The 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!