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Orthodox Institute 2012 Presenter Biographies


Dr. Peter Bouteneff

Dr. Peter Bouteneff teaches courses in ancient and modern theology and spirituality at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, where he is Associate Professor (tenured) in Systematic Theology and Director of Institutional Assessment. After taking a degree in music in 1983 he lived and worked in Japan, and traveled widely in Asia and Greece. He has an M.Div. from St. Vladimir’s Seminary and a doctorate from Oxford University, where he studied under Bishop Kallistos Ware​. He has worked for many years in theological dialogue, notably as Executive Secretary for Faith and Order at the World Council of Churches, and has written extensively on Orthodox relations with other churches. He has broad interests in theology ancient and modern, but as a great fan of music and cinema he is also committed to exploring the connections between theology and popular culture, and regularly offers a course on religious themes in film. He conceived of and edits the popular "Foundations" series for SVS Press, to which he has contributed a volume on "dogma and truth" called Sweeter than Honey. His latest book is Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives, published by Baker Academic Press. He speaks English, Russian, French, and some Japanese.

Irene Cassis

Irene Cassis has a Bachelors of Art degree in Religious Education from the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas. In working towards a Masters Degree, she has fifteen additional hours in Youth Ministry. Irene has taught Sunday School and was a youth advisor from the age of 19. She held the staff position as lay Youth Minister for two years at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Houston, TX, before becoming Director of Religious Education at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. She supervises the Sunday School program, Vacation Bible School, Adult Religious Education and she is the facilitator for two, ten-week sessions a year, on “Introduction to Orthodoxy” to converts and Orthodox who wish to learn more about their faith. Irene is also responsible for Sunday School training seminars and has been a presenter at metropolis and archdiocese groups. Irene was one of the developers of the 1st Unit of the 9th Grade Cana Curriculum that was published September 2005. This is the first High School curriculum published by the Greek Archdiocese Department of Religious Education. In 2000, Irene Cassis was appointed the Coordinator of Religious Education for the Metropolis of Denver.

Dr. Vigen Guroian

Dr. Vigen Guroian is an Orthodox Christian theologian and teacher. He has been a member of the faculty of a number of colleges and universities including Loyola College of Baltimore, University of Virginia, and St. Mary's Seminary and University. He is an author of a number of books, many on morality and ethics based on Orthodox Christian teachings. He has served on many editorial boards. In 1966, Vigen Guroian began his college education at the University of Virginia, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He then continued his education at Drew University, graduating in 1978 with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theology. From 1978 to 1981, Dr. Guroian was an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Virginia and held a post in the Center for Russian and East European Studies.

Dr. Guroian has also been a visiting lecturer at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, New York. During the years 1990 to 1992, he was the Director of Academic Affairs at the seminary. He was also appointed a member of the Academic Council of Examiners of the Faculty of Theology at Yerevan State University in Yerevan, Armenia.

In 1986, Dr. Guroian joined the faculty of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore Maryland, where for the academic year 1995-1996 he was named the Distingished Lecturer in Moral and Religious Education. He also assumed the chair for many years as Professor of Theology and Ethics at Loyola College in Baltimore. In 2009, Dr. Guroian was appointed Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Philip Mamalakis

Dr. Philip Mamalakis, with his wife Georgia and seven children, live in Boston, Massachusetts where he is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Dr. Mamalakis coordinates the Field Education program and teaches classes on pastoral care, pastoral counseling, and topics related to marriage, family life, and pastoral counseling. He has a private counseling practice in Newton, Massachusetts where he works with Orthodox individuals, couples, and families. Dr. Mamalakis has an M.Div. from Holy Cross and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in child development and family studies, specializing in marriage and family therapy. He has recently completed a marriage preparation program for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, The Journey of Marriage in the Orthodox Church, in collaboration with Fr. Charles Joanides. He has written numerous articles and book chapters on various issues related to Orthodoxy and marriage, parenting, family life, and contemporary mental health and is currently working on an Orthodox parenting book. He offers seminars, retreats, and lectures on marriage, family life, and parenting in the Orthodox Church.

