His Eminence, Bishop John (Egan)
of Colorado Springs and Southern America
Bishop John was born in 1971 in Concord, New Hampshire. A rudimentary introduction to the teachings of the New Testament finally found their fulfillment in his life when his family discovered the Orthodox Church when Bishop John was fifteen years of age. After two years of catechetical instruction in the ecumenical “Orthodox Church of America”, the entire family of nine persons realized that the true teachings of Orthodoxy lay elsewhere, which they found at that time in the Russian Church Abroad.
Very early on in his exposure to Orthodoxy, Bishop John took an interest in the monastic way of life. When his family was received into the Russian Church Abroad, the parish priest provided the young man with literature about the monastic life, and even gave him an opportunity to visit a monastery of the Russian Church Abroad. After a second visit to this skete, Bishop John was moved by divine mercy to promise his life to the Virgin Mary through the monastic path.
After graduating from William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Bishop John received the blessing of his spiritual father, now Archbishop Gregory, to attend Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, New York. Bishop John completed one and a half years of study at the Seminary, participating actively in the monastery’s daily life in every aspect. However, when the time came to fulfill his promise of monasticism, he choose to settle at Dormition Skete in Colorado, with the blessing of the then Archbishop Laurus.
Bishop John fulfilled the canonical requirement of maintaining monastic obedience for three years at Dormition Skete before being tonsured into the Great Schema on January 8th, 1995, the Synaxis of the Theotokos, at age 24. Four years later he was ordained to the diaconate by kyr Metropolitan Kallinikos of Thavmakou and Lamia, President of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece. Two years later in 2001, on the Feast of the Protection of the Virgin Mary, he was ordained to the holy priesthood by Metropolitan Valentine, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church. At that time he was also nominated as a candidate for the episcopacy.
Bishop John has spent fifteen years at Dormition Skete and is an accomplished iconographer.
In 2008, he was again nominated to the episcopacy and elected and consecrated as Vicar Bishop to Archbishop Gregory for the city of Colorado Springs.
In 2009 he was made ruling Bishop of Colorado Springs and the Southern United States.
The Acceptance Speech
of Bishop John
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
To find the words appropriate for this day of momentous import is indeed difficult. Let us first begin by offering glorification and thanks to God for His merciful loving-kindness and protection, and secondly to our most holy, Lady Theotokos, who is never remiss in her intercession on our behalf.
Of all the many duties that are imposed upon a hierarch, perhaps the most important is that he bequeath to the generation coming after him the sacred treasury of the Faith, that he pass on the gift that was given him by God, to one able to accomplish the same task. Today, our hierarchs, our fathers and teachers, Archbishop Gregory and Archbishop Ambrose, have fulfilled their sacred trust. They have passed on to the generation coming after them that gift of grace which God bestowed upon them through the laying on of hands. Our heart quivers at the responsibility that has been placed in our hands, for perhaps one day, God will also require us to pass on what we have received. When we have done all that was commanded us, our Lord instructs to think humbly of ourselves, to consider that we had only done that which was our duty to do. Nevertheless, we cannot decline to offer our profound thanks to Archbishop Gregory and Archbishop Ambrose, for having! done the works they were appointed to.
My life as a monastic began over fifteen years ago this day, as you all know, here at Dormition Skete. I count not the time beforehand as a time to be considered, for the only life worth living is the life of repentance. I have known my spiritual father since the tender age of seventeen, and have observed his manner of life day by day, as few people have had the opportunity so to do. Of all the lessons God has shown me through Archbishop Gregory’s life, I believe the most important at this moment is the lesson self-sacrificing love. Our Lord Jesus Christ came not to be served, but to serve, to give His life as a ransom for many. He told us that the one who would be first among us, must be the servant of all. Therefore, I rejoice that God has appointed me to be your servant. I rejoice that our Savior has found me worthy to become the slave of His chosen flock. I rejoice that God has called me to follow the path of our hierarchs, the path of self-! sacrificing love.
During the preceding days I have tasted some of the most joyous moments of my life, as I beheld the joy of so many faithful servants and handmaidens of Christ at the news of my elevation. This joy will remain with me for the rest of my life; it will be a staff of strength to me, sustaining me beyond the lifetime of those who showed this love.
There have been a few key moments in my life when I understood the will of God very clearly. However, the manner in which God’s will was accomplished at these times has rarely been through the means expected. At the age of nineteen, I left my family and parish church of the Holy New Martyrs of Russia in Colorado Springs for a seminary education at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York, with the intent to return to serve my family in that parish. Seventeen years have passed since that decision; that desire is now being fulfilled, not as I planned, but in a manner that could never have been expected, in the manner that God willed, for the flock has expanded far beyond that family I once left behind in my pursuit of monasticism.
God shepherds His sheep through the episcopacy. God commands His presbytery to feed His little lambs. God appoints His bishops to nourish His flock on the green pastures of the dogmas of Orthodoxy. A bishop is not a private individual, entitled to a personal opinion, a personal interpretation. His mind must be the mind of the Church; his life must be the life of the Church. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, illumining the darkness of night, so also Christ commands His hierarchs to be pure mirrors of Himself, a clear reflection of the divine rays emanating from our Savior Himself.
An angel is a light for a monk; a monk is a light for those living in the world. But for those outside the sacred fold of the Church, the faithful are set as a light, and their bishop stands in their midst. Where the bishop is, there is the Church, said St. Ignatios of Antioch; where the faithful are, so there must the bishop be.
I wish to make mention of and give thanks for the care and labor of a select few persons in addition to my spiritual father, those instruments whom God used to rescue me out the nets of the fallen world. First, I must make mention of my father and mother, through whose help my family came to the Church, and who graciously brought me to Dormition Skete. I must also render thanks to my grandfather, James Patrick Egan and my grandmother, Mary Egan, for the moral foundations they helped implant in my soul, and the love and care they have continued to show me till this present day. Two further individuals that perhaps were unaware of the positive impact on my life they had that I wish to make mention of, one of whom is with us in the Spirit, and another who is with us here today: the late Mr. George Lizardos, and Richard George. Finally, I offer my sincere thanks to Abbess Mariam, who has become a second mother to me, after the Theotokos.
I thank all those who made the great sacrifice to travel here for this consecration, and with love remember the many precious souls who were not able to come, but who are indeed with us in the Holy Spirit.
Many years ago, God planted a tree in the midst of stony ground, on the side of a mountain, as a refuge where the weary would find rest. He sent His servant to cultivate that earth, to cultivate that earth with care, to water that earth with his tears, to nurture that tree with his own blood. And in the course of time, according to the will of God, the tree put down roots and grew. And then the beasts of the wild wilderness came and rested beneath the tree, and the birds of the air came and found shelter in its branches, and from it, a beautiful river poured forth and gave life to many nations and peoples. Brethren, today that fountain of grace has opened its cataracts, and already the force of its waters is being heard in far away places. This monastery is that tree planted by God, and that river is the grace of the episcopacy.
May God bless you all and keep always in His grace. Amen.
Your servant in Christ,
+ Bishop John of Colorado Springs