ABOUT OUR CLERGY
Orthodox is not a name you call yourself; Orthodox Christianity is a life you live.
"Let us keep our love and Faith in the Risen Lord ever alive and burning with Holy fervor!"
FATHER JOHN STRATOS HONDROS
Father John has been the Presiding Priest since 2002 at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Father John attended Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, receiving a Masters of Divinity with Distinction in May 1986. He met Maria Brogolias in Dallas, Texas at the Greek Orthodox Young Adult League Conference, and they were joined in Holy Matrimony on February 22, 1987 at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Ascension in Oakland, California in a ceremony officiated by His Eminence, Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory.
Father John was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on March 8, 1987 by Bishop Anthony at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Ascension in Oakland. Two weeks later, on March 22, 1987, Father John was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Metropolitan Anthony at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Long Beach, California.
Father John has served since 1987 in four Parishes in the Metropolis of San Francisco:
April 1987 – August 1991: Holy Trinity Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona, where he served as Assistant Priest under Father James Tavlarides.
September 1991 – April 1997: St. George Church, Eugene, Oregon, where he served as the first full-time Priest, leading the mission community in building its Church facility and achieving parish status.
May 1997 – August 2002: Church of the Assumption, Seattle, Washington, where he initiated planning and fund-raising for the new parish hall.
September 2002 – Present: St. John the Baptist Church, Las Vegas, NV. During Father John’s tenure thus far: The parish celebrated the grand opening of the St. John Community and Education Center; he received the Offikion of Oikonomos from Metropolitan Anthony; the parish choir hosted on two occasions the Western Conference of the Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians; in June 2005, Metropolitan Gerasimos, Bishop Anthimos, Bishop Ilia and Father John officiated the Holy Consecration of our beloved Church; Phases One and Two of the iconography project of St. John Church were completed in 2005 and 2006, and Phase Three (exedras) was completed May, 2019; in 2009 the parish celebrated the 50th anniversary of its 1959 incorporation in the State of Nevada, and in November 2019 St. John the Baptist celebrated its 60th anniversary. At this parish milestone, we retired our Church mortgage and Metropolitan Gerasimos elevated Father John to the rank of Protopresbyter. Father John has mentored two assistant priests thus far, Father Matthew Swehla and Father Seraphim Ramos.
From 2008 to 2012, Father John was elected and served for two terms as President of the Metropolis of San Francisco Snydesmos, the Brotherhood of the Clergy in the Metropolis of San Francisco. During these years Father John also represented the Metropolis on the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council. He has also served on the organizational committee for the National Clergy Retreats put on by the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, which are held biennially.
Father John and Presvytera Maria are blessed with two children, Christopher (Darlene) and Marissa. Presvytera Maria serves regularly and tirelessly as the lead chanter, as well as the director of the Youth Choir.
Father John loves learning, sharing stories, laughing, writing, taking photos, teaching, preaching and traveling.
"Let us wear our own Cross and make the sign of the Cross boldly, knowing that in this sign we too are victorious in Christ!"
FATHER SERAPHIM RAMOS
Father Seraphim, Presvytera Olenka and their daughter Ivanna Zenovia Ramos joined the St. John the Baptist community in Las Vegas on June 1, 2017. Father Seraphim came straight from Boston where he spent seven years studying for his Bachelors and Master’s degrees at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA.
He met Presvytera Olenka (Zharsky), the daughter of a Ukrainian Orthodox Priest while studying at Holy Cross and they were married in the summer of 2014 in San Francisco. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate the day after graduation on May 21, 2017 at the Holy Cross Chapel by His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and then to the Holy Priesthood a few weeks later in Las Vegas on June 18.
As a native of the Pacific Northwest, Father Seraphim embraced the Holy Orthodox Faith in 2008 at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church (OCA) in Tacoma, WA. He converted from Protestantism together with his parents, three brothers, and two sisters. His father, Father Joseph Ramos is now also an Orthodox Christian Priest in the Orthodox Church of America.
Father Seraphim and Presvytera Olenka welcomed their second child, Nikolai Joseph into the world in January, 2018, and their third child, Makrina Markella in December 2019; they both enjoy hiking, board games, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Father Seraphim is grateful to be serving the Las Vegas Greek Orthodox community in his first assignment as a second priest: working with the youth and catechumens, planning monthly events for various ministries for young and old, and assisting Father John in the Sacramental and Liturgical life of the vibrant and growing parish.
FATHER PAUL EYLER
Father Paul Eyler is a retired priest from the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He was the pastor of the Antiochian parish in Las Vegas, St. Michael's Orthodox Church for more than 40 years.
Although Fr. Paul is retired, he helps serve Divine Liturgy with Fr. John and Fr. Seraphim, when he is in town. His wife, Presvytera Eileen attends the services with him. Truly, Truly, I say to you... Fr. Paul is a good servant of Christ!
Excerpt from the Las Vegas Sun October 18, 1997.
St. Michael's, the local Antiochian parish, began in 1965 in the home of the Rev. Paul Eyler. "We started with just a couple of families," he recalls. Churchgoers had to tromp through his daughter's bedroom to attend services. "If you had a dozen people, that would fill the place up," Eyler says. "Then, the choir would have to sing from the bathroom."
St. Michael's is a bit more flush these days. The rise in membership can be seen in the rise of the church itself: Additional buildings arose as the congregation could afford them, finally swallowing the old Eyler house -- a process crowned by the church hall and kitchen added recently. The membership now stands at 150, 40 percent of whom he estimates are converts. As is Eyler himself.
"I was studying to be a Protestant minister 40 years ago when I converted to the orthodox church," he says. "I felt that this was the Church that went back to the time of the early Apostles."
"I felt that this was the Church that went back to the time of the early Apostles."