, FL.

Distinctions

Named as “one of the twelve people to watch” by The Chicago Sun-Times (January 5, 2003), Bishop Demetrios has worked extensively to build bridges of understanding and improve relationships between Chicago’s Greek Orthodox Community with other local Orthodox bodies, as well as other Christian and non-Christian groups. His ecumenical and interfaith commitments are numerous, coalescing around areas of social justice and advocacy. To this end, in February of 2003, he co-founded a initiative to improve relations between the Turkish and Greek communities in Chicago, culminating in his being named the recipient of the 2010 “Fethullah Gülen Award” from the Niagara Foundation, a Turkish/Muslim-American group in Chicago, inspired by Fethullah Gülen, a leading Turkish Muslim, advancing interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

Bishop Demetrios is a past President (2008-2009) of the “Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.” The Council is composed of chief leaders of the Greater Chicago faith Communities and embraces a broad diversity of theological and religious traditions.

He has served as a representative of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCCUSA) and served as the chairperson of several of its committees.

In 1992, Bishop Demetrios established the Bishop’s Task Force on AIDS, the first formal Orthodox Christian response to this pandemic in the western hemisphere. As this ministry received widespread recognition, its founder-coordinator Archimandrite Demetrios was named “Outstanding Community Leader” by the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1995, and received the “Jim Noone Award for Religious Leadership” from the AIDS Pastoral Care Network in 1997. The Task Force became a resource for the entire Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. From 2001 until 2004, Bishop Demetrios also served as board member of Chicago’s Alexian Brothers’ Bonaventure House, a premiere residential care facility for people living with HIV/AIDS. In August of 2005, he was honored with the Alexian Brothers’ “AIDS Ministry 2005 President’s Award.”

With an unyielding commitment to the sanctity of life, Bishop Demetrios works for justice and humanity in the prison system. He has served as a board member and past two-term President (2003-2005) of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and received the coalition’s Cunningham-Carey Award in 2007. He has spoken and written extensively in support of abolition of the death penalty and has advocated extensively for individual death row inmates. Having met with the Illinois Governor on several occasions on the subject of Capital Punishment, Bishop Demetrios was recognized for his advocacy as an invited guest at the ceremony where Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in 2011.

For all these and related activities, in 2008 he was appointed as a member of the Illinois State Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In 2011, Bishop Demetrios was honored to be re-appointed for a second term on the Committee.

Education

Publications (Partial List)

Echoes From Calvary: Meditations on Franz Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words of The Christ (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2005), edited by Richard Young;

The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World (Relevant Books, 2006), edited by Heather Zydek.

He is a regular contributor of editorials in local and national media outlets for issues concerning the Greek Orthodox Faith and Hellenic culture.