Our Priest

Our priest: Fr. Peter Simko

Father Peter Simko grew up at Saint John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Church in Youngstown, Ohio, and he met his future wife, Chelsea, at Case Western Reserve University. Both participated in OCF and attended Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral—and both visited many other Cleveland-area parishes, including Saint Innocent. Upon graduating, they both landed in Columbus, where Peter worked as a civil engineer and Chelsea worked as a social worker.

In Columbus, the couple attended Saint Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church (in fact, their first Sunday attending was the final Sunday that Father Alessandro and Matushka Anna were there before heading to seminary!). Chelsea, who had been raised Methodist, entered the Orthodox Church in 2012, and the two were later married in 2014. Peter and Chelsea gradually became involved in a number of parish ministries, helping out wherever they could: Peter especially enjoyed singing in the choir and teaching Church school with Chelsea, while Chelsea worked hard serving on the parish council. In late 2017, once he had completed the Saint Macrina Institute coursework through the Diocese of the Midwest and the Diaconal Vocations Program, Peter was ordained to the subdiaconate and (after much nudging and convincing) the couple announced their intention to attend seminary at Saint Tikhon’s.

The following summer, they moved to Pennsylvania for Peter to attend Saint Tikhon’s, while Chelsea did full-time administrative work for Delta Gamma Sorority from their home. Peter, while completing his studies over the three years, led the planning of an Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement retreat at his school, served on the student government and was blessed to visit Thessaloniki and Mount Athos. He sang for the resident rock band, the Dogmatix, but also sang in the Mission Choir—having the opportunity to travel throughout parts of the Midwest and northeast—as well as a number of other choir groups as the lead baritone. He was a student conductor, spending a summer directing at Saint Michael’s in Jermyn, Pennsylvania, and he was the project manager for Benedict Sheehan’s Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom premier, CD recording, and concert tour to New York and Washington. He is presently completing a Master’s Project on the Health of Sacred Music Programs in U.S. OCA Parishes. Working on the seminary’s media team, he handled the Music at Saint Tikhon’s and school Facebook pages, took photos and wrote articles for the school website, and also helped publish two booklets. Peter assisted in getting the school’s classes online during the pandemic and served informally as “tech support.” After being asked by Saint Tikhon’s Monastery to coordinate the 2020 Memorial Day Pilgrimage before it was cancelled, Peter was then asked to assist with the live streaming of monastery services on the monastery and OCA Facebook pages and YouTube channels from Holy Week until Pentecost.

Peter was ordained to the Diaconate by Archbishop Paul in January of 2020 at Saint Gregory of Nyssa in Columbus, and he was then ordained to the Priesthood on the Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God by Bishop Alexis. Father Peter, Matushka Chelsea, and their two cats have greatly benefitted from their time in Northeast Pennsylvania, but look forward to the road ahead.

Contact Fr. Peter at: