Our Clergy

Father Joel Barstad Ph.D.

Father Joel was raised in a Scandinavian Lutheran tradition where he developed a love for sung liturgy and the richness of a liturgical calendar. As a result of his encounter with the writings of the Greek Fathers during college, he and his wife Leslie were led into the Catholic Church in 1985. The fascination with the Christian East drew them further in until they decided in 1994 to make the Byzantine Catholic Church their canonical home. As a boy in the Lutheran church, Father Joel heard the call to serve the Lord Jesus and his Church in pastoral ministry; but after his entrance into the Catholic Church, no path to priestly ordination opened for him until after the changes Pope Frances made in 2014. He was ordained to the priesthood in October 2018. After serving on the staff of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA, from 2019 to 2022, Father Joel has returned to Denver to continue his priestly ministry at Holy Protection parish, and its Fort Collins outreach, as well as at Saints Cyril and Methodius Russian Byzantine Catholic Community. Father Joel and Pani Leslie have raised seven children and take delight in their grandchildren, whose number is steadily growing.

Father Joel received his BA in Classics-History-Politics from the Colorado College (1984); an MA in Early Christian Studies from the Catholic University of America (1987); and an MMS (1989) and PhD (1998) from the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute, where studied the divergence of the Latin and Byzantine theological traditions in the post-Patristic, early medieval period. Although his professional career before ordination included archival records management, business journalism, IT management, and software development, the bulk of it was spent as a full-time member of the theological faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. He can be reached at frbarstad@ephx.org.

Fr. Deacon Basil Ryan Balke M.A. M.Th.

Father Deacon Basil Ryan is a native of Colorado, and has lived in Denver for most of his life. He holds a Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regis University and a Masters of Theology in Eastern Theology from the University of Balaamond. He is currently seeking his Masters of Divinity from the Antiochian House of Studies. A regular lecture at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, and the Eastern Deacon Columnist for Our Sunday Visitor’s “The Deacon” publication. He ministers at both Holy Protection and at SS. Cyril and Methodius Russian Greek Catholic Community. Fr. Dcn. Basil is married to his lovely wife Brittany, and they have three daughters. Fr. Deacon Basil is passionate about the therapeutic healing found in Eastern Christianity. He can be reached at dcnbasil@ephx.org