HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN EVANGELOS OF NEW JERSEY
Name Day: March 25th
Consecration: May 10, 2003
Enthronement: May 11, 2003
On September 20, 1961, in New York City, a baby boy was born to John and Magdalene Kourounis, who was very special from the first moment. This newborn, who was the baby brother of Michael and Harry, the elder sons of John and Magdalene, would grow up to be one of the most outstanding clergymen of the Orthodox Church, as well as the spiritual father of thousands of souls. At the same time, he is the realization of the Greek American dream, within the context of the Church.
Evangelos J. Kourounis was raised in the Greek-American milieu. As a youngster, he was taught to live his life close to the Church, attending the parochial schools of Saint Eleftherios, in lower Manhattan, and Saint Spyridon, in Washington Heights, both of which were leading schools of the Omogenia, during those years. His love for the liturgical life of the Church can be traced from his childhood. While attending grade school, he rarely missed attending the Divine Services at those parishes, as well as wherever he and his family might have been found on feastdays. In fact, from a young age, he could be found chanting at the analogion, or serving in the Holy Altar. During those formative years, young Evangelos established a spiritual relationship with his spiritual father, His Grace, Bishop Philotheos of Meloa.
As Evangelos grew up, he realized the priestly calling. Upon graduating from Saint Spyridon School, he enrolled in Hellenic College, in Brookline, Massachusetts from which he graduated in 1983 and then continued his studies at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology graduating in 1986 with a Masters of Divinity Degree. With the blessings and urging of the late Archbishop Iakovos, he attended, from 1987-88, the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, from which he received a Certificate of Ecumenical Studies.
On the Feastday of Saint Tryphon, February 1, 1987, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate, at the Saint Eleftherios Church, in Manhattan, by his spiritual father, Bishop Philotheos. While attending school in Geneva, Deacon Evangelos served as Deacon to the Orthodox Center of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy, Geneva. Upon return to the United States, he was assigned to the position of Deacon to Archbishop Iakovos and Assistant Director of Archives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (1988-1989).
On July 30th, 1989, Deacon Evangelos was ordained to the Holy Priesthood, by Bishop Philotheos of Meloa, at Saint Spyridon Church, in Washington Heights. His first assignment was as assistant to the Dean of St. Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria, New York, as position he held from August 1989 until September 1993. While serving in Astoria, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite, by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, on March 30th, 1991 at Saints Catherine and George Greek Orthodox Church in Astoria, New York. During those years, he became known to be, not just an excellent liturgist, but a caring spiritual father.
In September 1993, Father Evangelos was assigned to the position of Chancellor of the Diocese of New Jersey, where he would serve until March 1999. In the mean time, he was appointed to serve as Director of the Registry of the Archdiocese from 1996 to 2001, and as President of the Spiritual Court for the Archdiocesan District from 1996 until April 2003.
From October 2001 until his election to the Episcopacy, he served as Dean of the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Astoria "St. Demetrios Cathedral". Having served there in the past, he was able to minister to the thousands of parishioners with a certain care that came from knowing his flock. It was during his tenure that the capital campaign for the repairs at Saint Catherine Church began.
On April 12th, 2003, upon the recommendation of and nomination by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople,under the Presidency of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, unanimously elected Metropolitan Evangelos as Metropolitan and Spiritual Leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey.
The "Mega Minima" (Official announcement and declaration of the Election) of His Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos was read on May 9th, 2003 at the Archdiocesan Chapel of St. Paul the Apostle.
On Saturday, May 10th, 2003 His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios together with His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos, His Eminence, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta and several other Hierarchs, ordained the Very Reverend Archimandrite Evangelos Kourounis to the Episcopacy at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
The Enthronement of His Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos as the Spiritual Leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey which include the mid-Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the Greater Philadelphia area, took place on Sunday, May 11th, 2003 at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly, New Jersey.
Metropolitan Evangelos succeeds Metropolitan Silas and Bishop George of New Jersey. With the new Charter granted to the Archdiocese by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2003, the Diocese of New Jersey, which was established in 1977, was elevated to a Metropolis. Therefore, Metropolitan Evangelos is the first hierarch enthroned as Metropolitan of New Jersey.
The Metropolis is comprised of fifty-six parishes in New Jersey, the Greater Philadelphia area, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
During the few years of Episcopacy, His Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos has created a home for our Metropolis, located in Westfield, New Jersey, as well as many pastoral programs, among which is the “Camp Good Shepherd,” which has been a great success. All of these achievements are testament to His Eminence’s love for Christ and His Holy Church, and his zeal to accomplish the mission given to him at his enthronement, by Archbishop Demetrios, who stated: "I am sure that by the Grace and strength from God, the new Metropolitan of New Jersey will prove to be a true imitator of our Good Shepherd Jesus Christ and will lead the devoted flock of his God-saved Metropolis to 'springs of living water" (Rev. 7:17).
ΕΙΣ ΠΟΛΛΑ ΕΤΗ, ΔΕΣΠΟΤΑ!