In this episode of The Black American Orthodox Experience, Fr. Samuel Davis speaks with Abbess Fr. Dn. John Gresham about his conversion to the Orthodox Church from a Baptist background and the importance of understanding both Black Church history in America and the historical contributions of Black and African individuals to the Historic Christian Church, including the lives of African Orthodox Saints.

Deacon John R. Gresham, Jr. is a native of King William County, VA and a graduate of Virginia State University. He studied at the Virginia Union University School of theology and was the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, West Point. He converted to Orthodox Christianity in 2014 and completed the St. Stephen’s Certificate in Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies in 2018. The same year, John was Ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Grace Bishop Thomas.

Deacon John serves at the Saint Basil the Great parish in Hampton, VA where he is also a Teen SOYO advisor. He has served on the national board of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black. He is a Ranger at York River State Park in Williamsburg, teaches Early African Christianity for the Saint Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology and is the author of Become All Flame: Lent with African Saints published by Park End Books. 

Deacon and Shamassy Brenda have been married for 30 years and reside in West Point.

The Black American Orthodox Experience is a program focused on Orthodox missions in America—insights, challenges, and how we can reach (and are reaching) members of Black, Indigenous, and other communities with the Church of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to feature honest and informative conversations about what the Great Commission looks like in modern America within a historical and cultural context.

Created in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America—

Categories: Video



OCN Team is comprised of these gifted authors, teachers, thinkers, priests, parents, young adults and human beings at the Orthodox Christian Network.


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