On Sunday, October 2, 2016, the pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Rev. Andrew Stephen Damick, was elevated to the rank of archpriest by His Grace, Bishop THOMAS, styling him The Very Reverend Archpriest Andrew and vesting him with a gold pectoral cross given by the faithful of St. Paul’s.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was led by Bishop THOMAS and concelebrated by Fr. Andrew, the Very Rev. Archpriest Olof H. Scott (dean emeritus of St. George Cathedral, Charleston, WV) and the Rev. Deacon David Keim (All Saints Church, Raleigh, NC). In his homily and other remarks, Bishop THOMAS commented on the meaning of being an archpriest, that he is expected by God to serve as an example to other priests, and also that God now expects an archpriest’s flock to be “arch-parishioners,” as well.
Festivities included a celebratory banquet in the afternoon, featuring remarks by Bishop THOMAS, Parish Council Chairman Subdeacon W. Patrick Maher, Dcn. David, Bill Damick (Fr. Andrew’s father) and Fr. Andrew, with Parish Council Vice Chairman Glenn Goodge acting as master of ceremonies.
About a dozen other clergy and more than one hundred of the faithful were present at the banquet with family and friends of Fr. Andrew traveling to be present. At the conclusion of the program, the faithful of St. Paul’s presented Fr. Andrew with a second pectoral cross to mark the occasion.
- “In Emmaus, Orthodox priest graduates to ‘the very reverend'”, from The Morning Call (including photos and video)
- “This Good News is Who I Am”, Fr. Andrew’s remarks upon his elevation
- Photo album, by St. Paul’s parishioner Beth Tucker
Fr. Andrew’s Biography, from the celebratory banquet program:
- Fr. Andrew was born in 1975 in Newport News, Virginia, to a U.S. Navy family that in 1983 became an Evangelical missionary family. He has lived in 23 homes across 15 towns, distributed among Virginia, New York, Ohio, the Pacific island of Guam, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
He is a 2001 graduate of North Carolina State University, with a BA in English Language and Literature, completing most of the coursework for a BA in Communication, and earning Minors in Religion, Classical Studies, and Ancient Greek. While in college and for some years after, he worked as a professional theatrical stagehand and lighting designer. During this time, he began reading about Orthodox Christianity and was received into the Orthodox Church at All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Raleigh at Pascha of 1998.
In May 2002, he met Nicole Ann Boury, the daughter of Bechara and Shirley Boury, and the two were married on August 17, 2003. Kh. Nicole has given birth to their three children, Evangelia (2007), Elias (2009) and Raphael (2012). Their fourth child is expected in March 2017.
Fr. Andrew is a 2007 summa cum laude graduate of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan, PA) with Distinction, with honors in the field of Church History. Aside from the standard coursework, he specialized in studying the history of Orthodoxy in America.
Fr. Andrew was ordained to the holy diaconate on October 30, 2005, by His Grace, Bishop THOMAS at St. George Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and to the holy priesthood on October 29, 2006, by His Grace Bishop ANTOUN at his home parish of All Saints Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
From 2007 to 2009, Fr. Andrew served as the Assistant Pastor at St. George Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, under the direction of the cathedral dean, the Very Rev. Olof H. Scott. In July 2009, he was appointed pastor of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.
Fr. Andrew is a co-founder and on the board of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas, and is a founding administrator of the OrthodoxWiki website, where he authored or made major contributions to more than 250 articles. He serves as a member of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Liturgics and Translations, and since 2013 has served as President of the Lehigh Valley Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood. Since 2007, he has served in the Communications Staff of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.
Fr. Andrew is the author of three books: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy (2011, 2nd ed. in 2017), An Introduction to God (2014) and Bearing God (forthcoming in 2017). He is host of the “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy” and “Roads from Emmaus” podcasts, as well as editor-in-chief and author (respectively) of weblogs by those same names. He is a sought-after speaker at lectures, conferences and retreats, particularly on comparative theology, evangelism, ecology, Church history, and other topics pertaining to Orthodox Christian spiritual life. He has been published in First Things and Word magazine, as well as numerous ecclesiastical newsletters and websites. His published work is used by teachers and catechists throughout America and abroad.