His Grace, Bishop THOMAS' Biography
His Grace, Bishop THOMAS (Joseph) was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1953, attended John F. Kennedy High School and graduated in 1970. He was baptized and was raised in St. George’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Paterson (Now Little Falls), New Jersey. Following high school he enrolled in William Paterson College where he graduated in 1974. After college Bishop THOMAS was employed by the City of Paterson to work in the Department of Community Improvements.
After a short time, Bishop THOMAS was promoted to an instructional position with the Paterson Board of Education. When Antiochian Village children’s summer camp opened, Father John Namie placed Bishop THOMAS on staff from 1979 to 1982.
In the fall of 1979, Bishop THOMAS began theological studies on a part-time basis at St. Vladimir Seminary. In July 1982, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba) ordained Bishop THOMAS Subdeacon. Bishop THOMAS continued his studies until the spring of 1983, when he was assigned to the Virgin Mary Church in Yonkers, New York.
In 1984, Bishop THOMAS was assigned to St. George in Houston, Texas. In this parish he served as director of Christian Education and Youth Services. During his stay in Texas, the Archdiocese directed him to oversee Christian Education and later teen activities for the churches in the Southwest Region. In July 1988 Bishop THOMAS was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Eminence, of Thrice-blessed memory Archbishop MICHAEL (Shaheen).
On the most blessed day of August 28, 1994, Bishop THOMAS was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN (Khouri).
Bishop THOMAS served as assistant pastor of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St. George. Houston, Texas from August 1994 to August 1996.
On August 16, 1996, Bishop THOMAS was appointed pastor of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Pinellas Park, Florida.
Since 1996, Bishop THOMAS has served in various capacities in addition to his full-time clergy duties. He was appointed to the Archdiocese Youth Department Board; Spiritual Advisor to the Teen SOYO Southeastern Region, Director of St. Thelka’s Camp, Spiritual Advisor to St. John the Divine, Chairperson of the Tampa Bay Orthodox Clergy Association, Director of Programs in Pastoral Bioethics for the International Academy of Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine in the United States; Speaker at Braunels, Germany and University of Hong Kong on Bioethics; published articles on Christian Bioethics; speaker at Antiochian Village and third session camp priest for the last three years; past President and current Vice President of the Tampa Bay Council of Orthodox Churches; and currently a graduate student at California Coast University seeking a doctorate in education.
In July, 2002 Bishop THOMAS earned a Master of Arts degree in Applied Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies and The University of Balamand - St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology.
Bishop THOMAS was nominated to the sacred episcopacy at a Special Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese held in Pittsburgh, PA in July, 2004, and was elected to the episcopacy by the Local Synod of Bishops in October, 2004. He was consecrated as a bishop at the hand of His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus Syria on December 5, 2004.
On May 6, 2005 he was enthroned as the first Diocesan Bishop of Oakland, PA and the East.