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Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen)

Dogmatic Theology (C.T.S.)

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a German American family and raised Episcopalian in the San Diego, California, area. I studied anthropology as an undergraduate and found Orthodoxy in my second year of college. Subsequently I went to St Vladimir’s Seminary for two Master’s degrees, with some cross registration at Fordham University. Later I enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, but cut short that program to go to Russia.

I became a Novice at Valaam Monastery, and then returned to the States and was ordained in 1994. For many years I oversaw the Late Vocations diaconal training program in the OCA Diocese of the West. In 1996, I established the Monastery of St John of San Francisco, in Pt Reyes Station, California, which moved later to Manton, California. There I served as spiritual father and abbot.

In 2008 I was elected Bishop of Ft. Worth, Texas, for the Orthodox Church in America and spent eleven days as Auxiliary Bishop in Texas before my election as Metropolitan (Primate) of the Orthodox Church in America. Among other duties, that included President of both St Vladimir’s and St Tikhon’s Theological Seminaries. In 2012, I stepped down from that position. I transferred to the Russian Church Abroad in 2015 and have concentrated on teaching and preaching at St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC, and St Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Stafford, Virginia.

I have also been teaching Dogmatics and Catechetics for the online Pastoral School of ROCOR’s Chicago and Midwest Diocese and Dogmatics for the Certificate of Theological Studies program of Holy Trinity Seminary.

Educational Background

  • B.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1981
  • M.Div., St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1985
  • M.Th., Dogmatics, St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1988
  • Honorary D.D., Nashotah House Theological Seminary, 2010

Teaching Interests

  • Liturgical Theology
  • Mission Planting and Outreach
  • Dogmatic Theology
  • Orthodox Theology of the Sacraments
  • Catechetics / Apologetics

Current Projects and Research Interests

My main current interest is the formation of a program to assist clergy formed in Western traditions to transition to the Orthodox Church and priesthood. This includes dogmatic, liturgical and spiritual formation. A main research interest is the socio-cultural effects of socialist ideology on Western culture. A main current project is the publication of a book on monasticism in 21st Century American Orthodoxy.

Recent Courses

  • THEO-451-551 Dogmatic Theology Certificate

Selected Publications

  • Reflections on a Spiritual Journey. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011
  • Divine Ascent, A Journal of Orthodox Faith. Editor 1997-2008. Pt Reyes Station, CA: Divine Ascent Press.
  • Multiple articles in assorted publications, and introductions to books from Conciliar Press, Ben Lomond, CA
  • Contemporary Monasticism: Why Join a Monastery?” in McGuckin, J.A., editor. Orthodox Monasticism Past and Present. Sophia Studies in Orthodox Theology, vol. 8. New York: Theotokos Press—The Sophia Institute, 2014.

Recent Presentations and Activities

I am a member of the Society of Orthodox Philosophers in America, meeting annually in Kendalia, Texas.
Recent presentations have been at Diocesan conferences of ROCOR in New Jersey and Australia, and at Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville; as well as local talks and retreats.


Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
PO Box 36; Jordanville, NY 13361
1407 Robinson Road, Jordanville, NY 13361

315-858-0945 (Phone)
315-409-1422 (Fax)