Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko – Memory Eternal!

hopkoThe Protopresbyter, Fr. Thomas Hopko, has fallen asleep in the Lord. His life and impact on the Church in the modern world cannot be exaggerated. He was a pastor, a scholar, a teacher, mentor and friend to several generations of priests. He will be missed more than words can say.

I first met him in 1998, shortly after I was received into the Church. The conversation I wanted to have didn’t happen that day. I was simply awestruck. We later got past my silliness and I found him to be gracious and kind and keenly interested in people – all people. He taught with wonderful authority, always making a clear distinction between what “the Church teaches” and what might simply be Hopko. As such, I always found him to be a touchstone (as have many, many others). What he said mattered, because he never spoke without a regard for the heart of the Tradition. He was immersed in the Fathers and texts of the Church and lived a eucharistic existence.

His universal respect was the sort of thing that could settle arguments and set things right. As such, the Church will miss him dearly during the coming years.

May his memory be eternal!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





28 responses to “Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko – Memory Eternal!”

  1. Robert Avatar

    Memory Eternal!

    A great loss, he will be missed.

  2. Basem Morris Avatar
    Basem Morris

    Father Tom, pray for us…

  3. James Avatar

    I first heard Fr. Tom at an Episcopal Church conference in San Francisco about 1975. I was a young deacon, and so impressed by his teaching that I began to study Orthodox writers. Years later, as I was received into the Orthodox Church I became aware of my inestimable debt to this great man. Memory eternal!

  4. Mary Howell Avatar
    Mary Howell

    May his Memory be Eternal!

  5. Cindy George Avatar
    Cindy George

    thank you for your eulogy of Fr Tom. I am Orthodox today in large part because of him.
    Memory eternal

  6. MichaelPatrick Avatar

    I can credit my reception into the faith almost 20 years ago greatly to Fr. Thomas’ teaching on the cross and sin, vital topics which my imagination had distorted beyond all truth. Many many other converts in our area also heard his lectures and read his writings. He is already missed.

    Memory be Eternal. Pray for us.

  7. Joanna Navarro Avatar
    Joanna Navarro

    May his memory be eternal! He was a great man and I will miss him and his sermons deeply.

  8. mary benton Avatar

    Last fall, when I heard that Fr. Tom was to be in Cleveland to speak, I felt compelled to hear him. Not being Orthodox, I had only heard of him through this blog.

    I was saddened (yet honored) to learn that I was attending the last talk he would travel to present, because of the decline in his health.

    Yesterday, out of the blue, I was speaking to a patient and I related something I had learned from him during this talk. The patient, who would not have known Fr. Tom even if I had identified him, responded that the person who had told me this “taught with authority”.

    I could not disagree. I had only heard him speak once and five months later I was sharing what he had said, such a deep impression it had made. I knew I was hearing the Truth when he spoke and I had listened intently.

    May Fr. Tom celebrate the eternal Love and may his family be comforted in their loss. May God continue to reveal His truth through such good and faithful servants as Fr. Tom.

  9. angie giallourakis Avatar
    angie giallourakis

    Memory Eternal

  10. Karen Avatar

    Memory eternal!

  11. Greg Avatar

    Vichnaya Pamyat’

  12. Sh. Myrna Avatar
    Sh. Myrna

    Thank you Fr. Stephen.

    May his memory be eternal!
    I learned so much from him, I’m glad I will be able to hear him teach me more. He left many lectures. I’m looking forward for my favorite!
    ” The Names of Jesus”
    Found in AFR.

  13. davidp Avatar

    Father´s teachings has even touched me even though I live overseas, and his memory will be eternal.

  14. James Avatar

    What a clear thinker and communicator.
    Memory Eternal.

  15. Christopher Avatar

    Though I have heard him preach a few times, it is really by through the tapes my first Matushka made when she attended his classes at St. Vlad’s that he influenced me. Memory Eternal!

