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Archimandrite Joachim Cotsonis Recommended for Elevation to the Episcopacy

The National Herald Archive

Archimandrite Joachim Cotsonis, who has been recommended for elevation to the Episcopacy. Photo: Holy Cross School of Theology

BOSTON – Archimandrite Joachim Cotsonis, Director of the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Learning Center of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology is anticipated to be elected Auxiliary Bishop to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at the upcoming meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the end of this month, shortly before the Thronal Feast of the Church of Constantinople of St. Andrew the Apostle.

In the official announcement of the first meeting of the Eparchial Synod in October under the presidency of Archbishop Elpidophoros, it was noted that among the issues discussed at the meeting the following was reported: “Following a proposal of the Archbishop for the purpose of electing an Auxiliary Bishop, formulated a three-person (triprosopon) candidacy list of clergy eligible for the elevation to the holy episcopacy based on the approved list of eligible candidates ratified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

The National Herald has learned among the candidates on the triprosopon – three-person ballot – that included Archimandrites Timothy Bakakos, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago and Constantine Moralis Dean of the Annunciation Cathedral of Baltimore Maryland, Archimandrite Cotsonis gathered the majority of the votes of the synodic members, thus being recommended to be elevated to Episcopacy.

It is noted here that the recommendation for Fr. Joachim’s elevation to Episcopacy came as a total surprise among the clergy and especially the celibate priests.

The same sources told TNH that Fr. Joachim, after his ordination to Bishop will continue to live in Boston and maintain his current position as director of the Library and Learning Center, but Archbishop Elpidophoros will also assign him to various ecclesiastical missions and representations.

Fr. Joachim is a learned priest who was working quietly at the School’s library, which he organized in a systematic way. He was known to be always willing and available in helping students with their studies and theological research.

He was born on 7 June 1954, in Athens, Greece from parents Alexander and Demetra Cotsonis, both deceased. His baptismal name was John. From the age of two he grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC and was raised in Saint Sophia Cathedral, where he attended Sunday School and was an altar boy. His father was a first cousin of His Beatitude, late Archbishop Ieronymos I of Athens of blessed memory. He is also a cousin of the late Metropolitan Nicholas, of Phthiotis (Lamia) of blessed memory. As an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland-he was a member of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF).

He was Ordained to the Diaconate on December 9, 1979 at Saint Sophia Cathedral and to the Holy Priesthood on December 23, 1979 at the Transfiguration of Christ Church, Corona, NY and was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite on May 16, 1998 at Holy Cross Chapel in Brookline, MA.

He served in 1980 as Assistant Priest at Transfiguration of Christ Church, Corona, NY and as Priest 1981-1982 at the Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, Clarksburg, WV. From 1982-1990 he was the Priest at the Holy Trinity of Altoona, PA Mission Church.

He completed his MA and Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University; during that time he also served as one of the priests for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) for the Pennsylvania State University campus.

Fr. Joachim is one of two leading scholars in North America on the religious imagery of Byzantine lead seals. The seals are the richest body of evidence for the iconography of the saintly figures and their cult in Byzantium, and key documents for the study of both orthodox piety and the political use of religious art. Beyond numerous articles on these matters, he is the author of a book, Byzantine Figural Processional Crosses, which is now regarded as the standard work on the subject.

Before coming to Holy Cross, Fr. Joachim was an Assistant Bibliographer and Museum Exhibition Associate at Dumbarton Oaks Library, Harvard Center for Byzantine Studies. Over the years, he has served on the Governing Board, Program Committee, and the Local Arrangements Committee of the Annual Byzantine Studies Conference and was a Voted Member of the U.S. National Committee for Byzantine Studies. In April of 2007, he received the Alumni Award from the Department of Art History of Pennsylvania State University. Fr. Joachim also participated as an iconographic consultant in the 2nd and 3rd International Sigillographic Workshops for the Digital Cataloguing of Byzantine Lead Seals (SigiDoc Workshop) held at Dumbarton Oaks in December 2010 and July 2011, respectively. In July of 2015 and July of 2016, he was invited to spend time at Dumbarton Oaks as a research consultant in order to focus on the group of their ‘iconographic’ seals for the ongoing project of the online Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Lead Seals database.