About Fr. Matthew Swehla
Father Matthew was born in Modesto, California. He grew up attending the Lutheran church, until his father, formerly a Lutheran pastor, became disillusioned by the direction of the national church and left the ministry. A few years later his family visited the Orthodox cathedral of St. John Maximovich in San Francisco—on a whim because of a Russian exchange student they were hosting—and began their journey to Orthodoxy. Father Matthew entered the Church, along with his immediate family, when he was 15 years old.
As a young college graduate, Fr. Matthew attended an Orthodox College Conference at St. Nicholas Ranch, where he renewed his acquaintance with, Annie Nieuwsma. The two knew right away that they were meant to be together and married in 2003.
After working in several professions—in journalism, restaurant fine dining, and commercial real estate development—Father Matthew was called to the priesthood. He entered Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in 2009, along with Presvytera Annie and their first three children. He received his M.Div. degree in May 2013. Fr. Matthew’s first parish assignment was St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on September 8, 2013 and served for four years as the second priest.
In 2017, Father Matthew was assigned as the proistamenos (presiding priest) of St. John the Baptist in Beaverton.
Father Matthew and Presvytera Annie have seven children: Dimas (married to Jessica), Débora (married to Nathaniel), Thomas, Peter, Nicholas, Joseph and Maria.