The Rev. Dean Moralis, a lifelong member of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation and an assistant there since 1994, has been selected to lead the congregation.
Moralis, 35, succeeds his mentor, the Very Rev. Constantine M. Monios, 68, who died June 21 of prostate cancer.
Moralis' appointment was announced yesterday to the cathedral congregation. He was informed of his new position last week at the Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which met in Los Angeles. He will be installed as dean of the cathedral Aug. 4, immediately after a memorial service for Monios.
Parishioners expressed joy that their favorite son had been selected to lead them.
"The community knows him as well as it has known any priest who has ever served at Annunciation," said longtime parishioner Lou Panos. "Father Moralis has indicated a great respect for the tradition that Father Monios built up."
"He had a fine spiritual leader that showed him the path of righteousness and spiritual teaching," said George C. Mesologites, a past president of Annunciation.
Moralis was born in Baltimore and was baptized at what was then called Annunciation parish. In 1975, it was designated as Maryland's Greek Orthodox cathedral. He attended Lutherville Elementary School and Towson High School.
Moralis recalled Monios' arrival at the parish in 1975.
"I grew up with Father Constantine. I met him when I was 9 years old," he said. "My biggest concern at age 9 was whether the new priest would let me serve on the altar, because there was a minimum age of 10. He let me serve."
It was about this time that Moralis decided he wanted to become a priest. After graduating from high school, he worked at the attorney general's office and at Towson Ford while attending Essex Community College at night.
In 1987, he left Baltimore to attend Hellenic College, a Greek Orthodox school in Brookline, Mass., where he earned a liberal arts degree. He then attended the adjacent Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, receiving a master's degree in divinity.
Moralis returned to Baltimore in June 1994 to begin serving on the cathedral staff as a parish assistant. He was ordained a deacon in February 1996 and a priest three months later.
Now Moralis succeeds the priest who was his mentor.
"I'm still in shock. I wish Father was standing with me right now, because that was one of his wishes, that I would succeed him," Moralis said. "I stood by his side all those years. And now I'll be following in his footsteps."