Gerasim (Eliel)

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Archimandrite Gerasim (Eliel) is the dean of St Seraphim's Cathedral, Dallas. He was formerly the abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, and was involved in bringing the monastery back into the Orthodox Church. On February 16, 2015, he was nominated to be the next bishop of the Diocese of the South (OCA).

Biographical sketch

  • 1961 July 16: Gordon Trent Eliel was born in Torrance, California, the second son (of three) to Lambert Frank Eliel (an economist) & Suzanne Jean Eliel (nee Butcher). Baptised at St. Cross Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach, raised on the Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and attended & was confirmed at St Francis Episcopal Church in Palos Verdes Estates. He was well-read and athletic.
  • 1969: Lambert and Suzanne separated, then divorced, with Gordon and his brothers living with Suzanne (who then became a teacher). The divorce affected Gordon in his upbringing and self-identity.
  • 1974-78: Gordon and his family began attending a Presbyterian church, where Gordon attended the youth group.
  • 1976: Suzanne remarried Robert Karbach. Though his stepfather was kind, but problems stemming from the divorce and with a blended family meant that Gordon desired a fresh start, and he moved to Irvine in January 1978 to live with his father. He made friends, but no close friends; he attended St George Episcopal Church, which was pleasant. He joined Young Life, which gave Christian fellowship with fellow high schoolers.
  • 1978 Winter: Young Life retreat prompted Gordon to think about prayer, and begin to comprehend Christ and the New Testament, which led him to attend church with hunger, attention and conviction.
  • 1979 Autumn: Began studies at University of California at Santa Cruz. Began involvement in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Originally intending to study Physics and Spanish literature, after his first year he began to focus more on Spanish literature.
  • Became a part of a Bible study led by James Paffhausen, which over time functioned like an Orthodox catechism class. Gordon was invited to services and became acquainted with the Orthodox Church. James encouraged Gordon to visit Episcopal churches (to learn about prayer and worship in a familiar environment), but found them insipid and uninspiring compared to Orthodox services.
  • 1980 January: Fr John Newcombe was assigned to be acting rector of the closest OCA parish to campus (St Nicholas Church in Saratoga). He welcomed the students warmly to his parish, and was a decisive influence on Gordon and his future decision to embrace monasticism. Fr John guided Gordon's catechism.
  • 1980: Gordon met Bp Mark (Schaviakin) of Ladoga in early 1980 at St Nicholas Cathedral (Moscow Patriarchate) - the same who had tonsured James Paffhausen a reader for Our Lady of Kazan Church, San Diego. He also was very welcoming, giving a way to enter the Church and teaching about the Church and monasticism (particularly his experience at Valaam monastery). On April 7, Gordon was received into the Church.

Succession box:
Gerasim (Eliel)
Preceded by:
Abbot Herman
Abbot of Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska, Platina
Succeeded by:
Abbot Hilarion
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