Fr. Joseph Purpura

The Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, Fr. Joseph Purpura has been training adult youth directors since the late 1980s for the North American Archdiocese of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, creating and implementing youth training programs across the United States and Canada.

Fr. Joseph has held numerous appointments over the past 34 years, including: Chairman of the Pastoral Advisory Council of St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport, CT, Chairman of the Francis Maria Foundation for Justice and Peace, Director of Campus Ministry, and Antiochian Village Camp Director. Currently Fr. Joseph serves as the Facilitator for the Assembly of Bishops Committee for Youth, working under the Committee for Youth Chairman Bishop Thomas.

Fr. Joseph began developing future Church leaders as founder and creator of the SOYO Leadership Training program, now in its fifth year, and has been a Spiritual Advisor for the North American Council of SOYO, the New England Region SOYO and the Eastern Region SOYO. He currently serves as Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, where he organizes and manages a number of ministries for the teens across North America, as well as directly overseeing the North American and Diocesan Youth Directors, Spiritual Advisors and Teen leaders of SOYO. Fr Joseph has been a repeated guest speaker at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, repeated guest speaker for Holy Cross Orthodox Theological School, and keynote speaker at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary as well as for various other conferences, organizations, banquets and events. Fr. Joseph’s most requested topics are: Moral and Ethical Issues among Christian Youth, Family Issues and Youth Development, Youth Church Leadership Development, Christian Time Management, and Christian Youth Director Training.

Fr. Joseph earned a BA in Philosophy from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY while living and studying at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. He holds a Master of Divinity from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY and a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University School of Divinity with a concentration in Ministering to the Bereaved. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological School with a concentration in Youth Training. His Doctoral Project is titled, “Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth across North America.”

He holds the rank of Archpriest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. He served as pastor of St. George Church in South Glens Falls, New York, St. Nicholas Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, Massachusetts. He has been serving the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries since July 1989. In addition, he is a Youth Ministry Consultant for other Christian jurisdictions and denominations. Married to Kathleen (Nackel) Purpura since 1976, the couple has four children.

Publications include:

  • “The Evening Divine Liturgy,” St. Vladimir’s Seminary
  • “Ministering to the Bereaved,” Yale University
  • “Moral and Ethical Issues Confronting Orthodox Youth,” Pittsburgh Theological and Authorhouse
  • Quarterly Youth Ministry section of The WORD magazine for several years
  • Numerous articles concerning family and youth issues published on
  • “SOYO Leadership Manual” An annual Leadership manual for Teen leaders
  • Two teen music CDs “Antiochian Village Camp Music CD” and “Sing Praises: teen SOYO Music CD”

Fr. Daniel Rogich

Rev. Daniel M. Rogich is the parish priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, in Canton, Ohio. A graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, he obtained his Doctorate in Theology from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. A clergyman for twenty-five years, Fr Rogich has authored five books, and numerous articles on spirituality, christology, and hagiography. A translator of Greek texts, particularly those of St. Gregory Palamas, e.g., Treatise on the Spiritual Life, as well as the author of Becoming Uncreated: The Journey to Human Authenticity, he has taught at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, St Sava Serbian Seminary (Chicago), as well as currently teaching at Walsh University, Canton, Ohio. His wife, Dr. Maria Pappas-Rogich, professor of Gerontology and Public Health at Walsh University, are the parents of two adult children, Anastasia and Nikolai Rogich.

Kh. Janet Shadid

"I am a licensed social worker and am currently working in two venues. Primarily, I work in the Psychiatric Unit at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, PA. I do mostly family therapy on the Child & Adolescent Unit, and in the Adult and Geriatric Inpatient Units, I do group, individual and family therapy. Secondly, I am also an outpatient therapist at Westmont Family Counseling Ministries, a counseling center which provides professional counseling based on Christian values of caring and compassion, where I do individual, family, couples and group counseling. My youngest client is 6 years old and my oldest is 84 years old.

