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Orthodox Church in America gets new Midwest leader

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Orthodox Church in America gets new Midwest leader

The bishop-elect will oversee the restoration of Holy Trinity Cathedral.

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The new bishop-elect for the Orthodox Church in America is expected in Chicago today.

Father Matthias Moriak will oversee the Diocese of the Midwest that’s based here and covers 11 states and 75 parishes. The bishop-elect says part of his challenge will be getting to know clergy and church members in such a big area.

Continuing the church’s work in this tough economy is another challenge:

“Many parishes are finding it difficult to pay the bills and just to do the natural things that a lot of families are struggling with, and the church is no different,” Bishop-elect Moriak said.

Father Moriak, who’s a widower with children, said his family background will help him relate to clergy and congregation members.

He hopes to grow the church and raise money for scholarships to assist future priests. He spent 10 years doing missionary work in Guatemala, and he said that experience will aid new parishes starting in the diocese.

He’ll also help oversee renovations at Holy Trinity Cathedral, which was designed by architect Louis Sullivan and is home to the city’s oldest Orthodox parish. Tsar Nicholas contributed to the building fund for the cathedral located in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

Father Moriak recently started serving as administrator for the diocese. He’ll be formally consecrated as bishop at the end of April.

He’ll replace Archbishop Job, who died in December of 2009. News reports say Archbishop Job gained national prominence after calling for an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement and corruption by some U.S. church leaders. That led to the resignation of several officials.

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