Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
Photos and Recap of Bishop Paul's Visit to Christ the Savior

March 28-29, 2015


Strong parish turnout and a shining church greeted His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest for his first visit to Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit. On Saturday, His Grace enjoyed supper with the Parish Council, before presiding at Saturday evening Great Vespers. After Vespers, Bishop Paul shared with us a little about himself and conducted a Q&A session with parishioners.

* See photos of Bishop Paul's visit on our Photo and Video Gallery Page.

On Sunday, His Grace was greeted by Parish Council President Ellyn Gillette with the traditional gift of bread and salt, and Fausta and Fiona Fenner bearing flowers on behalf of the parish youth.

At the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace tonsured Paul Gansle, Johnothon Sauer, and Stephen Wendland as Readers, the first stage of ordination in the Orthodox Church. Paul, Johnothon and Stephen are enrolled in the OCA Diaconal Program.

After Liturgy, a wonderful lenten meal was enjoyed by all.

We thank His Grace for his archpastoral visit, and hope he returns soon and as frequently as his busy schedule allows!

Eis Polla Eti Despota!

Proceed to our Photo and Video Gallery for more photos...

Scroll down for more on Bishop Paul...


Join us as we welcome Bishop Paul, March 28-29!

His Grace, Bishop Paul (Gassios)
His Grace, Bishop Paul (Gassios)
His Grace, Bishop Paul (Gassios)
March 27, 2015


Bishop Paul to visit Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit, tonsure new Readers in Diaconal Program

Saturday, March 28 through Sunday, March 29

His Grace, Bishop Paul, will arrive in Cincinnati late Saturday morning. After a lunch and getting settled at a nearby hotel, he will come to the church for a meal with the parish council at 4:30 p.m.

We will then serve Great Vespers at 6:00 p.m. We have scheduled a Q & A session with His Grace for immediately after the service. If you have a good question for Bishop Paul, please prepare it for Saturday evening.

Everyone should make an effort to be in the church about five-ten minutes before 9:00 a.m. this coming Sunday in order to greet Bishop Paul when he enters the church in order to prepare for the Divine Liturgy.

Following the Liturgy, His Grace will again briefly address the parish with our Church School students present.

Tonsuring New Readers: Three of our parishioners will be tonsured readers at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy. These will be our three diaconal candidates: Paul Gansle, Johnothon Sauer and Stephen Wendland.

Following the Divine Liturgy we will serve a lunch in honor of Bishop Paul's presence among us.

We hope you can join us, for the visit of our Bishop presents the very image (icon) of the New Testament Church. As St Ignatius the God-bearer said in his epistle to the Church at Smyrna:

"Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."


Bishop Paul at his Consecration
Bishop Paul at his Consecration
Bishop Paul at his Consecration
The Holy Synod including Bishop Paul
The Holy Synod including Bishop Paul
The Holy Synod including Bishop Paul
Fr. Thomas Hopko reposes in the Lord

March 18, 2015

Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko
March 18, 2015


Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY, and noted Orthodox Christian priest, theologian, preacher, and speaker, fell asleep in the Lord on the afternoon of March 18, 2015.

Father Thomas was the beloved husband of Matushka Anne [Schmemann] Hopko. They were married on June 9, 1963. Together, Father Thomas and Anne are the parents of five children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Thomas John Hopko was born in Endicott, NY, on March 28, 1939, the third child and only son of John J. Hopko and Anna [Zapotocky] Hopko. He was baptized and raised in Saint Mary’s Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church and educated in Endicott public schools, graduating from Union-Endicott High School in 1956.

Father Thomas graduated from Fordham University in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in Russian studies. He graduated with a theological degree from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1963, from Duquesne University with a master’s degree in philosophy in 1969, and earned his doctorate degree in theology from Fordham University in 1982.

Ordained to the Holy Priesthood in August 1963, Father Thomas served the following parishes as pastor: Saint John the Baptist Church, Warren, OH (1963–1968); Saint Gregory the Theologian Church, Wappingers Falls, NY (1968–1978); and Saint Nicholas Church, Jamaica Estates, NY (1978–1983). Father Thomas was honored with the clerical rank of Archpriest in 1970 and the rank of Protopresbyter in 1995.

Beginning in 1968, Father Thomas began his long service to Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Over the years, Father Thomas held the following positions: Lecturer in Doctrine and Pastoral Theology, 1968–1972; Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1972–1983; Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1983–1991; Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1991–1992; Dean, Rector of Three Hierarchs Chapel, and Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1992–2002.

During his years of priestly ministry, Father Thomas authored numerous books and articles. Most well known of these publications is The Orthodox Faith: An Elementary Handbook on the Orthodox Church. A prolific speaker and preacher, he spoke at conferences, retreats, public lectures, and Church gatherings of all kinds, many of which were recorded. Father Thomas performed countless duties on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, including representing the Church at intra-Orthodox gatherings and ecumenical meetings.

Upon retirement, Father Thomas and Anne moved to Ellwood City, PA, where they lived near the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, and Father Thomas began a new ministry: internet-based Orthodox Christian radio talks. Since 2008, Father Thomas had produced well over 400 podcasts for Ancient Faith Radio.

Read the full memorial obituary on


Additional Links:

In Memoriam: Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko (OCA)

The Hopko Family Blog: Updates on visitation, service schedules and funeral. You can also read back through prior entries to see how Fr. Thomas and his family approached his death. It is very edifying and instructional for Christian families to see how a pious churchman was surrounded by loved ones and clergy during his final weeks and days, how he strived to attend the divine services, how even standing to receive Holy Communion just a week before his repose was a great blessing to him, etc.

