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Meet Father James

Father James

Father James Siemens, Ph.D., Lic.DD., F.R.Hist.S.

Chaplain to Eastern Christians

As a priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, my traditions are Orthodox while my Church is in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. As such, I believe that a person’s cultural and spiritual practices are very important, and so I see one of my responsibilities as being available to all students who may come to Cardiff from a country where an Eastern Christian tradition predominates. I seek to work closely with the various local Oriental and Greek Orthodox Churches, and where students wish, I can put them in touch with community and church groups that share their background. In the meantime, I want to encourage exploration of the Christian East among all students and staff, and welcome queries from any interested person.

I can always be reached through, and often be found at, the Catholic Chaplaincy at 62 Park Place, although my parish is close to the Bay, (St Theodore of Tarsus Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Pomeroy Street, CF10 5GS) where Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite is celebrated every Sunday at 11:00.

Importantly, I do not believe that the Eastern Christian tradition should in any way be bound by ethnicity. To this end, I am available to any member of the University, regardless of religious affiliation or none, for spiritual direction, religious instruction, conversation, or even just a coffee.

Experience: Having trained for Christian ministry first as an Anglican, I have active experience of pastoral ministry going back to 1997. I served parishes in the West Indies, Northern Canada, and England, before making my home in Cardiff in 2005 and being ordained as a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest in 2012. Over the last 9 years, I have taught religion and philosophy at St David’s Catholic College, and am now Assistant Principal there for student support. I studied theology at the University of Manitoba followed by McGill University in Canada, and undertook my Ph.D. at the University of Wales, Lampeter, under the supervision of Professor Tom O’Loughlin, followed by a post-doctoral License in Divinity.

Areas of Interest: As an honorary research fellow in the University’s School of History, Archaeology, and Religion, I am actively involved in reading and writing around the subjects of eschatology, Christology, and late antique historiography. Beyond the books, I also maintain an interest in music of all types, the ballet and other forms of dance, as well as literature and cinema. At the same time, being married with eight children means I have particular reason to keep doing activities I might otherwise have given up long ago, including skating and mountain biking. Indeed, much to the bemusement of my family, I tend to get distracted by shiny new bicycles, and can be counted to have one at the top of my wish list.