Family and Youth Conference- 2018
Fr. Abraham Thomas
Fr. Abraham Thomas has been lecturer at the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam since 2009 in the department of Theology. Following his graduation from the Mahatma Gandhi University, he began his theological education at the Orthodox Theological Seminary at Kottayam where he completed the Graduate in Sacred Theology (diploma) and Bachelor in Divinity degree. He earned his Masters in Theology from the Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture, Kottayam under the Senate of Serampore and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Late Antiquity from Kings College, London U.K.
His principal areas of teaching are Introduction to Christian Doctrines, Introductions to Patristic Theology, Doctrine of Holy Spirit and Biblical Greek at beginner and advanced levels. He currently also serves as Registrar of the Seminary. He is also the Secretary to the Department of Ecumenical Relations of the Malankara Orthodox Church.
Between the years 2002 and 2009, Fr. Abraham Thomas has served as Secretary to the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches in the UK, Secretary to The Catholic and Oriental Orthodox Forum, UK, Secretary to The Anglican- Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum, UK and as a Executive Committee Member of The Anglican- Eastern Churches Association, UK.
Very Rev. John Parker
The Very Reverend Dr. John E. Parker III, serves as the Dean of Saint Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary and as the Chair of theDepartment of Evangelization of the Orthodox Church in America.
Father John earned his Bachelor of Arts degree (major in Spanish Language and Literature and minor in German) at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, where he met his wife Jeanette in 1993. After their marriage in 1994, he taught Spanish for three years at the Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA, before doing full-time youth ministry at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, Paoli, PA. In 2001, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry [TESM], Ambridge, PA, and served for a brief period as Curate at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Sullivan’s Island, SC.
During his last year at TESM and his time at Holy Cross, he and Jeanette, along with their two sons, discovered the Orthodox Faith. On July 7, 2002, the family was received into the Orthodox Church at Holy Ascension Mission, Mount Pleasant, SC. They moved to Yonkers, NY in August 2002, where Father John began studies at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the diaconate by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, in November 2002, and to the priesthood by His Eminence, the late Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South of blessed memory, in April 2003. Father John pursued a Master of Theology degree, which he earned in 2004.
Since June 2003, Father John has served as Pastor of the very mission into which he and his family were received into the Church. There, fueled by the remarkable gifts, talents, and generosity of the local faithful, they built a parish family well known for its warm, southern hospitality and a commitment to excellence in sacred music and arts. This hospitality spills out into two weekly 12-Step Addiction communities the parish hosts—the “We’ve Been Waiting for You” AA meeting and Charleston’s only Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, especially devoted to freeing men from slavery to pornography.
From 2006-2008, Father John and his flock built and completed a remarkable Byzantine temple to honor the Lord’s Holy Ascension, which has become a center for music and arts festivals, workshops, and symposia, including an annual iconography workshop led by world-renowned iconographers.
Father John has written more than 170 essays on Orthodoxy for Charleston’s Post and Courier, the Carolina Compass, and the Moultrie News. For the past decade, he has offered bi-annual lectures on Orthodox Christianity at the College of Charleston.
In 2011, Father John was appointed Chair of the Department of Evangelization of the Orthodox Church in America. He has overseen the Church Planting Grant Program; has worked to build bridges to the Orthodox Faith with Anglicans and Evangelicals; and has hosted a regular podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, titled, “Lord, Send Me.” He has given talks and retreats on missions and evangelism in many of the dioceses of the OCA, in several Antiochian parishes, and internationally in Finland and Greece. For five years he has served on the Board of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center.
In December 2017, Father John earned his Doctor of Ministry degree at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. His D. Min. project was titled “Radechesis: A Radical Return to the Roots of Christian Catechism.”
In July 2018, the Board of Trustees of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary named Archpriest John E. Parker III, D.Min, has the new Dean.