Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and Supporters of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church,
Greetings from St. Nicholas parish!
With the closing of one chapter of our parish's history, so too do we open another. After four years of service at St. Nicholas, Father Stephanos Shagoury has been reassigned to St. Nicholas Monastery in North Fort Myers, Florida. We send him our thanks for his years of service, we wish him and his family a smooth transition to his new assignment, and we'll be praying for the continued sustenance and growth of St. Nicholas Monastery!
Vladika Hilarion has assigned to our parish Father Matthew Smith, previously assigned to St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA. Father Matthew was born in Montgomery, Alabama to Marshall and Joan Smith, the youngest of three children. Aside from his birthplace, Father also lived in Memphis, Tennessee before moving to Manchester, Connecticut where he spent the majority of his childhood.
Growing up in a non-religious household, Fr. Matthew found Orthodoxy as he was graduating from high school. He then enrolled at Hellenic College where he converted to Orthodoxy during his freshman year. During his studies at Hellenic College & Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts, Father Matthew met his wife, Kyra, the daughter of Father Stavros Rousos. They were married in 2006 and the Lord blessed them with their first child, Xenia, the following year.
Father Matthew was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by the hand of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion in October 2010 and to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace, Bishop George of Mayfield, in April 2011. Until 2014, Father served at the Protection of the Mother of God/St. Nektarios of Aegina Russian Orthodox Mission Church in Chattanooga. He has since been serving at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA. He currently works a secular job for UHS hospitals as an executive secretary.
Along with their daughter Xenia (age 8), Father Matthew and Matushka Kyra are the parents of - Aemilia (4), Micah (3), and Livia (4 months).
In addition, Father Matthew will also be accompanied by his father-in-law, Father Stavros Rousos. Father Stavros was born in Miami, Florida, and raised in the Greek Orthodox Church. After graduating from high school, Father studied at the Air Force Academy before attending Saint Tikhon's Seminary.
Father was ordained to the holy diaconate and the holy priesthood by Archbishop Kiprian (Borisevich) of blessed memory. Over his 30+ years of active ministry, Father Stavros has served parishes in the Russian (ROCOR & OCA), Greek (GOA), and Belarusian communities. Father is also fluent in Russian, and is often called upon to hear confessions in Russian.
We welcome both Father Matthew and Father Stavros to our parish!
And we invite each of you, our dear brothers and sisters, to offer your own welcome to our new priest and his family. Please come and pray with us at our services, meet and greet our new priests, and share in fellowship with our parish.
We pray that all is well with you and your family, and we hope to see you soon.
Wishing you a relaxing end to the summer.
With Love in Christ,
The Parish Council of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church