His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus, after many years of serving as a deacon and priest. His Eminence was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1950. He completed his basic schooling at the St. John of Damascus and al-Assiyeh schools in Damascus and then at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in Koura, Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Lebanese University in Beirut and then earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Tikhon Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania in May, 2010.

With the blessing of Pa​triarc​​h ELIAS IV of​ blessed memory, ​​Metropolitan PANTELEIMON​ (Rodopoulos) ordained him to be a deacon on December 4, 1976 in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Patriarch IGNATIUS IV of blessed memory​ ordained him a priest on December 10, 1980 in Damascus, Syria. The priest Joseph served as dean of St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus and as overseer of Holy Cross Church and other parishes in the suburbs of Damascus. He served as superintendent of the secondary school in Damascus from 1980 until 1983. He then went abroad to pastor the Antiochian Orthodox Church in London, England, from 1983 to 1986 and the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cyprus from 1986 until 1991, when he was elected to be a bishop.​​​​.. 

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Rev. John Valadez (Pastor)

Thank you for visiting our parish's website! Here is some information about me:

I entered into the Orthodox Church in 2006, being formerly a protestant attending Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and other house bible study groups. One of these groups met at a tattoo parlor and after the parlor closed for the day, we conducted a bible study late into the night. We were a group of eccletic types that came from various subcultures (punk rockers, metal heads, skateboarders, surfers, etc.), and really felt out of place in this world. Although we were all different, we had one thing in common: we wanted true Christianity. The various Protestant and "non-denominational" groups we attended felt more worldly than what one reads in the Book of Acts, and being extreme types and we wanted an extreme faith with spiritual depth. We were looking for the church of the Book of Acts where one reads about miracles, martyrdom, and sacrifice for the Gospel. We wanted so desperately the otherwordly faith of the Apostles. St Paul commands us to hold true to both written and oral traditions (2 Thess 2:15), so where were these traditions? Our Lord promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church (Matt 16:18), so does this Apostolic Church still exist? At first, we thought the answer was "no" because we only heard of Roman Catholicism or various types of Protestantism, but that assumption was proved wrong when we stumbled accross the Orthodox Church.

In coming to the Church, my friends and I continued a ministry to kids in music subcultures we used to be apart of. We wanted to show them the truth, and that real rebellion against this world was an ascetic rebellion, a rebellion against the flesh, a crucifixion to the world. This ministry is called Death to the World and still runs today. However, I wanted to serve the Church in a fuller capacity and after marrying my wife in 2012, and completing undergraduate studies in art history, we decided to take steps to enter into seminary. In 2015, we moved our family from Southern California to New York in order to attend St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. After completing a Masters of Divinity in May of 2018, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph assigned our family to St Timothy here in Lompoc. 

My wife and I are delighted to be a part of this community, and a part of the Lompoc community at large. We have three children, who are absolutely loving California life and making many new friends. I'd love to meet you in person, so please stop by St Timothy. We have a full calendar of events and services that I am sure will fit your busy schedule. 

V. Rev. John Sommer (Attached)