Alumni Association Honors Dean Emeritus

Author: 
Deborah (Malacky) Belonick

(back row from left) Fr. Michael Senyo, Fr. John Jillions, Bishop Melchisedek, Fr. John Behr, Fr. Chad Hatfield, Pdn. Joseph Matusiak; (front row, L to R) Mat. Anne and Fr. Thomas Hopko, Metropolitan Theodosius, Dr. Stefanie Yazge(back row from left) Fr. Michael Senyo, Fr. John Jillions, Bishop Melchisedek, Fr. John Behr, Fr. Chad Hatfield, Pdn. Joseph Matusiak; (front row, L to R) Mat. Anne and Fr. Thomas Hopko, Metropolitan Theodosius, Dr. Stefanie YazgeMore than 70 family members, friends, parishioners of local churches, and alumni of St. Vladimir's turned out to honor Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Allison Park, PA, on Sunday, October 27, in celebration of "Father Tom's" 50th Anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. The event, which was sponsored by St. Vladimir's Seminary Alumni Association and hosted by the parish community at the cathedral, began with a Molieben of Thanksgiving served by Cathedral Dean The Very Rev. Michael Senyo, with choir responses led by The Very Rev. Thomas Soroka, rector of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKees Rocks, PA.The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO of St. Vladimir's, as Master of Ceremonies for the event, made two significant announcements. First, the "Father Thomas Hopko Scholarship Fund," which provides seminary scholarship aid for sons and daughters of priests, was recently fully funded with $100,000 in total donations; and second, a faculty–staff duplex on the seminary campus will henceforth be known as "The Hopko House."

Other notable participants in the celebration included The Right Rev. Melchisedek, bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania; The Most Blessed Theodosius, former Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada; The Rev. Dr. John Jillions, chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America; The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir's; Catherine Hopko Mandell, daughter of Fr. Thomas; and members of The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA, where Fr. Thomas and his wife Anne often attend services. Additionally, Fr. Thomas Soroka made a presentation of an icon of Christ on behalf of Ancient Faith Radio, a media outlet for which Fr. Thomas Hopko has done 300+ podcasts.

Father Thomas served as Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary from 1992–2002, and retired with the distinction Dean Emeritus. From 1968–2002 he taught courses in Dogmatic Theology, Practical Theology, Homiletics, and Spirituality at the Seminary. He served as pastor of churches in Warren, Ohio (1963–68)), Wappingers Falls, NY (1968–1978), and Jamaica Estates, NY (1978–1983). Married to Anne Schmemann in 1963, the Hopkos have five married children (a son and four daughters), 16 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Father Thomas and his wife Anne now live in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.