The Rev. Ted Toppses moved to Lewiston from a suburb of Washington, D.C. in the months immediately after 9/11.

Almost nine years later, the priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church has found a home in the small church at 155 Hogan Road and has found a warm community in which to raise a family. Toppses and his wife, Vicki, have two girls: Nicole, 8, and Julianna, almost 6. Later this month, Father Ted plans to lead a celebration of the parish’s 100th birthday.

Name: Rev. Ted Toppses

Age: 41

Hometown: East Greenbush, N.Y.

Current Town: Lewiston

Married, relationship or single? Married

Job: Priest, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

You grew up in a Greek Orthodox household. What are your first memories of the church?  My first memories are of my grandfather bringing me into the Altar as a young 6-year-old boy to serve. I remember the feeling of awe and amazement; wanting to learn as much as I could about what was going on in the service.

Was Greek a tough language to learn? How is it different than learning English?  Because my mother was born in Greece, Greek was my first language I learned as a child. I felt it was actually easier than English in many ways. I just think any language you are not immersed in seems harder to learn.

We all love Greek food.  What’s your favorite and why?  I love pasticho — a Greek type of lasagna — because of the way it tastes and the memories of my grandmother making it for us every Sunday. The warm cream sauce over the pasta and hearty meat sauce; it is the Greek comfort food.

When did you first consider the priesthood?  When I was a youth, about 8 years old, and then again when I finished high school. I was encouraged by my parents not to go yet, but to continue with my education before making a final decision about going to the seminary to become a priest. It was after I graduated from Sienna College and during my first job that I made my final decision to answer God’s call.

If you hadn’t become a priest, what career might you have chosen? I suppose I would have continued in the upper-level management program I was in with a major corporation. I had just finished their management training program when had to answer the call for God, so I left the job for the seminary.

What was your first impression of Lewiston-Auburn?  How has that impression changed?  In some ways it reminded me of my hometown of East Greenbush, N.Y. (a suburb of Albany). East Greenbush is a small town where everyone knows your name and your family. Lewiston was where my wife and I wanted to raise a family, and the pace in Lewiston is a lot slower and values are held more dearly than in the other metropolitan cities that we used to live in.

What do you do for fun?  I love to fish, bike, play tennis and play with my family. Oh, and I am a big hockey fan and just love the Maineiacs!

Can you do the Zorba dance?  I used to do this dance many, many years ago, but haven’t done it for years. As a Greek Orthodox priest, I am restricted to dancing only certain types of dances — not to make a spectacle of one’s self. You may see me dance once or twice with my wife at a wedding, but rarely do I dance the Greek dances.

In an area like L-A, where many people are uninformed about the Greek Orthodox Church, are people surprised to learn that you are a priest and married with children?  It was really shocking when we first moved here and people assumed I was a Catholic priest (because I wear a collar). I would get stares when I would be holding my wife’s hand in public and I would be with my children. They would assume the worst! But now that we have been here for almost nine years, I think people do recognize me as the Greek Orthodox priest, and in the Orthodox Church we do have married clergy. I usually get positive reactions.

You seem like such a positive person. What keeps you so happy?  Oh, I do have my down times now and then, but I think when I am happy, I feel that I am doing something very special and worthwhile. God carries me through and gives me strength to share his love. I am happy to be with people because each person is a special gift from God, a relative in God’s family. We all share in each other’s pain and joy. I am so grateful that God has given me such a gift of sharing his love with others.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.