Father Thomas Hopko: Memory Eternal!
When word of Father Tom’s repose came during the Holy Synod meeting this past Wednesday, the bishops broke from their deliberations and immediately sang a memorial service in Saint Sergius Chapel. Father Tom, as Dean Emeritus of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, in retirement remained officially attached as a priest to the Seminary’s Three Hierarchs Chapel and as such, he was under the episcopal care of Metropolitan Tikhon, who will preside at Father Tom’s funeral services Sunday and Monday. For the past fourteen years Father Tom and Matushka Anne have been living near the women’s Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration (Romanian Episcopate) in Ellwood City, PA. Father Tom became a fixture there, serving, preaching and teaching. And it was from his home office a short walk away that he recorded for Ancient Faith Radio over 400 podcasts. All the services for his repose will be in the monastery church and he will be buried in the monastery cemetery.
I drove to the monastery on Thursday to represent His Beatitude and join three priests in vesting Father Tom in his priestly vestments (Father John Hopko, Father Michael Senyo and Father Gregory Long). He was brought to the monastery late that afternoon where he was greeted by the Abbess (Mother Christophora), family and friends singing hymns of the Cross and taken in procession to the monastery’s private chapel where Matushka Anne and his family could spend time alone with him.
Today we brought Father Tom to the center of the main Monastery Church. The nuns sang the 9th Hour, we had the leave-taking for the Cross and then we celebrated the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, together with further prayers for the repose of Protopresbyter Thomas.
The Holy Synod meeting finished early this afternoon. His Beatitude will drive out on Sunday to preside at the Monastery for the Memorial Service (Panikhida) on Sunday evening and then the Funeral for a Priest on Monday.
May Father Tom’s memory be eternal!