Father Alexis Smith
Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith was born and raised in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles, CA, and attended local Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools. His undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California were in the field of International Relations. Father Alexei worked for several years in private industry prior to his entering Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, MA, in 1983. Awarded a Master of Divinity Degree, with High Distinction, in 1987, he was ordained a Greek Catholic Priest of the Eparchy of Newton, MA, that same year, and assigned as Pastor of Saint Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church in El Segundo, CA, and also Administrator of Saint Paul Melkite Greek Catholic Mission in the same city.
Father Alexei served as an elected member of the Council of Priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for six years, serving as Vice President of the Council and Chair of the Priestly Life and Ministry Committee for the last two years of his service on the Council. He is currently a member of the Spirituality Commission of the Archdiocese, and has been invested as a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
In November of 2000, Cardinal Roger Mahony appointed Father Alexei to a five year term as Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer of the Archdiocese, and reappointed him to a second five year term in July 2006. Father Alexei is currently serving as National Vice President of CADEIO [Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers] and also as its Liaison to Christian Churches Together, a growing Ecumenical movement.
Father Alexei served as president of the Interreligious Council of Southern California for five years and is the recipient of numerous commendations and awards: in 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Religious Leadership Award of the Valley Interfaith Council. . In 2011, Father Alexei was elected President of the Southern California Ecumenical Council, the first Catholic to hold that position.
Father Alexei taught a course entitled “Interfaith Dialogue Since Vatican II” at Mount Saint Mary’s College, as well as a course entitled “Current Trends in Ecumenical and Interreligious Thought” as part of the International Institute of Tribunal Studies in Los Angeles. Father is currently teaching an Ecclesia Certification Course at Mount Saint Mary’s College entitled “Ecumenism and Interreligious Relations: A Catholic Ministry.”