Our Clergy 

The Very Rev. Protopresbyter Nicholas G. Bacalis
Dean of the Cathedral

Office: (804) 355-3687
Email: office@vagocathedral.org

Fr. Bacalis was born in Norfolk, Virginia, to Greek-American parents George and Connie Gretakis Bacalis. He attended and graduated from Granby High School, The University of Virginia, Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary, and the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland. He served as Director of Youth Ministries at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he met and married his wife Vivian Couchell. They have been blessed with two daughters, both of whom are now married and have blessed Father and Presvytera with five grandchildren.

Ordained as a Deacon in his home parish in 1971, Fr. and Presvytera spent a year in Greece where he served in an Athens parish and in the summer as Assistant Director of the Ionian Village Program, where he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on the Feast of the Transfiguration. Upon returning to America, Father began his first ministry in 1972 at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Jamestown, New York. When the opportunity presented itself to return to Virginia in 1976, he began a twenty years pastorate at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Roanoke, Virginia. While there, he served as a contract chaplain at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center and served a term as President of the Roanoke Valley Ministers' Conference.

In 1996, he was appointed Dean of the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Richmond, Virginia. In additional to his parish responsibilities, he serves as Regional Vicar for southern Virginia on behalf of the Metropolis of New Jersey. He also served as Spiritual Advisor to the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians and the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians. He was a member of the Co-ordinating Cabinet of the Virginia Council of Churches and of its Faith and Order Commission. He is part of the Chaplaincy Staff at the University of Richmond as Spiritual Advisor to the Orthodox students. He has previously served as Treasurer and President of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council as well as a member of the Archdiocesan Council.

Notable Awards:
1990 Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews

2014 Faith in Action Award from the Virginia Council of Churches
2014 Induction into the Thomas Jefferson Society of the University of Virginia


Father Philemon Patitsas, Oikonomos
Associate Priest

Office: (804) 355-3687
Email: FrPhilemon@vagocathedral.org

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
                                                                  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

His Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos of New Jersey assigned Fr. Philemon to serve the people of St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral as the Second Priest, effective December 1, 2023. Fr. Philemon had previously served with distinction as Proistamenos (Presiding Priest) at both Holy Trinity (Wilmington, DE), 2021-2023 and St. Katherine (Naples, FL), 2012-2020; and as Pneumatikos (Confessor) at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Charlotte, NC), 2010-2012. 

While Presiding at Holy Trinity at the invitation of Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Fr. Philemon oversaw the complete life of the parish, including the community's resurgence from COVID-19.  Additionally, he served on the New Jersey Metropolis Council; as an officer of the NJ Metropolis Clergy Syndesmos; as a member of the Delaware Valley Youth Commission; as Spiritual Advisor to the University of Delaware's Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF); oversaw the completion of a major capital expansion project encompassing and integrating all three elevations of the parish complex; and the restoration of the sanctuary.

As the Presiding Priest of St. Katherine, Fr. Philemon led the resurgence and revitalization of the community; served on the Atlanta Metropolis' Strategic Planning Committee; on the Board of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC); established the Agape Charities charitable foundation and outreach ministry, and the Christian Rights and Freedom Institute ; led St. Katherine's recovery and restoration effort following the devastation of Hurricane Irma (2017); oversaw the exterior adornment of the sanctuary with a gold dome; established and led the 21st Century Initiative to endow the community and implement a strategic plan for the continued prosperity of the community while facing the challenges of the new century.

Prior to that time, Fr. Philemon served the following communities as a Deacon of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, while still a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School (MPA, 2010) and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (MDiv, 2009):

  • Saints Constantine and Helen (Cambridge, MA),
  • Saints Constantine and Helen (Andover, MA), and 
  • Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Chapel (Brookline, MA)

Fr. Philemon's answer to the call of Priesthood by our Lord Jesus Christ, came with the blessings of his beloved Spiritual Father - His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh - and as a natural extension of his lifetime of service as a layman within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in virtually every service capacity.; and after a 20 year professional career as an MBA degreed engineer and business executive serving the petroleum and chemical industries.  He has traveled to 49 of the 50 U.S. States; and has visited more than 22 countries throughout his lifetime.

Fr. Philemon is delighted to be serving the parishioners of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral here in Richmond, Virginia (especially the youth, young adults and their families); is privileged to serve the Cathedral Dean, the Very Reverend Fr. Nicholas Bacalis, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne; and gives thanks to Almighty God for every blessing in life, especially his beloved wife, Presvytera Maria, and their children, Nicholas, Eleni and Markella, and their families.