Very Rev. Dr. John Jillions

Very Rev. Dr. John Jillions

Associate Professor of Religion and Culture

The Very Rev. Dr. John A. Jillions teaches the course “Ministry in a Secular Age” in the Doctor of Ministry Program at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) and serves as pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut (this community was founded in 1894 as the first Orthodox parish in New England). He is also an adjunct lecturer at Fordham University, where he has taught the course “Faith and Critical Reason.” Fr. John served for seven years as Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America (2011-2018). Prior to that he was associate professor of Theology at the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at Saint Paul University in Ottawa (2003-2011) and dean of Annunciation Cathedral (OCA). He taught courses in New Testament, East-West ecumenism and pastoral theology. For the previous nine years (1994-2003), Fr. John lived with his wife and three children in Greece and England, completing a Ph.D. in New Testament, and was founding Principal of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge.

Fr. John was born in Montreal in 1955 and is a life-long member of the Orthodox Church. He was ordained deacon in 1981 and priest in 1984, and has served communities in New York City, Rahway (NJ), Australia (Brisbane), Greece (Thessaloniki), the UK (Cambridge), Canada (Ottawa and Brockville, ON), the OCA Chancery’s St Sergius Chapel in Syosset, NY, and now Bridgeport, CT. He has been married for forty years to Denise (Melligon) and together they have three grown sons, Andrew (married to Alice; grandchildren Eloise and James), Alexander, and Anthony.

Educational Background

• B.A. (Economics), McGill University, 1977
• M.Div., St Vladimir’s Seminary, 1980
• Ph.D. (New Testament), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2002
• D.Min., St Vladimir’s Seminary, 2005

Teaching Interests

New Testament, pastoral theology, spiritual life, faith and culture, ecumenical thought

Current Projects and Research Interests

Divine guidance, delusion and discernment; the intersection of Christian faith and human experience; faith and political life; “nones and dones”; religion in American history; hierarchy

Recent Courses Taught at SVOTS

  • Ministry in a Secular Age (D.Min.)

Selected Publications


  • Divine Guidance: Lessons for Today From the World of Early Christianity. Oxford University Press: 2020 (forthcoming).
  • The Christmas Story: Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem [a children’s book]. Xist Publishing, 2020 (forthcoming).

Articles and Chapters in Books:

  • “Divine Guidance: Lessons From the Pluralistic World of Paul’s Corinth,” Perichoresis: the Theological Journal of Emanuel University, 2020 (forthcoming).
  • “Biblical Scholarship in Pre-Revolutionary Russia: Mitrofan Muretov (1850-1917), St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, 2020 (forthcoming).
  • “Kenotic Ecumenism,” in Paul McPartlan and Geoffrey Wainwright (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ecumenical Studies, Oxford University Press: 2018.
  • “Response to N.T. Wright, ‘Learning from Paul Together: How New Insights into Paul’s Teaching can Help Move us Forward in Mission,’” Lausanne Orthodox Initiative [Evangelical and Orthodox scholars in dialogue], September 2-17, Cambridge, UK, St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 62.4 (2018).
  • “‘Thicket of Idols’: Alexander Schmemann’s Critique of Orthodoxy,” The Wheel 19 (Winter 2019).
  • “Obergefell v. Hodges: Questions for Orthodox Christians,” Symposium on Orthodox Pastoral Care and Sexuality, Vrije University of Amsterdam, June 5-9, Amsterdam, The Wheel 13/14 (Spring/summer 2018).
  • The Amerikanskii Pravoslavnyi Vestnik (The Russian Orthodox American Messenger) 1917-18: in the Aftermath of Revolutions in Russia,” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, 61.2 (2017).
  • “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: SkyLight Paths, 2014.
  • “The Language of Enemies,” Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 50.3-4 (2009).

Edited books

  • Inward Being and Outward Identity: the Orthodox Churches in the 21st Century, special issue of Religions (journal and e-book), 2018.
  • John A. Jillions and Michael Plekon, editors, of Antoine Arjakovsky, The Way: Religious Thinkers of the Russian Emigration in Paris and their Journal 1925-1940, English translation (by Jerry Ryan) of La generation des penseurs religieux de l’émigration russe, Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2013.

Recent Conference Presentations and Activities

  • “Differences and Discernment in St Paul’s Corinth,” lecture at The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Summer School, August 2019.
  • Speaker at book launch of Razvan Porumb’s Orthodoxy and Ecumenism: Towards an Active Metanoia (Peter Lang, 2019), August 2019.
  • Orthodox Response to N.T. Wright, “Learning from Paul Together: How New Insights into Paul’s Teaching can Help Move us Forward in Mission,” Lausanne Orthodox Initiative, September 2017, Cambridge, UK.
  • “Overshadowed by the Spirit: Mary as Embodiment of Holiness,” Eastern Churches Seminar, Notre Dame College, October 2017, Cleveland, Ohio
  • “The Beginning of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge,” Standing at the Crossroads: Challenges and Opportunities for Orthodoxy in the West (with Archbishop Rowan Williams and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware), June, 2017, Cambridge, UK.
  • “Obergefell v. Hodges: Questions for Orthodox Christians,” Symposium on Orthodox Pastoral Care and Sexuality, Vrije University of Amsterdam, June 5-9, 2017, Amsterdam.

Recent Awards

  • St Innocent Award (Orthodox Church in America), 2018