Holy Transfiguration Monastery page on Fr. Thomas Hopko: full schedule of services and visitation, area hotels, and info is now posted on live streaming and YouTube archiving of all funeral services, beginning Friday, March 20.

Occasional Lectures of Fr. Thomas Hopko (AFR)

Podcast Series: Speaking the Truth in Love (AFR)

Podcast Series: The Names of Jesus (AFR)

Podcast Series: Worship in Spirit and Truth (AFR)

SVS Press Books and CDs by Fr. Thomas Hopko

Lenten Readings

A "classic" by Archbishop Kallistos Ware
Perhaps one of the best all-around essays on Great Lent was written by Archbishop Kallistos Ware as an Introduction to his translation of The Lenten Triodion (the book that provides the hymnography and scriptural readings for Great Lent).  The article has the simple title of "The Meaning of Great Lent," but is already a kind of "classic" as Archbishop Ware offers brilliant insights into the nature of meaning of fasting within the context of our preparation for the great paschal mystery.  If you search hard enough, you could probably find this article somewhere on the internet.  (If you undertake that search, let me know if you find it!).  However, some years back our dear friend Mother Paula (formally Vicki Bellas) created an excellent summary of the most essential points of the article in a very accessible and "handy" version.  She was able to convey the content of the article in a "reader-friendly" form so that everyone can gain access to Archbishop Ware's teaching without the full article at hand. 
Therefore, to share this with everyone, I am attaching this shortened version from Mother Paula so that you can carefully read through it, gain new insight into Great Lent, and perhaps make provisions for incorporating some of this teaching in your upcoming Lenten efforts.  As in all insightful writing on Great Lent, we find ourselves quickly moving beyond the "rules of fasting," and into the deepest realms of repentance, conversion, renewal, etc. 
If you have any furthers questions, or would like to discuss anything that you read in this article, please feel free to contact me.
Besides the Bible What Other Book Are You Reading for Great Lent?
Turning again to another "classic" - Great Lent by Fr. Alexander Schmemann - I would like to share what he briefly writes there about "Lenten reading:"
    It is also a good time to read a religious book.  The purpose of this reading is not only to increase our knowledge about religion; it is  mainly to purify our mind
    from all that which usually fills it.  It is simply incredible how crowded our minds are with all kinds of cares, interests, anxieties, and impressions, and how
    little control we have over that crowd.  Reading a religious book, concentrating our attention on something entirely different from the usual contents of our
    thinking, creates by itself another mental and spiritual atmosphere.  - (Great Lent, p. 91)
Too much pop culture?  Sports?  Politics?  Internet reading?  A good theological/spiritual book would be the perfect remedy for the over-crowded mind alluded to by Fr. Schmemann. 
Speaking of good Lenten reading, there are many excellent choice in our parish bookstore. We will try to have about three copies of Fr. Schmemann's Great Lent on hand in the near future (I believe that we do have one copy available right now).  There are many other good choices already available there on theology, spirituality, liturgy, iconography, patristics, etc.
There is also the possibility of simply reading some good literature, like one of the enduring classics of our Western tradition.  These enduring classics are read to this day precisely because of what they reveal about "life."  There is often a hidden "theology" there that can penetrate or minds and hearts in an imperceptible but satisfying manner. (Of course, the greatest example of such a work would be The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky).
In addition, we have slowly and steadily built up an impressive library catalogued downstairs in the parish library section of our Education Center.  Could I assist you in finding just the "right book" out of our library?  Please let me know
Psalter Group

If you're interested in participating in the Psalter group for Lent this year, Jennifer Haynes is coordinating groups to begin the first day of Lent. About the group:


The Psalms are divided into 20 sections called a kathisma. These 20 sections are divided into a group of approximately 9 Psalms (1 kathisma = 9 Psalms). You would be assigned a kathisma number to begin reading the Psalter. For example, if I assigned you #10, you would read the Psalms listed 71-77 (King James Version) for day 1 of Lent. The next day you would move onto Kathisma 11 (Psalms 78-85), & so throughout Lent. I will have a printed handout to give to you with numbering of the Psalter if you don’t own a Psalter book. This would be done every day throughout the 40 day fast. By end of Lent, you would have read the entire Psalter twice.


The prayers are made in the privacy of your home in your icon corner sitting down (kathisma = seated). You may pray the Psalms at  any time of day ~ whenever you’re able. Some people pray best at night. Others pray best in the morning. If you’re in between like me, mid-day is best.
You’d begin the prayers with the Trisagion Prayer, followed by your prayers for others in your kathisma group, ending with psalms assigned for the day. As you pray for others, be encouraged that others in the group are praying for you. Please don’t become discouraged if you miss some days, it takes time to build a habit and anything you read is more than you would have read if you hadn't signed up! Weekends are my weak spot.

If you're interested in this spiritually edifying experience, please contact Jennifer.

local Orthodox evangelism

Dear Parish Faithful,
Here is an example of local Orthodox evangelism being carried out by our parishioners, Jacob & Adalia Boehne.  Please keep their ministry in your prayers.
Fr. Steven

The Church School is collecting Christmas cards from 2014 to be recycled and made into new cards for Christmas 2015!  If you received cards at your home this year that you would like to donate, please put them in the box on the table in the parish hall by the education center door labeled “Christmas Card Donations”.  The children will recycle (cut the fronts off and glue to them to a new blank card) to hospitals, nursing homes or other worthy organizations next Christmas.
If you have questions about this project please ask Kris Gansle.


FR. ROMAN BRAGA REPOSES IN THE LORD - (April 28) Visit our special page dedicated to the memory of this beloved holy elder of our times, who fell asleep in the Lord just after Pascha. Brief life, plus numerous links to Fr. Roman's writings, books, and interviews.