Alumnus Thomas Zaid Totonchy ordained on historic occasion for Syriac Church

Pradeep Hatcher

Photo: Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Western United StatesPhoto: Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Western United StatesOn Saturday, April 21, 2018, seminary Alumnus Deacon Thomas Zaid Totonchy was ordained to the holy priesthood. Fr. Thomas is the first American priest born of Syriac-Aramean parents in the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

Fr. Thomas was ordained at St. Mary's Syriac Orthodox Church, Orange, CA by the hand of His Eminence Archbishop Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, patriarchal vicar of the Archdiocese of the Western United States. His Eminence was assisted by Archpriest George Touma, the rector of St. Mary’s, and Priest Fadi Atto, the rector of St. Thomas Church of San Diego, CA. Fr. Thomas Totonchy has been assigned to serve at St. Mary’s Church following his ordination.

Fr. Thomas graduated from St. Vladimir’s Seminary with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree in 2016. Before attending St. Vladimir’s, Fr. Thomas served as a subdeacon at his home parish, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Portland, OR. His father, a deacon in the Syriac Orthodox Church who immigrated to the United States from Iraq, helped establish the parish. In the summer of 2015, Fr. Thomas and his wife, Khouria Jennifer, welcomed their daughter Josephine into the world. After graduating from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 2016, Fr. Thomas served as a deacon and youth minister for Syriac Orthodox parishes in the southern California area.

The St. Vladimir’s Seminary community wishes the newly-ordained Fr. Thomas and his family many years!

Read a beautiful paschal reflection Fr. Thomas wrote during his time at seminary here.