  16. Meg Photini Avatar
    Meg Photini

    I had always hoped to meet him someday. I suppose I can still hope.

  17. Byron Avatar

    Memory Eternal. May God hold him until we meet.

  18. Ryan N. Avatar
    Ryan N.

    Thank you for posting this, Fr Stephen.

    I find it interesting that I feel like I have lost a friend and mentor, when in fact I have never seen or met or talked with Fr. Tom in my life (well technically I did talk him once via radio. I called in and asked Fr. Tom a question when he was the guest on Kevin Allen’s show). It’s easy to bash technology (I do it all the time) and to pick on its abuses, but I can honestly say that Fr Thomas Hopko’s ministry (which in his latter days was chiefly accomplished through the use of the internet) was without a doubt the most influential with regard to my faith and worldviews. I really don’t know where I’d be without him. I thank God daily for his ministry and his wonderful heart.

    May his memory be eternal!

  19. Fr. Stephen Freeman Avatar

    I wonder sometimes what Fr. Tom thought about the internet. It is so “democratic.” It let’s minor talents like me have way too much influence… But to his credit he used what was at hand. His prodigious output on Ancient Faith Radio will abide for years, I think. It will be some time before we see such a voice.

  20. Ryan N. Avatar
    Ryan N.

    Thank you, Father. And while I don’t want to ruin your above demonstrated humility (regarding “minor talents”), you have also been one of the voices that has helped me and strengthened my faith. In fact, just yesterday I saw someone post that Fr Thomas Hopko, Fr Patrick Henry Reardon, and YOU were “most responsible” for his catechesis in Orthodoxy. I feel very much the same way about all three!

  21. Chris Avatar

    Fr. Tom’s podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio were instrumental in catechizing my wife and I when we first became interested in Orthodoxy. I’ll miss his stream-of-consciousness style. Memory eternal.

  22. Margaret Avatar

    Memory Eternal!

  23. Amelakie Alemu Avatar
    Amelakie Alemu

    Memory Eternal!

  24. Yannis Avatar

    I am greatly saddened by the news. I have his 55 maxims stuck to my wall, and his podcasts have been regular companions. Memory Eternal!

  25. davidp Avatar

    My wife and I were watching the “live” feed of Fr Tom´s funeral. I have not attended any Orthodox funeral. This “live” feed was over 3 hrs long. Question: long are the usual funerals for Orthodoxs? Is there difference between Antiochian, Russian and Greek funerals. (I hope Fr Steven, that you do not mind me asking this question via this link) Blessings.

  26. Fr. Stephen Freeman Avatar

    On average, the funerals of the Orthodox are about 45 minutes or so – unless there is also a Divine Liturgy. Things can be done in a very long manner or shortened. There is a great deal of latitude depending on the circumstances. In Fr. Tom’s case, there was every reason to be very long.

  27. Judith Rush Avatar
    Judith Rush

    I can only add my name to the long list of recent converts whose lives are far richer and more grounded in our precocious new faith because of the tireless ministry this humble servant of God….I am deeply saddened to learn he is no longer with us
    And I say with all others–Memory Eternal

  28. Steven Avatar

    “Our ‘heavenliness’ should not overshadow our ‘earthliness’. Most people may be unaware that we human beings did not get a day to ourselves in Genesis. In fact, we shared the sixth day with the creeping and crawling things of the world (Gen. 1:24–26). There is a binding unity and continuity that we share with all of God’s creation. Indeed, the depth of Adam (haadam) is originally created from and deeply correlated to the topsoil of the earth (adamah). It is helpful to recall this truth.


    “The icon restores; it reconciles …. It offers a corrective to the culture that we have created, which gives value only to the here and now. The icon aspires to reveal the … world as created and as intended by God.’’

    (Icons, Liturgy, Saints: Ecological insights from Orthodox Spirituality by John Chryssavgis, 2010).

    A thought struck me as I read this, how good it would be if we could see Fr Tom smiling back at us from his seventh day!

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