His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael (Symeonides) of Chicago is of Pontic and Asia-Minor ancestry, and was born in Thessaloniki, Greece (1978). He is the third child of Irene and Vasilios Symeonides. He received his early education from the Greek American Institute of the Zoodochos Peghe Parish of the Bronx, NY. He later graduated from Hellenic College (BA, 2000) and from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (MDiv, 2003). He earned an STM (2003) in Christian Ethics and a ThD (2007) in Bioethics from Boston University. Fr. Nathanael has also studied the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
He has served as a guest professor of Orthodox Christian Ethics and Bioethics at Fordham University, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and Saint Vladimir Theological School. He has authored numerous articles in theology and bioethics. He has delivered a series of presentations to clergy of the Archdiocese and to regional pan-Orthodox clergy associations.
Metropolitan Nathanael is a brother of the historic monastery of St. George Epanosifis in Crete, Greece. He was ordained a deacon (2003) and a presbyter (2010) by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. Prior to his ordination to the episcopacy, His Eminence served as the Deacon to Metropolitan Methodios (2003-2006); Deacon to the Archbishop (2006-2010); presiding priest of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, NYC (2010-2013), and interim-pastor of the Holy Resurrection Church of Brookville, NY and the Saints Constantine and Helen Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY. As a parish priest in Manhattan, Metropolitan Nathanael developed a unique urban ministry, Orthodox Professionals in Action (OPA), which provided over 400 young professionals the opportunity to minister to the most vulnerable in society.
From September 2013-March 2018, His Eminence served as the Director of the Office of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In this capacity, he managed and cultivated relationships between the Archdiocese and numerous religious organizations, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and Permanent Missions to the United Nations. He also served as Director of the Archdiocesan Committee on Science and Technology (AACST).
His Eminence coordinated the Archdiocesan commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Selma (2015), and represented the Archdiocese on the National Council of Churches (NCC) Special Task Force to End Racism in America. He serves as a member of a special non-partisan and interreligious working group in Washington, D.C., which seeks to advance religious freedom and pluralism in the Middle East. He is also a member of Tanenbaum’s Communications Committee. During his tenure at the Archdiocese, Metropolitan Nathanael also served as the Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA and on the Assembly’s Secretariat. His Eminence also established a Graduate Fellowship Program that provided graduate and post-graduate students the opportunity to serve the Church at the United Nations.
In 2016, Metropolitan Nathanael attended the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church and assisted the press office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On February 7, 2018, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously elected him Metropolitan of Chicago, succeeding His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of blessed-memory. He was ordained a Bishop on March 17th in the Holy Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, New York, and was enthroned on March 24th in the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation, Chicago