Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message September 18, 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am thrilled to officially share some wonderful news with our St. Anna Family, though we have touched on these subjects during divine services. The Metropolis of Denver, and our own parish are blessed to receive much needed and appreciated assistance in ministry and leadership on two, distinctively different fronts.

His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver has in no small measure, guided and grown our holy Metropolis for decades. His final “addition” to his holy “territory” was the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish of Utah, which of course, became a chartered parish of the Archdiocese as the St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church of Sandy, Utah. His Eminence has proven to be a prayerful, holy and sacrificial, servant-shepherd. We are ever grateful for his episcopal support and guidance in the formation of our vibrant parish, and for all he has accomplished in his prolific ministry.

It is equally true that due to the Covid pandemic, his age and over-all health, His Eminence has not been able to travel the vast spaces of the Metropolis of Denver and has been in need of assistance, just like any priest in a large parish. The priests of the Metropolis of Denver are thrilled and excited to welcome our new Auxiliary Bishop, Bishop Elect Constantine of Sassima, as the assistant bishop to His Eminence. Following is his biography that was sent out from the Archdiocese.

His Grace is worthy, capable, gifted and kind. I have known (formally Fr. Dean Moralis) for over 30 years and there is not a single person on this Earth that is more suited for this specific ministry – here and now. This is not good news for our Metropolis. This is fantastic news! Make no mistake, Metropolitan Isaiah is still very much our local hierarch and remains in charge of the day-to-day life of the Metropolis. His Grace will be of great assistance to him and to us. To the newly elected bishop of our church and our metropolis – we jubilantly shout “Axios!” “He is Worthy!”

The Metropolis has requested that each parish share in the substantial, financial obligations of His Grace’s ordination and relocation from Baltimore to Denver. Parish Council President, Steve Simos and I have determined that a $2,000 pledge from our parish is acceptable, given the size of our parish and all of the responsibilities we have here at home, with our on-going build out. We will offer a special collection in the Narthex (we do not pass baskets) for this blessed cause. Please be as generous as able. This appointment will benefit our entire Metropolis and we eagerly look forward to the first hierarchal visit of His Grace. 

His Grace Bishop Elect Constantine of Sassima (Moralis)

In continuation to the July 22, 2022, communication from the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Holy and Sacred Synod announcing the unanimous election of His Grace Bishop-elect Constantine of Sassima (Moralis) as an auxiliary Bishop for the Holy Metropolis of Denver, it is with much joy that our Sacred Archdiocese announces that His Grace’s ordination to the Holy Episcopacy will take place at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City this fall, on October 15. 

His Grace Bishop-elect Constantine of Sassima (Moralis) was born in 1966 in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the son of the late Petros (a refugee from Asia Minor born in Athens) and Sarah (of Mobile, Alabama), and is the youngest of three children.

From an early age, His Grace served as an acolyte at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Baltimore, MD under the late Fr. Constantine M. Monios of blessed memory, a mentor who encouraged him to pursue ordained ministry. In 1988, he began his studies at Hellenic College and graduated from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in 1994. He was ordained to both the holy Diaconate and Presbyterate in 1996 by the late Metropolitan Silas of New Jersey of blessed memory and was assigned to the Annunciation Cathedral in Baltimore — the same parish where he was baptized and raised — and has served as its pastor to the present day. He was elevated to the rank of Confessor in the year 2000 and to the rank of Archimandrite in 2002, at which time he was also installed as Dean of the Annunciation Cathedral. On July 22, 2022, he was elected by the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Holy and Sacred Synod as the Bishop of Sassima.

With over 1,000 families at the Cathedral, His Grace has worked tirelessly to serve the needs of the parish and the greater Baltimore community. He has established a number of programs for youth and young adults and is the founder of the Annunciation Senior Center. His Grace’s pride and joy, the Annunciation Senior Center affords senior members of the community a safe haven for Christian fellowship while receiving the highest level of care but has temporarily closed due to Covid. He served as the director of the Chesapeake region’s Camp Good Shepherd and has led four overseas pilgrimages. His Grace currently serves on the Board of Trustees for both Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and St. Basil Academy.

Now, on the opposite end of the Orthodox clerical spectrum, I am equally thrilled and grateful that St. Anna’s has been abundantly blessed with the attachment of Deacon John Kavas to our parish. Dn. John and his family are from Denver, CO and have recently relocated to Park City, Utah for reasons he spells out in his biography. Dn. John is a beautiful liturgist and an outstanding person. We welcome him, Diaconissa Julie, together with their youngest child, Joey to Utah. We also look forward to meeting their eldest three children Jonas, Jack and Jana when they come to visit from Colorado and Kansas. Dn. John generously volunteers his time to participate in the divine services of the church and in the future, will assist in the teaching ministries of St. Anna’s. It is important for us to realize that Dn. John was not assigned to serve at St. Anna’s by the Metropolis, but rather, he chose to serve here. We should always express our gratitude to him and his family for joining our spiritual home.

Beyond his profession as an attorney, he is a graduate of our Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. And I should also say that Dn. John is a classmate of our own, dear Fr. Jimmy Foreso, who served the very first Divine Liturgy of our budding mission. He returned often to serve our community in its first year. Fr. Jimmy will always hold a special place in the heart of our parish. May his memory be eternal! Fr. Jimmy and Dn. John were very close friends, and I find it a divine nod, that the association of his ministry continues here through Dn. John. So let’s also meet…

Deacon John Kavas

Deacon John Kavas, his wife Diakonissa Julie and their youngest son Joey join St. Anna’s after relocating from Colorado.  John and Julie have four children, ages 21-15, and live in Park City.  Deacon John graduated from Colorado State University and the University of Denver College of Law. 

He started his law practice in 2000 and joined Merlin International, a cybersecurity company in 2004 as its General Counsel.  The family moved to Boston in 2008 where he continued to work in that capacity while he pursued a Masters of Divinity from Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. 

After their four years in Boston, the family moved back to Denver where John was ordained as a Deacon.  He began his volunteer ministry at St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church in Greenwood Village, Colorado, and continued to help grow his company in a new role as its Vice President of Corporate Development. 

He left the company in 2019 and now works on various investment projects while serving as Vice Chair of the Intermountain Division Freestyle Committee of US Ski & Snowboard, and as a judge in mogul skiing. The family is so happy to be part of the St. Anna’s community!

New bells, new bishop, new deacon. These incredible blessings will open the door to the next phase of our construction as the exterior of the church, and the new storage building are nearly complete. Please look forward to the soon-to-be-shared announcements concerning Phase II of our construction – narthex, offices, bathrooms, and three of the five classrooms. 

Much Love in Christ,

Fr. Anthony Savas