Biographical Note of Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh
Nov 4, 2011
Metropolitan Savas (Zembillas) of Pittsburgh is a native of Gary, Indiana, the second of six children of Steve and Stamatia (Georgiades) Zembillas of Kalymnian and Cypriot ancestry. He is a graduate of Andrean High School, Gary, Indiana (1975), Colby College, Waterville, Maine (1979, BA in Philosophy and English Literature) and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts (1984, M.Div. with highest honors). He served as the pastoral assistant at Holy Trinity/St. Nicholas in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1985-87 before resuming his academic studies at Oxford University, England, from 1987 until 1994, under the supervision of then Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, researching texts and persons of spiritual significance for the history of early Byzantine monasticism. While at Oxford, he served for two years as the assistant to the director of the St. Theosevia Centre for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and for three years as warden (director) of the House of St. Gregory and St. Macrina, a house of residence for students and a center for retreats and conferences affiliated with the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius.
He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on November 21, 1992, the Feast of the Entry into the Temple of the Theotokos, and on January 8, 1995, to the Holy Priesthood, on both occasions by the then Bishop Iakovos of Chicago, at his home parish of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Merrillville, Indiana. During a two-year interim between ordinations, he served as Deacon to Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia. Upon his return to the United States, in September 1995, he was appointed as Proistamenos of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite on November 12, 1996, the Feast of St. Gregory Palamas, by the then Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, the locum tenens of the Detroit Diocese, at St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in Hayesville, Ohio. In September 1997, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon of America assigned Archimandrite Savas to the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrios in Merrick, Long Island.
In December 1999, the newly-enthroned Archbishop Demetrios of America appointed his former student Savas Chancellor of the Archdiocese, a position he held for ten years.
On December 11, 2001, he was elected an Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Demetrios by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and given the title “Bishop of Troas.” On February 2, 2002, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, he was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy by Archbishop Demetrios of America, Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, and several hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan.
Bishop Savas served as the Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America until 2009, when he was named Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Church, Society and Culture. As an active presence on the Internet, he has been in the vanguard of engaging issues of contemporary societal and cultural realities from an Orthodox Christian perspective. He has led numerous Young Adult Pilgrimages and accompanied many Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) “Real Break” teams to Constantinople and the Holy Land. He is the hierarchical representative to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, in which capacity he has accompanied mission teams to Turkana in Kenya and Tanzania. He is also the Chairman of the Assembly’s Committee for Church and Society. He further serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary as well as being an Adjunct Professor of Dogmatic Theology, teaching courses on topics such as “Looking for God in Popular Culture.” He has been an instructor at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Diaconate Program and served on the board of Saint Basil Academy.
On November 3, 2011, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople elected him to succeed the retired Metropolitan Maximos as Metropolitan of Pittsburgh.