About our Priest

Promoting spirituality, health and good will

Our priest, the Rev. John Chudik was ordained to the priesthood of the Orthodox Church in America on March 25, 1995 at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y.

From his youth Fr. John was headed for career in medicine. In 1990, while attending L'Universite de Paris VI, his ideas about religion began to change when he started taking medical ethics classes. A professor challenged him to attend a medical ethics class at nearby seminary.
He earned a degree in psychobiology, but postponed advanced medical studies to pursue a career in religion. "I realized this was something significant in my life and I started to look into the relationship between the Orthodox church and medicine," he said.

Tracing the history of Eastern Christianity from its origins..
Fr. John with his parishioners at one of the "Orthodoxy101" sessions.

After receiving a Master of Divinity degree in 1994 he was ordinated to the priesthood the following year. In 2000, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Elmhurst College in Chicago, Illinois.
From 1996 to October 2000 he served as chaplain at Ariston Hospice/RUSH Hospice Partners in Chicago. He was assistant pastor at St. Joseph Orthodox Church in Wheaton, III, from 1995 to 1999 and later at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Chicago from 1999 to 2000. Until 2002 he also worked as full-time night nurse on the oncology floor at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The life of pastor by day, nurse by night, was wearing on him.

Fr. John was assigned to St. Mark Church in October 2000 as a full-time pastor of a 70-member congregation. In July 2002, Fr. John began community nursing part-time with Sarasota Memorial Home Health Care, where he visits home-bound oncology, urology and general surgery patients.

Since joining St. Mark, he has helped organize the 13th All American Council held in Orlando, July 2002, worked with the Church of Russia to provide medical supplies and taught at St. Dmitri Medical School in Moscow. He collaborated with the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, FL on the St .Petersburg 300/100 Anniversary exhibition of Icons/Santos: Images of Devotion in April 2003.
Since year 2001 Fr. John oversees the construction of our new church building.
In June 2003 he worked as a member of "Project Mexico" team, a program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. He assisted with building a new home for a needy Mexican family and spent time with the residents of St. Innocent Orphanage.

Fr. John has initiated the sessions Orthodoxy 101 classes. These gatherings are for both the parishioners as well as those who are interested in exploring the Orthodox faith.

In addition to those jobs, Fr. John works to assist with St. Mark's Community Health Services, Parish Nurse Program, which provides free health care, support and referrals to congregants and the greater community.

"I am always a pastor," he said. "You might be able to hang up your cross, but you can never really take it off."

For Fr. John Chudik, medical and pastoral duties are inseparable. He believes that spirituality and medicine are intrinsically interrelated and that meditation, prayer and guided imagery can help with pain relief.

Being a priest and a nurse, Fr. John has developed excellent people skills. Those skills have translated to a special bond with parishioners, who are of diverse heritage - Greek, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Serbian, Swedish, and German.

"He talks to you and not at you. I consider father a personal friend and he's my pastor, too. He's one of the kindest, smartest men I've met" said Richard Eaton, St. Mark parishioner.