Primate of Orthodox Church in America to visit Russia

Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada elected head of the Orthodox Church in America in November is to arrive in Russia on Saturday, according to a report posted on the Moscow Patriarchate website.

During his visit which will continue until May 4 Metropolitan Jonah will meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and visit holy places in Moscow, the Holy Trinity - St. Sergius Laura and the Valaam Monastery. Metropolitan Jonah and Patriarch Kirill will also jointly conduct religious services at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral on April 26 and at the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Assumption on May 3.

The Orthodox Church is America is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church in North America. Its former primate, Metropolitan Herman, retired last September, citing health reasons.

Metropolitan Jonah (James Paffhausen) was born in Chicago, IL, in a Protestant family. He was received into the Orthodox Church in 1978 at Our Lady of Kazan Moscow Patriarchal Church, San Diego, while a student at the University of California, San Diego.

In 1988, he graduated from St. Vladimir's Seminary. In early 1990s he worked at the Publishing Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, and had an exposure to monastic life during his stay in Valaam Monastery. The spiritual father of the monastery's abbot, the Elder Kirill at Trinity St. Sergius Laura, blessed James to become a monk, and in 1995, after ordaining to the diaconate and priesthood, he was tonsured to monastic rank at St. Tikhon's Monastery, South Canaan, PA, having received the name Jonah. Later, he established a monastery under the patronage of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

In the spring of 2008, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America elevated Fr. Jonah to the rank of Archimandrite and he was given the obedience to leave the monastery and take on the responsibilities of auxiliary bishop and chancellor for the Diocese of the South.

On November, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.

Source: Interfax religion