Metropolitan Jonah graduated from St Vladimir's Seminary, spent several years in Russia and at Valaam monastery, then returned to the United States. After his tonsure as a monk and ordination to the priesthood, he cared for several small parishes, and was given a blessing to found a monastery in California. The monastery grew, and needed to find a new site to continue to grow. After the move, as before, the monastery saw a constant stream of pilgrims seeking spiritual guidance. It was also becoming known for its publications. Much seemed to depend on Abbot Jonah's vision.
In the midst of all this, the Diocese of the South needed an auxiliary bishop, and the choice fell on Abbot Jonah, who became Bishop of Fort Worth. Just days afterward, the 15th All American Council met in Pittsburgh, at a critical time for the OCA, and amid much turmoil. The Metropolitan See was vacant, and a new Metropolitan had to be elected. One evening, Bishop Jonah addressed a restive audience about the situation in the church, and as he spoke, the mood changed. And the next morning, the newly ordained Bishop Jonah was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.
"A miracle had somehow quietly taken place. The last had indeed become the first. The abbot of that struggling monastery was elected by the hierarchs, clergy and faithful who had gathered in Pittsburgh to be the Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada. His Beatitude's words inspired the Council on that October night and this book presents a few of his thoughts and writings. May they be a blessing to the reader."
-Bishop Benjamin, from the Foreword
The Orthodox Christian Profiles Series acquaints the reader on an intimate level with Orthodox figures that have shaped the direction of the Orthodox Church in areas of mission, ascetical and liturgical theology, scholarly and pastoral endeavors, and various other professional disciplines. The people featured in the series are mostly our contemporaries and most remain active in shaping the life of the Church today. A few will have fallen asleep in the Lord, but their influence remains strong and worthy of historical record. The mission of this series is to introduce inspirational Orthodox Christian leaders in various ministries and callings that build up the Body of Christ.
-Chad Hatfield, Series Editor