Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion
His Excellency, Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion was the ruling bishop of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America serving as titular Metropolitan of Philomelion from 2002 until his repose on 6 October 2022. The Albanian Diocese is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In 1937, Ilia was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Albanian immigrants who had emigrated to the United States in 1920. During his youth, he attended the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George whose priest influenced his decision to become a priest. During this period he learned the Albanian and Greek languages as he completed his secondary education.
While choosing to serve the Albanian community, Ilia chose a theological education at the Holy Cross Theological Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts, that would also serve the Greek community. In 1961, he married Helen, with whom he had two children, Sotir Mark and Eugenia. Helen died in 2001.
After his graduation from Holy Cross in 1961, Ilia was ordained a priest and was assigned to the Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox Church in Boston, After serving at Holy Trinity until August 31, 1983, Fr. Ilia continued his education at Holy Cross Seminary where he received a Master of Divinity degree. He then accepted an assignment as Dean of Student Affairs at the Hellenic College and Holy Cross Seminary.
In 1988, he was assigned as priest of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, serving until 2002. During his service at St. John Church, Fr. Ilia was twice sent in 1992 to Albania by Patriarch Bartholomew to assist in the re-organization and re-building the Albanian Church that had almost been destroyed while the country was under communist rule. He also was involved in the construction of a new church, community center, and administration building for the community of St. John.
In 2002, Fr. Ilia was elected to the episcopate by the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople as Bishop of Philomelion to lead the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America. He was consecrated on May 12, 2002 in Istanbul, Turkey.
In 2004, Bishop Ilia was assigned by Patr. Bartholomew to the Church of Albania to Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, to serve as dean of the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy at St. Vlash Monastery near Durres, Albania. After serving as dean for three years, Bp. Ilia returned full-time to serve the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America.
Bp. Ilia also served some years as acting abbot of the Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, New York starting in December 2010.
In 2019 in recognition of his exceptional contributions to Orthodox theological formation, praxis, and ecumenical dialogue, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople elevated him to titular Metropolitan of Philomenion.
Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion
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