The Most Reverend Dr Nathaniel Popp, Archbishop
Archbishop Nathaniel fully embraced the Orthodox Faith in the Chapel of “The Nativity of the Birthgiver of God,” Vatra Românească, Grass Lake MI, in the presence of Archbishop VALERIAN on February 15, 1968. For several years, he resided in a small monastic community on the Vatra property until he was appointed rector of Holy Cross Church in Hermitage PA.
At the request of Archbishop VALERIAN for assistance in the administration of the expansive diocese, he was called to the Hierarchy by a Special Congress of The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate on September 20, 1980. He was named an Auxiliary Bishop for The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
He assisted the Archbishop in this capacity until 1984, when the latter retired and relocated to Portugal. On Sunday, November 17, 1984, Bishop NATHANIEL was enthroned at Saint George Cathedral as ruling Hierarch of The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. Since then, he has overseen the tremendous growth and expansion of the diocese (39 new missions/parishes, a monastic community for women and a monastic community for men), carefully maintaining the Romanian tradition and integrating the many “newcomers” into American society, while at the same time recognizing the importance of a united Orthodox witness in this land. He has remained at the forefront of the movement toward a united Autocephalous American Church.
His Eminence is the Episcopal Moderator for the Pastoral Life Ministries Unit of The Orthodox Church in America, Chairman of the V D Trifa Romanian American Heritage Center in Grass Lake MI, organizer of the “Help for Romania Fund” and co-founder of “Help the Children of Romania” in 1990, Chairman of the Congress of Romanian American (CORA) since 1991, President of the Board of The Center for Orthodox Christian Studies in Detroit, and Spiritual Advisor for the Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL).
In May 2003, His Eminence traveled to Romania where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Oradea in recognition of his leadership of the Romanian Orthodox community in North America and of humanitarian efforts in post-communist Romania. Under his direction, the ROEA came to the aid of their brothers and sisters in Romania immediately after the fall of communism, and continue until this day to petition for their rights. The ROEA Department of Christian Assistance facilitated the delivery of nearly 80 million USD in goods, services and cash to the needy of Romanian in the years immediately following the fall of communism. These are also times when the ROEA resumed a relationship with the Church of Romania, with His Eminence working for a greater understanding between the two groups.
He has been an active member of the Synod of Bishops of The Orthodox Church in America since his Consecration, and has represented the OCA in numerous events both in North America and Europe. On Wednesday, October 20, 1999, in its Fall Session, the Holy Synod bestowed upon His Grace the elevation to Archbishop.
His Eminence is also a painter of “icons on glass” (icoane pe sticla) in the Romanian peasant style and a collector of historical art and artifacts.
May our Lord and Savior continue to bless His Eminence, Archbishop NATHANIEL with good health, love and concern for his flock, and the vision of a greater Orthodox witness in North America.
Many Years, O Master! Intru Mulţi Ani, Stăpâne!