Fr. James Hamrick Ordained to Priesthood


Maryland’s First Western Rite Orthodox Church Emerges

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On Sunday, August 23, 2009, Bishop THOMAS (Joseph) ordained James K. Hamrick to the Holy Priesthood in the Orthodox Church, Antiochian Christian Archdiocese.  The ordination ceremony was conducted during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint Basil the Great Orthodox Church in Poquoson, Virginia (near Newport News).  The host priest and pastor of the church, Father Gregory MacGregor, was one of Hamrick’s three priest sponsors.  Father MacGregor had introduced Hamrick to Holy Orthodoxy three years earlier during a family vacation to Williamsburg, VA.  At that time Hamrick was a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church and had just planted a new mission in Lewistown, Maryland named Lamb of God Church—all of this after having previously served as a United Methodist pastor for six years in the Harpers Ferry, WV area.

Hamrick’s other two priest sponsors for his ordination were present and included Father Patrick Cardine, pastor of St. Patrick Orthodox Church in Warrenton, VA; and Father Nicholas Alford, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Washington, DC, both of whom were also the catechists for Hamrick’s congregation when they made a decision to become Orthodox last year.  

Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba) approved Hamrick for ordination in June, and on July 15th, Bishop THOMAS ordained him a deacon at Saint Ignatius Church at Antiochian Village near Bolivar, PA.  Hamrick’s service as a deacon was short-lived as his ordination to the priesthood on Sunday culminated in Bishop THOMAS appointing him as the priest and pastor of the new Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Lewistown, MD. 

Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church is the first Western Rite Orthodox Church in Maryland, and only the second Orthodox Church in Frederick County (Ss. Peter & Paul Greek Orthodox Church being the other).  Western Rite Orthodoxy incorporates western vestments, hymns, chants, and liturgy that is more familiar to western people while remaining thoroughly Orthodox.

Hamrick said, “For the people of Saint John the Baptist who have endured a rather long and difficult journey, this doesn’t mark the end, but a fresh new beginning.  We’re excited about what God is doing—about being pioneers and evangelists—about bringing Holy Orthodoxy which is the faith of the Apostles and the ancient Church to the people of Frederick County living in the 21st century.”