Meet our Family Wellness Ministry team members.
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos
Metropolitan Gerasimos has devoted his entire life in service to the Lord. Born in Kalamata, Greece, he came to the United States in 1970 to study at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees, both with High Honors. Following more than three decades of service, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate selected him to be the new Metropolitan of San Francisco on February 22, 2005. The Enthronement for Metropolitan Gerasimos was held on April 2, 2005 at the Ascension Cathedral in Oakland, California. (from his bio page at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco)
George Papageorge is thrilled to be appointed the new Director of the Family Wellness Ministry for the Metropolis of San Francisco working along side Presvytera Pat Tsagalakis. George is a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in marriage and family counseling, and a popular seminar speaker who is in high demand nationwide. Working in the areas of empathy-based relationships, parenting with emotional intelligence, family systems therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and addiction recovery, George offers patients a path toward integrating sensible psychological insights within a solid Orthodox foundation. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and ancient biblical literature from Simpson College and a Master of Arts degree in marriage and family therapy from Azusa Pacific University. George and his wife Kim have two children, Olivia, a college student, and Petros, a teenager.
Presvytera Pat Tsagalakis, Assistant Director
With words and music, Presvytera Pat Tsagalakis generously shares her gifts and talents with her church and community. She is best known for her willingness to live the command in Psalm 100: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!” Presvytera Pat and her husband, Fr. Tom, serve as guest speakers and retreat leaders at marriage and family seminars throughout the country. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Pres. Pat teaches Elementary and Middle School Music at St. John School in Seattle. She is a youth group leader and directs both the choir and chant groups at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Shoreline. Pres. Pat coordinates communication / social media for the Family Wellness Ministry. She is also a contributor to Prez to Prez, an online ministry serving the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres. Pres. Pat has also been actively involved as a volunteer at Camp Agape Northwest, an outreach ministry serving kids with cancer and their families.
For the past 25 years, Fr. James C. Pappas has been serving the parish of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Fresno, California. A full-time priest, he is a regular guest lecturer at Fresno Pacific University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in interior design from California State University, San Francisco, and earned a Masters of Divinity from Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. Fr. Jim was captain of the Clergy-Wellness goals for the Family Wellness Committee for the Strategic Planning Commission for the Metropolis of San Francisco and coordinates the annual clergy couple retreat and senior camp program for the Metropolis. He and his wife, Pres. Donna, served many years as the lead clergy couple for Orthodox Marriage Encounter and together have presented workshops and seminars for lay, clergy, and seminary couples. They continue to lead seminars and workshops dealing with family, teen and relationship issues.
Presvytera Donna Pappas is a reading intervention teacher for upper elementary students and also works as a regional consultant for an educational publisher, where she trains and coaches teachers in districts throughout central and northern California. After several years in the construction industry, she returned to school for a teaching credential. She completed her master’s degree in reading and language arts and earned a reading specialist credential at California State University Fresno. Prior to that, she graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a double major in architecture and construction. Pres. Donna also served as the coordinator for the Family Wellness Committee for the Strategic Planning Commission for the Metropolis. She has been a speaker for various Philoptochos events throughout the Metropolis and also enjoys partnering with her husband, Fr. James Pappas, to address family, teen and relationship issues.
Fr. Tom Tsagalakis serves as the priest of Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Shoreline, Washington. A former adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University (SPU), he maintains a private practice in marriage and family therapy in Seattle. He also leads the Give Back Group, a support group for anyone challenged by any addiction or who has family or friends struggling with addictions. To date, it has served countless families, individuals and addicts suffering from porn, drug and alcohol and sex addiction as well as food disorders. Fr. Tom received his undergraduate degree from San Jose State University and completed a master’s degree in divinity from Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He also holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from SPU. He is married to Presvytera Pat. They have two grown children, Nicholas and Maria Sophia.
