Thomas (Joseph) of Charleston and Oakland
His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Thomas (Joseph) of Oakland and the East (b. 1953) is a diocesan bishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
Of Arab-American extraction, Bp. Thomas was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1953. He attended John F. Kennedy High School there and graduated in 1970. He then went on to college at William Paterson College, graduating in 1974. After college, he worked in the Department of Community Improvements in Paterson, and then served as a teacher for the Paterson Board of Education. When the Antiochian Village camp opened in the late 1970's, he was recruited by Fr. John Namie to serve as one of the original camp counselors from 1979 to 1982.
In the Fall of 1979, Thomas began part-time study at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and was made a subdeacon by Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) of New York in July of 1982. He then continued his studies until Spring of 1983, when he was assigned to Virgin Mary Church in Yonkers, New York.
In 1984, Metr. Philip assigned to him St. George Church in Houston, Texas, where he served as Director of Christian Education and Youth Services. DWhile in Texas, the Archdiocese also assigned him to oversee Christian Education and then later teen activities for the churches in the Southwest Region (now the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America). In July of 1988 Thomas was ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Michael (Shaheen) of Toledo.
On August 28, 1994, Bishop Antoun (Khouri) ordained Dcn. Thomas to the priesthood, and Fr. Thomas served as assistant pastor at his parish there in Houston until August of 1996, when he was appointed pastor of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Pinellas Park, Florida (near St. Petersburg).
Between 1996 and his consecration to the episcopacy, Fr. Thomas served in multiple capacities aside from his work as a pastor. He was appointed to the Archdiocese Youth Department Board; Spiritual Advisor to the Teen SOYO Southeastern Region; Chairperson of the Tampa Bay Orthodox Clergy Association; Director of Programs in Pastoral Bioethics for the International Academy of Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine in the United States; Speaker at Braunels, Germany and City University of Hong Kong on Bioethics; published articles on Christian Bioethics; Speaker at Antiochian Village and third session camp priest for the last three years; past President and current Vice President of the Tampa Bay Council of Orthodox Churches. In July 2002 Fr. Thomas was granted a Master of Arts degree in Applied Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies, the Balamand Seminary and the St. John of Damascus School of Theology.
On February 15, 2004, Fr. Thomas was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Bp. Antoun, and on December 5, 2004, he was consecrated to the episcopacy by Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch in Damascus, Syria.
Bp. Thomas was enthroned as Bishop of Oakland and the East at St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh (Borough of Oakland), Pennsylvania, on May 6, 2005. His Grace's residence is at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
- Biography of Father Thomas Joseph, from St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, in St. Petersburgh, Florida
- Diocese of Oakland and the East
- The Road From Damascus: A Report from the Delegation to Damascus to Consecrate Three New Bishops for North America (at which Bp. Thomas was consecrated), by Fr. John Oliver
- Bishop of Oakland, East to be enthroned tonight, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (May 6, 2005)
- Antiochian Orthodox bishop will be enthroned, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (April 15, 2005)