"I live in Johnstown, PA, about 25 minutes away from the Antiochian Village and each summer I help out at the camp, assisting with the staff training and providing counseling services 1 to 3 times a week for the campers, staff and volunteers. The Village is a special place to me for many reasons, especially because that is where I met my husband, Fr. Don Shadid, in 1982 when we were both counselors. Our two sons, Christopher and Stephen have been going there for the past 15 years as campers, counselors and staff. Christopher is finishing his last year at Holy Cross Seminary in Boston, MA, where I grew up, and Stephen is in his 5th year of Pharmacy School at Duquesne University. I have been married to Fr. Don for 27 years and have been at St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA for 26 years. I have always been active in the life of the Church, especially with the youth … e.g. teaching church school since I was 14 years old and serving within Teen SOYO as a teen and adult. Indeed, one of my greatest honors was being appointed by our hierarchy to serve as the Teen SOYO Youth Director for the Dioceses of Charleston, Oakland & the Mid-Atlantic and New York & Washington, D.C. His Grace, Bishop John (Abdalah) is my brother and he was a great influence on my life as I grew up. I was a middle school teacher … B.C. … (Before Children!) and a stay-at-home mom until my kids were well established in school. It was then that I attained my Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh."

Julia Shaheen

Julia Shaheen is an active member of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio where she has been the co-advisor of the Teen SOYO for three years as well as a Kindergarten/First Grade Sunday School teacher for 12 years. She works full-time as a Youth Services Library Specialist at the Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio creating programs geared toward teens and children. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and will complete her Master of Arts in Education in the Fall 2012.




Fr. David Subu

Rev. Fr. David G. Subu grew up in Troy, MI, a suburb of Detroit. He received a Bachelor of Arts (1993) and a Master of Arts (1997) in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. His graduate research and thesis focused on the Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery in Rives Junction, MI, which opened his heart and compelled him to follow his calling in seminary. He completed his theological studies at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA, and received a Master of Divinity degree (2000). During his seminary years he served a two-year internship with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Orthodox Church of America.

In 2000 he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Nathaniel (Popp) of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America at his family’s home parish of Ss. Peter and Paul in Dearborn Hts., MI. He was then assigned to the parish of Holy Cross in Hermitage, PA where he served joyfully until the end of 2005. In 2006, a new chapter of his family’s life began as they moved to Northern Virginia for Father’s new assignment at The Protection of the Holy Mother of God Parish (a.ka. St. Mary) in Falls Church.

Fr. David continues to be involved in ministry to young people on a diocesan and national level. He has co-authored the on-line OCF Starter Kit with Rev. Fr. Michael Anderson, as well as a number of articles in The Orthodox Church news magazine, youth ministry programs for The Hub, and two articles with Fr. Benjamin Tucci in the OCA Resource Handbook, and articles in The Orthodox Church and Solia. He also has participated in mission trips to Project Mexico and Hogar Raphael Ayau (Guatemala) and Romania with Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s Real Break and National AROY. Fr. David was the Principle Writer on such Study Units as “And the Two Shall Become One: A Teenage Study-unit on Sex, Sexuality and the Sacrament of Marriage” and “Matters of Life and Death” and “The Case for Christ” (a study of Lee Strobel’s popular apologetical work), and the Teen retreat “Walk On,” all of which are available at The Hub on

In 1997, David Subu married the love of his life, Preoteasa Stephanie. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art Teaching from Western Michigan University, minoring in Art History and Comparative Religion. They have been blessed with three children.

Niko Tzetzis

Niko Tzetzis grew up in Syracuse, New York in the large but tight knit Orthodox community at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church. Immediately after finishing his B.A. in Political Science at Binghamton University, Niko moved up to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology to study as a Seminarian from the Detroit Metropolis. He is in his final year of studies at Holy Cross. While he is often found carrying his camera around campus as one of the school's photographers, he can also be found at the chant stand and working for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministries working on OrthodoxJobs as a student web designer. His work in photography and web design has earned him the role of "resident tech geek" at Holy Cross. Most importantly, he was married this past September to his beautiful wife and Hellenic College student Ivey. The two of them live together in student housing at Holy Cross.