Funeral services for Priest Christopher Williamson will be celebrated at Saint John the Wonderworker Church, Atlanta, GA on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. The Burial Service will begin at the church on Wednesday, March 7 at 10:00 a.m., followed by interment at Greenwood Cemetery.
Father Christopher peacefully fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday, March 1, 2018, surrounded by Matushka Natalie and members of his family.
Father Christopher was born in Shreveport, LA in 1938. He spent his childhood in Charlotte, NC and later in Long Island, NY. He graduated from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, after which he worked for Chrysler Motor Co. in Oakland, CA. Having grown disillusioned with corporate life, he began working with street people in San Francisco—the beginning of what would be a lifelong mission to the disadvantaged and those afflicted by substance abuse. He was one of the founders of the original Raphael House in San Francisco, one of the first homeless shelters to take in families.
In 1970, he married the former Natalie Matthas, his wife of 48 years. After being credentialed as a certified substance abuse counselor, he opened a drug treatment center in the notorious Cass Corridor section of Detroit in 1977. He first moved to Atlanta in 1980, where he completed Clinical Pastoral Education at Columbia Theological Seminary, after which he worked as a Chaplain at the state prison in Buford, GA for over 10 years. Always an avid student of Scripture, he embarked on an intensive study of the Orthodox Christian Tradition and in 1987, he was ordained to the priesthood in an Old Calendar Greek Orthodox Church.
Father Christopher moved back to San Francisco in 1991, where he worked as Chaplain at Raphael House while volunteering as Chaplain at Solano State Prison. In 2001, he was received into the Orthodox Church in America. He and his family returned to Atlanta, where he was ordained into the priesthood by His Eminence, Archbishop Dimitri, and assigned as Rector of Saint Innocent Church, Macon, GA.
After his retirement in 2009, Father Christopher assisted at Atlanta’s Saint John the Wonderworker Church, particularly with its Loaves and Fishes homeless ministry. He helped serve meals nearly every day and led a Bible study for those the ministry served. He also served as Confessor for many parishioners who appreciated his compassion and fatherly counsel. Even as he was dying, he had beside him a large stack of index cards with the names of those for whom he prayed. He was a very humble man who never sought accolades.
In addition to Matushka Natalie, Father Christopher is survived by three children, Bartholomew, Daniel and Mary, and eight grandchildren.
May Father Christopher’s memory be eternal!