Fr Jonathan Bannon
Fr. Jonathan Bannon grew up at St. John the Baptist Carpatho Russian Church on Mill Hill Ave. in Bridgeport CT. It was there as a child and altar server through the consistency of services and under the leadership of Fr. John Duranko, Fr. Peter Benyo and later Fr. David Cochran that Fr. Jonathan began his spiritual formation. Fr. Jonathan attended Camp Nazareth several years as a camper, and one day was asked about serving as a staff member. Fr. Jonathan had no idea when he accepted that his servitude at camp washing hundreds of dishes a day and serving hundreds of campers all summer would be the beginning of his formation as a diligent server of the Lord with an intense work-ethic.
Fr. Jonathan received his Bachelor's of Science in Art Education from Central Connecticut State University. Seminary was continuously on his mind as he worked through undergraduate in order to later attend the seminary. While student teaching the pull to the priesthood remained strong as Fr. Jonathan had the revelation that he did not want to teach these children about composition, line and pattern, as much as he desired to share with them the Lord and Salvation.
In the fall of 2009, Fr. Jonathan enrolled in Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown Pennsylvania and began his three-year training for the priesthood. It was also during this time that Fr. Jonathan got engaged to his future Pani, Marianna. Together, Fr. Jonathan and Pani Marianna decided that they would spend one year together in Chicago after marriage, rather than Fr. Jonathan seeking his ordination immediately afterwards, which is the usual process for seminarians.
While in Chicago, Fr. Jonathan took up work as a barista at the Starbuck’s on Lake & Waukegan in Glenview. Starbuck’s was never in Fr. Jonathan’s plan, but soon he began accumulating “Starbuck’s stories” as the job quickly transformed into a learning experience. Fr. Jonathan wrote in an article for The Church Messenger, “[I] understood that one ever knows where another has been in life, what they are going through, and perhaps walking away from. We are called to not only see God in others but to treat them with the very love God has richly bestowed on us sinners.”
On June 15th, 2013—Father’s Day, Fr. Jonathan was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Grace, Bishop Gregory in his home parish of St. John the Baptist in Bridgeport, CT. The Sunday following Pentecost, June 29th, Fr. Jonathan began serving the deacon’s service and offering the Eucharist to the faithful at Christ the Savior in Rockford. Neither Fr. Jonathan nor the faithful knew if he would be staying permanently as their priest. All the faithful could do was pray and continue to wait patiently for word from the bishop.
Two months later, on September 1st, the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year, Fr. Jonathan was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace Bishop Gregory at St. Michael’s Carpatho Russian Orthodox church in Niles during the National ACRY convention. Many of the faithful from Rockford made the travel to participate in this momentous occasion. The following week the faithful were finally informed that their prayers had been answered and Fr. Jonathan would be serving at their parish.
His Grace, Bishop Gregory Tatsis was in the midst of a successful career in cardiovascular research in Charlotte, NC. However, two mission trips to Alaska sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Mission Society prompted him to give up his secular job to study for the priesthood. Serving the Eskimos (Inuits) of Alaska made him feel “close to God,” he said. After graduating from Holy Cross Seminary in 2006, he was ordained a deacon. In 2007 he was tonsured a monk at the Agia Lavra Monastery, Kalavryta, Greece and then ordained a priest by His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios in Atlanta.
He was appointed as the Ierokyrix (“Traveling Preacher:”) of the Metropolis of Atlanta.and then “Confessor.” Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Chapel in Atlanta, He led spiritual retreats and gave spiritual direction to hundreds of believers in the Atlanta Metropolia as well as overseeing all of its youth programs.
He served as the parish priest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC from December 20, 2010 until May 31, 2011. Since October, 2011, he served as the Dean of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in New Orleans, LA
On July 13, 2012, our diocese met to nominate him to the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Constantinople) as the candidate for diocesan bishop. In turn, the Holy Synod elected him on August 30. Following back surgery, he received the blessing of His All-Holiness Bartholomew I to be our diocesan shepherd with the title “Bishop of Nyssa.” He was ordained to the episcopate and enthroned as diocesan bishop on Tuesday, November 27 in Johnstown, PA.