Fr. Joseph was born with the name Giuseppe Mario Landino. He was born on June 15, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York to Mario and Maria Landino. They moved to New Jersey for some years and finally found a home in San Jose, California from 1977 where he grew up. He was born and raised by immigrant parents who only spoke Italian in the primary and formative years of his life. He learned English only in grade school. The experience of being raised in an immigrant family and community, both in Brooklyn, NY and San Jose, CA, taught him first-hand the struggles of assimilating and settling into a new country. Not only can it be difficult, but it also provides many wonderful opportunities which one could never take for granted.
He graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1986. Following High School, he spent six years serving in the United States Marine Corps. The Marines conditioned him to understand leadership, to be disciplined, to be loyal and committed to his peers, the community, and the world at large, At the end of his military career, he was recognized for uncompromising commitment to excellence and awarded a medal for good conduct. He also accrued many experiences in life by managing his family’s Italian restaurants in the Santa Clara Valley.
Giuseppe was raised Roman Catholic, but felt strongly that it wasn’t complete and drifted away from church altogether. Eventually, he began reading the Bible on his own and started to attend Protestant Churches thinking this was the truth. Nevertheless, he realized that the Protestant Church had been missing 1500 years of history. He was in search of that historic church, where Christians were first called “Christians”. He would pray to God as his heart was searching for the truth. By God’s grace, Giuseppe met some Orthodox Christians from the Church of the Redeemer in Los Altos, CA where he eventually met Fr. Thomas Ruffin (of blessed memory) and His Eminence Joseph in 1995. The Christians he met at this parish had something he wanted and desired, a warmth and a connection with the Ancient Church which was truly desired by him and that he found lacking in the Catholic and Protestant Churches. This brought about his entrance into the Orthodox Church, where he eventually began his journey to the fullness of the Faith. Giuseppe was joyfully chrismated by Fr. Ruffin on Holy Saturday, 1997. Following his chrismation he traveled to the Holy Land during Holy week of 1998 and received the Holy Fire from Christ’s Tomb.
The fall of 2000, Giuseppe met Mary Sabbagh Landino (daughter of V. Rev. Anthony and Minerva Sabbagh) and decided to leave the family business and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree of Religious Studies. Giuseppe and Mary married on Jun 24, 2001. He graduated from Hellenic College in Brookline, MA in 2003 with Valedictorian honors. At that time, he was the father of two young daughters, Gabriella and Katerina. Following graduation they moved back to California to help his father successfully operate a pizzeria restaurant there. It was there where they became the parents of two more children, Mario and Rosalia. Not satisfied with just operating the family business, he pursued a career in insurance. However, this was still not enough because God was tugging and preparing his soul for something greater. They decided as a family to leave their him, family and careers and petition His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (of blessed memory) for a blessing to attend St. Tikhon’s Seminary in Pennsylvania. In May 2011, Giuseppe was granted a blessing to attend seminary and pursue the Holy Priesthood. During his studies, Giuseppe and Mary brought another daughter, Sophia Theodora, into the world on March 23, 2013. His Eminence Archbishop Joseph Zihlawee gracefully laid hands upon him on July 7, 2013 and ordained him Deacon Joseph. His sponsors were Fr. Samer Yousseff and Fr. Theodore Sakellar.
Deacon Joseph has a strong and persistent desire to serve Christ’s Church. He desires to share his life experience, which he feels have been instrumental in forming his character and person. He also faithfully attended and served the Antiochian Archdiocese in many capacities such as Sunday School teacher, Bible Bowl coach, SOYO Advisor, Parish Council member, choir member, altar server, deaconate and now in the Holy Priesthood. Fr. Joseph was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on January 12, 2014. He has been serving with Fr. Anthony as his assistant both during his years of seminary and since his ordination. Axios!