Thomas Hopko

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Thomas Hopko
Dean Emeritus, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York, U.S.
Fr. Thomas Hopko.jpg
Other postsRector: St. John The Baptist Church (Warren, OH, 1963-8),
St. Gregory the Theologian Church (Wappingers Falls, NY, 1968-78),
St. Nicholas Church (Jamaica Estates, NY, 1978-83).

During tenure at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary: Lecturer in Doctrine and Pastoral Theology, 1968–72;
Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1972–83;
Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1983–1991;
Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1991–2;
Dean, Rector of Three Hierarchs Chapel, and Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1992–2002
OrdinationAugust 1963
Personal details
Born(1939-03-28)March 28, 1939
Endicott, New York, United States
DiedMarch 18, 2015(2015-03-18) (aged 75)
Wexford, Pennsylvania, United States
NationalityUnited States
DenominationOrthodox Church in America
SpouseAnne Hopko (née Schmemann) (m. 1963-2015, his death)
ChildrenArchpriest John Hopko,
Juliana Thetford,
Catherine Mandell,
Matushka Mary Solak and
Alexandra Sedor
Alma materFordham University (1960, B.A. in Russian Studies; 1982 Ph.D. in Theology,
St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (1963, M.Div.)
and Duquesne University (1969, M.A. in Philosophy)

Thomas John Hopko (March 28, 1939 – March 18, 2015) was an Eastern Orthodox Christian priest and theologian. He was the Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary from September 1992 until July 1, 2002 and taught dogmatic theology there from 1968 until 2002. In retirement, he carried the honorary title of Dean Emeritus.

Life and education[edit]

Thomas Hopko was born in Endicott, New York of Rusyn descent. His ancestors are linked to the Rusyn village of Naviczke near the city of Uzhorod. He was baptized and raised in St. Mary’s Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek-Catholic Church, Endicott. He gained his B.A. in Russian studies at Fordham University in 1960, followed by a Master of Divinity degree at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1963. He later completed a master's degree in philosophy at Duquesne University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in theology at Fordham University in 1982.[1] At St. Vladimir's Seminary, Hopko studied with such renowned Orthodox theologians as Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Nicholas Arseniev and Serge Verkhovskoy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1963 and served several parishes in the states of Ohio and New York. In 1968 he began to teach at St. Vladimir's and eventually succeeded his teacher Serge Verkhovskoy as professor of dogmatic theology. He was elevated to the rank of archpriest in 1970 and, upon his election as dean, to the rank of protopresbyter (1995).[1]

Activities and affiliations[edit]

Hopko was an Orthodox Christian lecturer and speaker, known both in Orthodox and ecumenical circles. 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 (1992–95). In retirement, he had several popular podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio.[2]

Hopko has written about the ordination of women and the reasons for its rejection in the Eastern Orthodox Church.[3]


Hopko died of complications from congestive heart failure due to amyloidosis on March 18, 2015, in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, Pennsylvania.[4] He was survived by his wife and five children. Days before his death, his daughter Juliana created a blog wherein she provided periodic status updates about his declining health and eventual death.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Fr. Thomas Hopko on Ancient Faith Radio
  3. ^ Women and the Priesthood - Reflections and Debate
  4. ^ "Fr. Thomas Hopko - Memory Eternal!".
  5. ^ "Father Thomas Hopko". Retrieved March 19, 2015.

External links[edit]