JOHNSTOWN -- During a joyous service lasting nearly four hours a Greek Orthodox priest and former medical researcher was consecrated and enthroned as the new bishop of the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese USA.
Bishop Gregory of Nyssa, 55, was most recently dean of the Greek Orthodox cathedral in New Orleans.
He was recruited to lead the tiny Johnstown-based Orthodox jurisdiction because none of its handful of unmarried priests was willing to be considered for the position. While married men can be Orthodox priests they cannot be bishops.
The former Rev. Gregory Tatsis is a North Carolina native who was ordained a priest and tonsured as a monk in 2007. He worked for 20 years in cardiovascular research before entering seminary.
He succeeds the late Metropolitan Nicholas, who died in March 2011, as bishop of a church with 81 parishes in 13 states and Canada.
"I pray that God will grant me the faith wisdom and love to lead this flock entrusted to me all the way to Paradise," he said after his enthronement in Christ the Saviour Cathedral.
"I have come to this diocese to serve you the people, not to have you serve me."