Thomas Hopko

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Ft. Thomas Hopko at St. Vladimir's Seminary, 2007

Very Reverend Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko (March 28, 1939 – March 18, 2015) was an Orthodox priest and theologian of the Orthodox Church in America. He was the Dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary from 1992 until 2002, having also taught there from 1968 until 2002.


Thomas John Hopko was born on March 28, 1939, in Endicott, New York. Thomas Hopko was baptized and raised in St. Mary's Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek-Catholic Church, Endicott, NY. He attended public schools in Endicott, graduating from Union-Endicott High School in 1956.

After graduating from high school, Thomas enrolled at Fordham University in New York, graduating in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Studies. He continued his education at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, from which he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1963. At St. Vladimir's Seminary, Thomas studied with such renowned Orthodox theologians as Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Nicholas Arseniev and Serge Verkhovskoy. Later in 1968, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Duquesne University. In 1982, he received his Ph.D. in Theology from Fordham University.

Before he was ordained to the priesthood, he married Anne Schmemann in 1963. They raised five children.

After his ordination in 1963, Fr. Tom served as pastor at a number of parishes, beginning with Holy Resurrection Church at Warren, Ohio, from 1963 to 1968. He was the parish priest at St. Gregory the Theologian Church in Wappingers Falls, New York, from 1968 to 1978. From 1978 to 1983, Fr. Tom served at the St. Nicholas Church in Jamaica Estates, New York.

In 1968, while he was serving at St. Gregory the Theologian Church he began teaching at St. Vladimir's Seminary and eventually succeeded his teacher, Serge Verkhovskoy, as professor of dogmatic theology. In addition to dogmatic theology, the courses he taught included practical theology, homiletics, and spirituality. In September 1992, Fr. Hopko was appointed Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary, and served until his retirement from the office on July 1, 2002. While serving as dean, Fr. Tom was the rector of the seminary's Three Hierarchs Chapel.

In 1970, he was elevated to archpriest, and, after his election as Dean, he was raised to the rank of Protopresbyter in 1995. Upon his retirement, Fr. Hopko was given the title of Dean Emeritus by the Board of Trustees of the St. Vladimir's Seminary.

Fr. Hopko was a prominent Orthodox Christian lecturer and speaker, well-known both in Orthodox and ecumenical circles. Many of his recordings are available via Ancient Faith Radio. He served as a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and as a delegate from the Orthodox Church in America to the Assemblies of WCC in Uppsala, Sweden, and Nairobi, Kenya. He was also President of the Orthodox Theological Society in America from 1992 to 1995.

The Hopkos retired to live near the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, where he continued sharing his vocation with the community there until his repose on March 18, 2015. He was survived by his wife, their five children, two sisters, 16 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.


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