Davenport, IL Priest Moves Fast to Join Russian Orthodox Church

Fr. John A. Peck | 19 February 2018

After 15 years as an Anglican priest, including six years as the rector of Trinity Church in Rock Island, the Rev. Thomas Janikowski is converting to Russian Orthodoxy.By the time he and his wife, Shelly, get back from a New York trip, he will be an ordained deacon and priest in the Russian Orthodox church’s Western Rite Communities.

He will celebrate the Liturgy of St. Gregory the Great on Sunday as a fully ordained priest of the St. Athanasius parish at 228 W. 15th St., Davenport. Sunday Matins will be sung at 8:15 a.m. with a Divine Liturgy at 9 followed by food and fellowship.

The church — once a tattoo parlor named “Joe’s Garage” — is a one-story building with plenty of parking next door, so no stairs are required, Rev. Janikowski said. Learning to speak Russian, he said, is not necessary; everything is in English.

Services are conducted largely by Gregorian chant or sung, with the church following the Julian calendar that has Jan. 7 as Christmas Day.

“We get all the nice days for Christmas shopping,” Rev. Janikowski said.

The church also practices more iconography, he said, and communion is served only to Russian Orthodox church members.

Rev. Janikowski was a choral scholar and said he feels extremely confident by chanting and singing everything. He said he’d always wanted to be in the Russian Orthodox Church body and particularly had felt drawn to it for the past 10 years or so.

The orthodoxy has remained undivided for 2,000 years, Rev. Janikowski said. It’s reverent and timeless, he said, yet remains mysterious.

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