Savas Zembillas

Honorary Degree Citation

Savas Zembillas

Metropolitan Savas Zembillas. Lover of God. Lover of popular culture. Global ambassador. You were born to Greek immigrant shop owners in Gary, Indiana, and you came to Colby because you wanted to hang up the shop apron and see what life could hold. At Colby you tried things on. You were a gifted actor, a punk rocker, a convener of all-night conversations about ancient and modern ideas. Your childhood faith was challenged by encounters with the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, but after graduation you sought to claim it again, in a new and deeper form. You shed your belongings and went to Greece, where you lived and prayed among monks. There began a life in the Church. You received a master’s in divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, worked and studied in Oxford, England, and became a monk, then a deacon, then a parish priest. You were named Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of America and Bishop of Troas, and you directed the Archdiocesan Office of Church, Society, and Culture and chaired the national assembly’s Committee on Church and Society. In 2011 you were consecrated Metropolitan of Pittsburgh, and in that capacity you are the spiritual leader of Greek Orthodox parishioners in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. At every phase of your life in the Church, you have been in the vanguard. As Metropolitan you engage with contemporary society and its cultural realities from an Orthodox Christian perspective—and you do that on Facebook as well as from pulpits. You illuminate the presence of the sacred in everyday life and call on all of us to remember and to act on our obligations to each other.

By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Metropolitan Savas Zembillas, the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are the visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you eligible.

Conferred May 26, 2013 

More about Savas Zembillas

Savas Zembillas ’79, known as Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, is the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh, which includes all of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate Nov. 21, 1992, the Feast of the Entry into the Temple of the Theotokos, and on Jan. 8, 1995, to the Holy Priesthood. He has been in the vanguard of engaging issues of contemporary societal and cultural realities from an Orthodox Christian perspective. He has led numerous young-adult pilgrimages and accompanied many Orthodox Christian Fellowship “Real Break” teams to Constantinople and the Holy Land.


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