Very Rev. Dr. John Jillions

Very Rev. Dr. John Jillions

Associate Professor of Religion and Culture

The Very Rev. Dr. John A. Jillions has served as Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America since 2011. Prior to that, he was Associate Professor at the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, where he was a member of the Faculty of Theology since 2003. He taught courses in Orthodox Theology, 20th Century Orthodox Thought, New Testament, East-West Ecumenism, and Pastoral Theology. He also directed the DMin program there for several years.

Throughout his priestly and academic career he has taken an active interest in promoting inter- Christian and interfaith understanding, most notably as a vice-president of the Canadian Council of Churches and in the UK as a member of the Cambridge Theological Federation.

Father John was born in Montreal in 1955 and is a life-long member of the Orthodox Church. He has a B.A. in Economics from McGill University, and theological degrees from St. Vladimir's Seminary (M.Div. '80, D.Min. '05), and the University of Thessaloniki (Ph.D., New Testament, '02). Ordained a deacon in 1981 and priest in 1984, he served parishes in New York City, New Jersey, Australia (Brisbane), Greece (Thessaloniki), the UK (Cambridge), and Canada (Ottawa and Brockville, ON). He is currently rector of St. Sergius Chapel at the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove, New York.

Father John was founding director of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge and served as its first Principal (1997–2002). Early in his career, he served as administrator of Ss. Cosmas and Damian Adult Home and as a bank officer. In 1990–92 he served a brief stint as a chaplain (Captain) in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He is married to Denise (Melligon) and has three adult sons, Andrew (Alice and granddaughter Eloise), Alexander and Anthony.

Educational Background

  • B.A., McGill University
  • M.Div., St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
  • D.Min., St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
  • Ph.D., University of Thessaloniki

Teaching Interests

  • Pastoral Theology

Current Projects and Research Interests

I am currently preparing a book based on my New Testament Ph.D. dissertation, with the working title, "Decisions and Divine Guidance: Believers and Skeptics in the Greco-Roman, Jewish and Christian World of St Paul’s Corinth." The first-century thought-world in which Christianity emerged has surprisingly much in common with our own. I am especially interested in how Orthodox Christians serve, build bridges, and connect with others in our fragmented but spiritually seeking world. This links to two related interests: studying the history of Orthodox Christianity in North America, and researching Orthodox pastoral experience and responses to contemporary issues. Likewise, I continue to study the Paris School of Orthodox thought (of which St Vladimir's Seminary was an important heir) because it wrestled with ultimate questions relating the Gospel of Christ to the universe we inhabit.

Recent Courses Taught at SVOTS

  • Ministry in a Secular Age

Selected Publications

  • "My Strength and My Song: Reflections on the Psalms," submitted for publication, 2016.
  • “The Amerikanskii Pravoslavnyi Vestnik (The Russian Orthodox American Messenger) 1917-18: in the Aftermath of Revolutions in Russia,” submitted for publication, 2016.
  • "How Do You See? Towards an Eastern Orthodox Approach to Practical Theology,” in Karlijn Demasure and Luc Tardif (Eds.), Théologie Pratique, Pratiques de Théologie, Quebec: Mediaspaul, 2014.
  • “Spiritual Guidance in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition,” in John Mabry (ed.), Spiritual Guidance Across Religions: a sourcebook for spiritual directors and other professionals providing counsel to people of differing faith traditions, Woodstock, Vermont: Moorehouse, 2014.
  • “Bishops, Pentecost and Orthodox Identity,” in William Mills (Ed.), Church and World: Essays in Honor of Michael Plekon, Rollinsford, NH: Orthodox Research Institute, 2013.
  • “Orthodox Christianity in the West: the Challenge of Ecumenism,” in Mary Cunningham and Elizabeth Theokritoff (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Christian Orthodox Theology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • “An Orthodox Reading of 1 Cor 1:18-31: Any Room for the Methodists?” in ST Kimbrough (Ed.), Orthodox and Wesleyan Ecclesiology, Crestwood, NY: Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2008.
  • “The Servant Church: Nicholas Zernov’s Rethinking of Christian Unity,” Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 51:3-4, Winter 2011.
  • “Three Orthodox Models Christian Unity: Traditionalist, Mainstream, Prophetic,” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 9:4 (November 2009): 295-311.
  • “The Language of Enemies,” Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 50:3-4 (2009).
  • “Ecumenism and the Paris School of Orthodox Theology,” Theoforum 39:3 (2008).
  • Review Essay: “Communion in the Messiah: Lev Gillet and Jewish-Christian Relations,” Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 47:3-4 (2006), 111-129.
  • “Love and curses: searching St. Paul for a new vision of ecumenism,” Sobornost, April 1998; condensed and re-printed in Theology Digest, May 1999.
  • “Self-love,” Sourozh: A Journal of Christian Life and Thought, No.65, August 1996 (and reply to responses, Sourozh, No. 67, February 1997).
  • “Review Essay: The Greek New Testament, Fourth Edition,” St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 39:2 (1995).
  • Translations (from Russian): Alexander Schmemann, I Believe, The Virgin Mary, The Church Year, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1991, 1994, 1995.

Recent Conference Presentations and Activities

  • “The Book of Acts: A Guide for Orthodox Mission in the 21st Century,” Montreal Institute for Orthodox Theology, May 2015.
  • “50 Years After ‘The Letter from Birmingham Jail’: an Orthodox Response,” Christian Churches Together, Conference in Birmingham, AL, April 2013.
  • “St Alexis: Courage, Confidence and the Cross,” Annual St Alexis Toth Lecture, St Mary’s Cathedral, Minneapolis, MN, May 2012.
  • “The Future of Ecumenical Studies: an Eastern Orthodox Perspective,” keynote address at WCC consultation, Sibiu, Romania, November 2010.
  • “‘Thicket of Idols’: Alexander Schmemann’s Critique of the Orthodox Church,” American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA, October 2010.
  • “Jesus: Myth, Metaphor or Messiah?” Sheptytsky Institute Study Days, Edmonton, AB, July 31, 2010.
  • “Reconciling Mary’s Quarrelsome Children: the Pochaev Icon of the Theotokos Among Orthodox and Catholics in Ukraine and Canada,” The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Lancashire, UK, July 20, 2010.
  • “The Changing Face of Eastern Orthodox Families in North America: Participant Observations By a Married Priest With Children,” International Conference on the Family, Saint Paul University, May 2010.
  •  “Faith and a Sustainable Economy: an Eastern Orthodox Perspective,” Canadian Council of Churches consultation, Ottawa, 2009.
  • “Integrating Orthodox Theological Education into the University: Case Studies from Cambridge (UK) and Canada,” Orthodox Theological Society of America, Chicago, June 12-14, 2008.

Recent Awards

  • Teaching Excellence Award, Saint Paul University, 2010