Preparing for service in Guatemala
Jesse has lived throughout the United States but still finds his home in Michigan, where his parents and one brother live. Raised in the Orthodox Church, Jesse was inspired by his family to pursue a life of ministry. His father, Gerasimos, was born in India to missionary parents and now serves as a deacon; his mother, Abigail Lydia, is an artist and iconographer in the Church. For Jesse, the love of ministry and mission work drew him to Latin America.
Jesse first fell in love with Latin America in high school, where he befriended students from Mexico who had immigrated to Michigan. Through these friendships, Jesse felt the call to attend seminary and do ministry in the Spanish language. He attended college at Thomas More College in New Hampshire and, in 2009, he briefly traveled to Guatemala as a short-term missionary through OCMC.
After college, Jesse attended seminary, studying at both St. Vladimir's Seminary and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. In 2012, he returned to Guatemala—this time for a full summer—where he traveled with several indigenous Orthodox priests along treacherous mountain roads to minister in the Mayan villages. After finishing seminary, Jesse worked as a lay hospital chaplain in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he used his knowledge of Spanish among a majority-Hispanic population.
Now, through the continuing support of people throughout the United States, Jesse returns to Guatemala as a long-term missionary. His love for Latin America fills him with hope that the ancient seed of Orthodox Christianity will not be merely transplanted from other cultures, but will sprout with fresh roots in the soil of the indigenous culture. Offering his theological training and his talents as a writer and photographer, Jesse hopes to play a small part in the growth of an authentic—and beautiful—Mayan Orthodoxy.