Fr. Vasili Hillhouse is the newest member of our Family Wellness team. Fr Vasili and his wife Presvytera Maria have been serving Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Anchorage, AK since 2011, where he is the Proistamenos and she is the chanter. Their home is a bustle of activity with five children – all boys! Fr Vasili earned a BA degree in History from UCSC in the Santa Cruz mountains where he grew up. After spending a year studying the Greek language in Thessaloniki he went on to earn a MA degree in History at SJSU. He and Maria were married in 2004, and since that time Fr Vasili has earned Master’s degrees in Divinity from St Tikhon’s Theological Seminary, and Pastoral Counseling through the Antiochian House of Studies, where the main focus of his study was the effect of Attachment Theory on marriage and child rearing. He wrote his thesis on Orthodox Christian Marriage through the theology of Saint Sophrony of Essex. Fr Vasili enjoys offering guest lectures in Church History and other Christian themes at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University, and he looks forward to contributing to the Family Wellness Ministry
Joe Borgonia was born and raised in San Francisco and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. He has done community work for a number of years at a non-profit agency serving the Asian ethnic communities in San Francisco. He has also counseled students at Community Day Schools in the East Bay and has worked as an addiction counselor at a recovery clinic in
Berkeley. Joe currently has a private counseling practice in Pleasanton, CA. Prior to formally working in the mental health field, Joe was employed for over 18 years at a number of technology companies in the Silicon Valley, working mainly in operations, engineering and customer support, and materials management. During that same time, Joe become involved in a recovery ministry at a large evangelical church. He ended up facilitating divorce recovery and anger management groups for several years. Joe has a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley and holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. Joe resides in Riverbank, CA with his wife, Frances. Both of them are converts to Orthodoxy and attend Saint James Orthodox Church in Modesto. Joe presently serves as a member of the Parish Council.
Fr.Timothy Pavlatos, Past Director
Fr.Timothy served as our past director of the Family Wellness Ministry and continues to share his time and talents as with our team leader. A licensed marriage and family therapist, he was appointed Family Wellness Ministry Director in Feb. 2015 and led our team with enthusiasm and grace. An adjunct professor at George Fox University’s Graduate School of Counseling, Fr. Timothy holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (1992) and a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Maryland. A Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Fr. Timothy is also a national certified counselor, a Clinical Fellow in the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a certified Prepare/Enrich facilitator, a certified Gottman facilitator, and a certified clinical trauma professional. Over the past several years, Fr. Timothy has focused on marriage and parenting enrichment, interpersonal neurobiology and trauma. He and Presvytera Victoria have been married since 1995 and are currently raising their nine children in Arizona and serves as the pastor of St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church in Chandler.
For more than two decades, Presvytera Victoria Pavlatos has been serving alongside her husband, Fr. Timothy Pavlatos. An award-winning photographer, who has been recognized internationally for her work, she homeschooled their nine children—ranging in ages from 3 to 20—before launching her own portraiture business, Tori Ava Photography. A retreat speaker on the topics of marriage and family, Pres. Vicki is a parenting expert and a dedicated member of the Family Wellness Ministry team, assisting with artistic direction and offering practical parenting wisdom. She is also the daughter of a Greek Orthodox priest.
Fr. Daniel and Presvytera Michelle Triant joined the Family Wellness Ministry in 2018 to help support and nurture young families. Originally from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Fr. Daniel also serves the San Francisco Metropolis as the webmaster. Presv. Michelle, who grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Modesto, CA, works with Presv. Pat and Presv. Donna to publish the e-newsletter Prez to Prez, and is the creator and author of Love at Lent. Together Fr. Daniel and Presv. Michelle serve the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Spokane, Washington, and have two daughters, Penelope and Mia.
Fr. Nick and Presvytera Dena Mueller are the newest members of our Family Wellness Ministry Team. Fr. Nick was raised in Roseville, California where he attended St. Anna Greek Orthodox Shrine in Roseville, CA with his family.Fr. Nick is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature and Minor in Creative Writing. He graduated from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA in 2015 with a Masters of Divinity. Fr. Nick and Presv. Dena were married in August 2015. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on December 18th, 2016, and the Holy Priesthood on the Feast of St. Anna, July, 25th, 2017 by His Eminence Metropolitan GERASIMOS of San Francisco.
He worked at the Department of Religious Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese from 2015 – 2019. During this time he served as a deacon and later as a priest at Taxiarchae/Archangels Greek Orthodox Church in Watertown, MA.
Presv. Dena graduated with a Doctorate in English Literature in May 2019. She currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the English Department at UC Berkeley where she continues her research and teaches. Fr. Nick was assigned to Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral October 1, 2019.
Fr. Nick and Presb. Dena’s son Symeon was born in August, 2020