Episcopal Visit and Elevation at St. Paul Church + Emmaus, PA
The parishioners of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania had the supreme joy of combining their annual visit from their beloved father and chief-pastor His Grace Bishop Thomas with the elevation of their pastor Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick to the rank of Archpriest over the weekend of October 1st and 2nd, 2016 in recognition of his service to the parish and the Church as a whole. The pastoral visit began with Bishop Thomas' meeting with the men of the parish for breakfast on Saturday morning, and then with the women for lunch at midday. That evening, Fr. Andrew celebrated Great Vespers as Bishop Thomas presided from the throne.
The next morning Orthros was chanted and Bishop Thomas served Hierarchical Liturgy. Concelebrating were Fr. Andrew; the V. Rev. Archpriest Olof Scott, dean emeritus of St. George Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, where Fr. Andrew served his first two years as a priest; as well as Rev. Dn. David Keim of All Saints Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Fr. Andrew was received as a convert to Orthodoxy in 1998. Also assisting were seminarians Marshall Goodge and Joseph Clark. Shortly before the final dismissal, Bishop Thomas prayed over Fr. Andrew before giving him a pectoral cross, accompanied by shouts of "Axios! Mustahiq! He is worthy!" from the assembled congregation and visiting family. In his address following, Bishop Thomas stressed that archpriests are meant to serve as exemplars to other clergy, and their parishes as exemplars to other parishioners throughout the archdiocese.
That night a banquet was held in Archpriest Andrew's honor, with visiting clergy from across Pennsylvania and from several jurisdictions. Speakers included Sayedna Thomas; Parish Council President Patrick Maher, who presented Archpriest Andrew with a pectoral cross on behalf of the parish; and Archpriest Andrew's father Bill Damick. The night was capped off with Archpriest Andrew's own address, in which he referred to this event as his true graduation, referencing the words of Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory. After a closing prayer by Fr. Olof the whole assembly sang "Many years," expressing their hope that Fr. Andrew continue his ministry in Emmaus for many years to come.