He started his spiritual career by attending Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts. He graduated from Hellenic College in 1971 with a B.A.in Greek Classics and Pre-Theology. In 1974 he attended the Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts and received a Masters of Divinity degree. During the years of 1974-75, Father Jim was a lay assistant in Kimisis Theotokou in Brooklyn, where he assisted V.Rev. Father Evdokimos Kokkinakis with English talks and taught Greek and Religion to the children of the day school.
On January 15, 1974 he met the love of his life, Terry Litsas, who at the time was working in the Archdiocese for Mr. Villas in the Department of Laity. Presvytera Terry is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Litsas of Astoria, New York. A year later, they were married in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan, New York.
A few months later, on the 2nd of November 1975, Father Jim was ordained a deacon by Metropolitan Ezekiel of Pisidia at Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. Three weeks later, on November 23,1975,he was ordained a priest by the late Metropolitan Silas of New Jersey at Transfiguration of Christ church in Corona, New York. Transfiguration of Christ in Corona was Father’s first assignment and he served as an assistant priest to the late Father Evmenios Tselentakis. He and Presvytera Terry started their family with the birth of their daughter, Kathryn Emily on October 18, 1976.
On July 1, 1977, Father Jim was transferred to the parish of Holy Cross in Whitestone, New York. Father Jim was then transferred to St. John the Divine in “Almost Heaven”, Wheeling, West Viriginia, where they stayed for six years, (1978-1984). In that wonderful parish, Father started the first Greek festival in the church which today has continued and raises great revenues! Father also taught Modern Greek Language at West Virginia Northern Community College. On September 15, 1981, Father and Presvytera Terry were blessed with twin boys, Nicholas and Steven. Father Jim and Presvytera Terry have wonderful memories of living in the liitle town of Wheeling and all the wonderful people they met there!
On January 1, 1985, Father Jim accepted an assignment in St. George Greek Orthodox Church, in Trenton, New Jersey. That was Presvytera Terry’s hometown parish! Father serviced over 600 families in that church and helped raise many funds so that the new community center was built. Father Jim was also instrumental with others in paying off the church’s mortgage! Also, during that time Father had taken Parish Administration Courses at the Philadelphia College of Bible.
In June of 1996, Father Jim accepted an assignment at St. Nicholas Shrine Church in West Babylon, New York. During the time he was in West Babylon, Father managed together with many key people of the parish, to pay off the church mortgage and lead the people in embellishment of the church by installing icons, pews, etc. Father Jim was instrumental in raising funds to help revive the church that almost went bankrupt! Father was also Director of Inter-Goya for seven years. During this time, he was instrumental in establishing the volleyball games, religious retreats and GOYA church dances and ski trips between the churches in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Besides all of the above, Father Jim was the Principal and instructor of the sixth grade in the Greek School program for eleven years!
On November 1, 2008 Father was transferred to our beloved Church of the Assumption, here in Port Jefferson, New York. During the short time he has been here, Father has managed to move ‘mountains’ in helping to complete the new church and bring the people back to church. Father Jim is very energetic and can be found climbing ladders(he climbed up to the top of the dome to see the newly painted Pantokratora with the photographer for Newsday), raising money for the church, performing baptisms, marriages, funerals, chrismations, hosting Bible Study, counseling Goyans, recruiting new parishioners in the community.
He has opened his heart to us all without question or hesitation. He is usually seen with a smile and calm demeanor, with Presvytera Terry at his side. Over the years, Presvytera Terry has assisted her husband in his mission, by assisting with the youth, such as GOYA and YAL, by teaching and coordinating Sunday School, helping in the Choir, the Philoptochos, and more important, any committee that needs assistance. More recently, they have started a Cultural and Educational committee in Port Jefferson for the community to encourage more participation in parish life. Many special events are planned this year! Their daughter, Kathryn, was married to John Rengepis in 2006 and have two beautiful children, Zoe and James. Their son Nicholas has started a successful business, lilawnsprinklers.com and Steven’s interests have him working in physical therapy. Just because they are twins, they followed two different roads in life! Father Jim and Presvytera want to thank all of the wonderful parishioners and friends they have met in the different parishes they served for being good friends and supporters and have welcomed them into their lives!