Hieromonk Mark (Kerr) has had broad exposure to the ecclesiastical structures, liturgical practices and cultural traditions of most of the major Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States. His journey started in 1978 at Holy Transfiguration Monastery, a Greek/Athonite brotherhood, in Brookline, Massachusetts, when, with the blessing of Metropolitan Philaret (of blessed memory) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), he was tonsured to the Great Schema, as a hierodeacon. Ordained a priest in 1980, he served in a number of jurisdictions before being received in the Serbian Orthodox Church by Bishop Maxim of the Western America Diocese in 2012 and transferred to the the Midwestern Diocese in 2018.
Embracing Orthodox of all backgrounds, Hieromonk Mark hopes that this monastery will be a center of Pan-Orthodox co-operation and outreach not only to all the Orthodox Christians of Tennessee, northern Georgia, northern Alabama and beyond, but also to the many non-Orthodox Christians in the upper South as well. “We American Orthodox Christians have a unique opportunity to synthesize a rich and inclusive cultural and spiritual tradition for ourselves and for our non-Orthodox neighbors and friends. Thus, I hope that this monastery will be a place where all pilgrims will feel at home, with traditions, customs and practices, both familiar and unfamiliar, all speaking to their hearts,” he said.
“The unique icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Joy of All Who Sorrow, embodies a calling and a challenge that I have always tried my best to live up to since my tonsure. In it, the Theotokos stands as the paragon of philanthropy, mercy and pastoral care which has inspired me in my pastoral ministry. God has afforded me a broad pastoral experience, not only as a priest, a confessor and a spiritual father, but as a mentor of troubled youth and other young people, a hospital chaplain and an emergency spiritual and pastoral care provider, as a member of the International Orthodox Christian Charities’ Frontliners disaster response team. All of these experiences have been enriching and formative for me professionally and spiritually, and I hope that they will be of benefit to our regional Orthodox community in Tennessee.”