Rev. Father Thomas J. Zaferes will become Proistamenos of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension in Oakland, California. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos announced that Father Tom’s first Divine Liturgy in Oakland will be on Sunday, September 13, 2009.
For the past 12 years, Father Tom served as proistamenos at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Syracuse, NY. Father Tom led two Bible Study programs each week, a Men’s Study Group, and coordinated a Sunday Night Lecture Series featuring local Orthodox Clergy. The youth ministry at the parish included GOYA, JOY, Sunday School, Greek School, and an OCF chapter at Syracuse University.
Just prior to moving to Syracuse in 1991, Father Tom led a mission to Ghana where his team constructed a residence and offices for the church in the capital city of Accra. Upon his return, he continued his ministry at the parish of Saint Sophia in San Antonio, Texas, which was blessed with over 50 converts in a three-year period. Father Tom also served at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Chattanooga, TN, during which time the parish tripled in size from 36 to 115 steward families. Father Tom’s ministry began in the Metropolis of San Francisco in the summer of 1983 at Saint Nicholas in Northridge, California. While at Saint Nicholas, Father Tom worked with the GOYA, dance groups, youth basketball league, YAL, taught religion in the parochial school, and supervised building maintenance, in addition to his liturgical and sacramental responsibilities.
“I am excited to be returning to the west coast and am humbled to be following in the footsteps of Father [Thomas J.] Paris, who had a remarkable ministry in Oakland for so many years. The Parish Council and I share the vision and desire to continue accomplishing the work of the Church, bringing people closer to Christ and ultimately to salvation in Him,” stated Father Tom. “I am especially blessed to be serving under His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, whom I met when I first arrived at the Seminary. He was always a joyful person, who we turned to for guidance and insight on our path to the Holy Priesthood. I know that I can continue to rely upon His Eminence as a spiritual father and mentor as I begin this new chapter in my ministry.”
Father Tom graduated from Holy Cross School of Theology in 1983, after completing his undergraduate studies in 1978 with a Composite Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Theology from Hanover College in southeastern Indiana. He is blessed with a talented and loving wife, Presvytera Julie (Hourdakis), who is a registered nurse, and also has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University – Northridge in Religious Studies. Father Tom and Presvytera Julie have four children – Demetri, Katerina, and twins Melissa and Christopher. Father Tom is an amateur photographer, football fan, and enjoys reading novels and biographies.
(August 7, 2009, press release of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco)