the Reverend Presbyter Maxim Davi Hayes, Pastor
Presbyter Max was raised, baptized, and chrismated in the Ruthenian (Greek) Catholic Church under the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. From a young age, they were drawn to the mysticism, chanting, and theology of Eastern Orthodoxy, memorizing the movements of the clergy during liturgy and passionately singing and bowing. The exclusionary ordination practices of the canonical church meant that their deep connection to the faith could not fully be realized. Into their early adulthood, they assumed the door to the priesthood was closed to them, but over time, Presbyter Max realized that being LGBT and an Eastern Christian are not mutually exclusive. Presbyter Max was tonsured to Reader on February 28, 2021, and ordained to the diaconate on May 22, 2022. They were ordained to the Royal Priesthood on November 12, 2022. They currently serve as Pastor of The Mustard Seed ECC Mission, so that all who are in need of sacraments, an affirming place to worship as Eastern Christians, and a supportive community can experience the richness of the Eastern tradition and know that God's boundless love belongs to all of us.