A native of Chicago born to first-generation Greek-Americans, Merope (nee Kossivas) and the late Christ J. Kantzavelos, Bishop Demetrios (Kantzavelos) of Mokissos grew up as an active participant in the life of the city’s historic Assumption Greek Orthodox Community located at 601 S. Central Avenue. He went on to attend Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he obtained his graduate divinity degree ‘with high distinction’ in 1987. Following graduation, he pursued post-graduate work in the doctoral philosophy program of Chicago’s Loyola University, concentrating in the area of metaphysics.
Having received monastic tonsure, Bishop Demetrios was ordained to the Diaconate October of 1989. In 1992, he was ordained to the priesthood, and in 1995 elevated to the rank of Archimandrite, all through the hands of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago. Since then, he has served as assistant and deacon to the bishop, as associate pastor of Annunciation Cathedral of Chicago, and presently as Chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago.
Named as “one of the twelve people to watch” by The Chicago Sun-Times (January 5, 2003), Bishop Demetrios has worked extensively to build bridges of understanding and improve relationships between Chicago’s Greek Orthodox Community with other local Orthodox bodies, as well as other Christian and non-Christian groups. His ecumenical and interfaith commitments are numerous, coalescing around areas of social justice and advocacy. To this end, in February of 2003, he co-founded a local initiative to improve relations between the Turkish and Greek communities in Chicago.
In 1992, Bishop Demetrios established the Bishop’s Task Force on AIDS, the first formal Orthodox Christian response to this pandemic in the western hemisphere. As this ministry received widespread recognition, its founder-coordinator Bishop Demetrios was named Outstanding Community Leader by the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1995, and received the Jim Noone Award for Religious Leadership from the AIDS Pastoral Care Network in 1997. The Task Force has since become a resource for the entire Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. From 2001 until 2004, he served as board member of Chicago’s Alexian Brothers’ Bonaventure House, a premiere residential care facility for people living with HIV/AIDS. In August of 2005, Bishop Demetrios was honored with the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry 2005 President’s Award.