Rev. Father Simon Thomas
Father Simon Thomas was born in Fresno, California in 1975, but three years later moved to Modesto, where he spent most of his childhood. He was raised in the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Modesto, where he served as an Acolyte, dancing and directing in the Greek Dance Program, all the while participating in JOY and GOYA.
Upon graduation from high school in 1993, Father Simon attended UC Davis as a Pre-Med student. While there, he realized that he truly did not want to be a doctor. His priest and Spiritual Father would often say, "Instead of being a physician of the body, why don't you become a physician of the soul?" As it turned out, after two years at UC Davis, he left for Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts, and the Seminary.
At Hellenic College, Father Simon completed two more very busy years (since there are not too many classes that will transfer from science to religion), receiving his B.A. in Religious Studies in 1997. After three more years at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, he graduated with a Masters of Divinity in 2000. In order to pay for his Seminary education, Father Simon worked full-time at the CVS Pharmacy in West Roxbury as Shift Manager from 1996-2000.
During his time at the seminary, Father Simon kept in touch with a young lady from his home parish. A relationship began that spanned thousands of miles from Boston to Modesto, which culminated in an engagement in the summer of 2000. As she was still in college, and had planned to spend a year studying abroad in Florence, Italy, Father Simon decided to spend a year in Thessaloniki, Greece. While there, he spent time continuing his education in the Greek language, culture, and services of the Church. He also had the unique opportunity to attend the Clergy-Laity Conference at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2000, assisting with the translation of the presentations from Greek to English.
When Father Simon returned to America, he accepted the position of Youth Director and Lay-Assistant under Father Peter Salmas at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Belmont, California. While there, he married his fiancée, Stephanie, in June 2002. He was later ordained to the Deaconate and the Priesthood on consecutive days in March, 2003. Both ceremonies were moving and very humbling experiences.
Father Simon was assigned that summer as the Assistant Priest under Father Steven Tsichlis at Saint Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, California. During his three years at St. Paul's, Father Simon was charged with the youth and young adults of the parish.
In August 2006, Father Simon began his ministry at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Santa Barbara, California. While supporting and developing the existing parish ministries, Father Simon worked with the parish to create several new ministries, including a Missions Committee (medical missions and fresh water wells in Tanzania), Spiritual Development Committee, and a Parish History Committee. Father Simon was given the Office of Confessor on December 4, 2006.
The summer of 2015 brought a new adventure, with the transfer to Memphis, Tennessee. Desiring to be closer to family in the South, Father Simon began his ministry at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in July of that year. Father Simon and Presvytera Stephanie are enjoying being Memphians with their three children.
Past Parish Priests
c. 1909: Father Angelopoulos
1911-1912: Rev. Fr. M.D. Mantillas & Rev. Fr. Liakopoulos
1916: Rev. Fr. Damianos A. Ermogenis
1917-May 1922: Rev. Fr. Dionisios Theodosiou
1923-1927: Rev. Fr. Antonios Papadimitriou
1927-1935: Rev. Fr. Timothy Houndras
1935-1939: Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Panos
1939-1942: Rev. Fr. Artemios Stamatiades
1942-1955: Rev. Fr. Bartholomew Karahalios
1955-1991: Rev. Fr. Nicholas L. Vieron
1991-1994: Rev. Fr. Milton Gianulis
1995-2011: Rev. Fr. Paul Christy
2012: Rev. Fr. Anthony Cook
2013-July 2015: Rev. Fr. James Berends
July 2015-Current: Rev. Fr. Simon Thomas