St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church
Shrine of the Holy Virgin Mary
2701 N. Narragansett Ave., Chicago, IL 60639 * 773-889-4282
Installation Ceremony

We are honored to announce that on Saturday, October 14, 2023 the Installation Ceremony of His Grace Bishop Theophan of Philomelion will be held at St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church. This ceremony is a liturgical rite by which a ruling bishop is installed in his cathedral.  This is when he officially begins to oversee his diocese.  Archbishop Elidophoros will preside with other members of the clergy in attendance. Having this ceremony take place at St. Nicholas is a great honor for our church.  A luncheon reception will follow in our hall. Please refer to the attached flyer for specific details.  

Bishop Theophan was born in 1966 in Tirana, Albania.  He graduated from the College Economic School in 1985 and served two years in the Albanian Army. In 1991, he graduated from the Academy of Economic Sciences in Tirana and proceeded to serve the Albanian government as an Economics Inspector in the Department of State Controls from 1991-1992.

From February through July 1992, he studied Orthodox Theology in Durres with the first group of students under the tutelage of then Father Ilia Katre. Between 1992 and 1998, he participated in numerous local and international conferences, sometimes representing the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese (OCA) or the Church of Romania.

In September of 1993, at the invitation of Patriarch Theoctist of Romania, he departed to study at the Orthodox Theological Institute of Bucharest under the tutelage of Archbishop Calinic of Arges.  He was ordained a Deacon on January 1, 1995 and tonsured a monastic five days, later the Feast of the Theophany.  He took the name Theophan. In May of 1995, he was ordained a priest and elevated to the rank of archimandrite.  In September, he graduated from the theological school and began two years of service as a missionary priest in Bucharest.  From 1995-1999, he pursued a doctoral degree in theology at the University of Bucharest.  At the beginning of 1995, he was also appointed abbot of the Aninoasa Monastery in Curtea de Arges.  

In 1995, the Church of Romania released him to the Romanian Episcopate (OCA), where he served as rector of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in St. Louis, until August 2021.  He was then assigned to Boston, where he was rector of St. George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral. In June 2023, he was incardinated in the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  Following his meeting in Constantinople with His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, Father Theophan was proposed by His Holiness to the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the election as new Bishop of Philomelion, succeeding Metropolitan Ilia who reposed in the Lord on October 6, 2022. 

On July 25, 2023, Archimandrite Theophan was consecrated as the bishop for the Albanian Diocese of America. Archbishop Elidophoros presided at the service held at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Constantinople.  

Bishop Theophan is fluent in Albanian, Romanian, English, Greek, Italian, and Macedo Romanian (Aromanian). He holds Albanian, Romanian and American citizenship.

Constantinople (25 July 2023) - A Video

On July 25, 2023, Archimandrite Theophan (Koja) was consecrated as the bishop for the Albanian Diocese of America. The Divine Liturgy in which he was ordained was presided over by Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Istanbul. Archbishop Elpidophoros was concelebrated by other Constantinople hierarchs during this Liturgical service, and Bishop Andrei of the Orthodox Church in America’s Romanian Episcopate, the diocese in which Fr. Theophan served as a priest for over a decade, also attended the service.

All the Hierarchs and the faithful present during the Ordination declared with one voice "Axios" - "I denjë" confirming the election and ordination of our new Bishop. After the traditional exchange of the "Kiss of Peace" between the Archbishop Elpidophoros and the newly consecrated hierarch, Bishop Theophan took his first steps as a Bishop, walking toward the Bishop's Throne and blessing all people present with the familiar blessing in Albanian: " Bekimi i Perëndisë dhe i Shpëtimtarit tonë Jesu Krisht qoftë me ju të gjithë". Amin! Për shumë vjet o Kryezot!

Becoming Bishop: Video (9611kb)
Constantinople (25 July 2023) - A Gallery

Grace Bishop Theophan of Philomelion

May the Lord grant to his Grace Bishop Theophan of Philomelion many fruitful years of loving service to the church of Christ for the glory of God! Axios! 
Zoti i dhëntë Hirësisë së tij, Episkop Theofan të Filomilit, shumë vite të frytshme në shërbim të kishës së Krishtit për lavdi të Perëndisë! I denjë!