On Sunday October 5/18, the feast of the Holy Hierarchs of Moscow, Metropolitan Demetrius of America ordained Father Peter Gilstrap to the priesthood at Holy Transfiguration chapel in Owasso, Oklahoma. The chapel, founded by the late Father Mark Gilstrap, is the home of the congregation of St. James the Brother of our Lord. The congregation hosted His Eminence Metropolitan Demetrius and Father John Somers for services throughout the weekend.
Father Peter is the younger son of Reverend Presbyter Mark Gilstrap, who reposed on 22 August/4 September 2017. Father Peter began serving in the altar alongside his father, then a Deacon assigned to St. George’s church in Cincinnati, at two years old while the family lived in Bloomington, Indiana. In 1997, the family relocated to Owasso, OK and the parish of St. James was established. Father Peter has continuously served St. James since its inception: as an altar boy, Reader, Subdeacon and then Deacon. Father Peter was tonsured a Reader at the Cathedral of St. Markella's in Astoria, New York, by His Eminence Metropolitan Pavlos on September 28/October 10, 2009, and ordained as Subdeacon by His Eminence Metropolitan Demetrius on the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple in 2016 during an hierarchical visit to St. James. His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrius ordained Father Peter to the Diaconate on March 5/18, 2018 at the Monastery of St. John in Cobleskill, NY.
The weekend’s activities included vigil services Saturday night, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning followed by a luncheon and fellowship Sunday afternoon. Metropolitan Demetrius was able to stay for vigil services again on Sunday night, prior to departing early Monday morning. Throughout the weekend, guests were treated to inspiring messages and enlightening anecdotes from His Eminence as well as some personal commendations from Father John, who has served intermittently with Father Peter for more than three years.
Father Peter is trained in Architectural Engineering, and maintains secular employment as a structural consultant in Tulsa, OK. He and Matushka Genevieve have three young children, and reside in Owasso, OK.
In addition to the parishioners of St. James, many faithful travelled from around the large central region of the United States to be present at the Metropolitan’s visit. This ordination restores normative services to the St. James Parish, as well as provides a Priest in a clergy scarce portion of the Metropolis.
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