Father Alexei Smith... was born and raised in Los Angeles, and worked as a funeral director for fifteen years prior to entering the seminary. While engaging in that occupation, he gained a deep appreciation for other faith traditions and approaches to the Divine, particularly in the face of death.

Ordained as a Greek Catholic priest in June 1987, Father Alexei was assigned to serve two small Eastern Catholic Communities - Saint Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church and Saint Paul Melkite Greek Catholic Mission - in El Segundo. He also served as an Ecumenical Commissioner for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Co-chair of the Orthodox- Catholic Dialogue.

Upon the retirement of Father Gil Romero in November 2000, Father Alexei was appointed as Director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese, the first Greek Catholic priest to serve in any such office of the Archdiocese.