About Father Justin Patterson

Fr. Justin has been an Orthodox Christian priest since 2005 and pastor of St. Athanasius since 2006. Originally a native of Jacksonville, Florida, he joined the Orthodox Church as a college student at the University of Florida in the late 1990s. He met his wife, Tamara, in a Russian history class at the university and she also became Orthodox through the ministry of the Orthodox College Fellowship (OCF) in Gainesville.

Fr. Justin’s priestly formation includes one year (2002-2003) at St. Tikhon’s Seminary in Pennsylvania and two years (2003-2005) at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York. He and Matushka Tamara both graduated from St. Vladimir’s in 2005 with their MDiv and MA, respectively. The Pattersons have two sons, John-Patrick (b. 2004) and Ian (b. 2007.)

Since December 2006, Fr. Justin has served as pastor of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church (at that time a “mission” but now a “parish”) in Nicholasville, Kentucky, as part of the Diocese of the South of the Orthodox Church in America. In the years he has served St. Athanasius, Fr. Justin was able to shepherd the community through a building program, from a storefront-type existence into a proper church. Constant questions that Fr. Justin and his parishioners together have responded to each year include: How to maintain and expand the beautiful celebration of Orthodox divine services? How to organize church education programs for children and adults? How to provide opportunities for youth and young adults to grow spiritually? How to balance people’s busy lives with our Orthodox liturgical worship and the broader parish life? How to incorporate not only converts into the Faith, but also immigrants from Eastern Europe and elsewhere? How to keep the parish “open” both towards the Kingdom of God but also to the people around us—to be truly welcoming to all people?

In his years at St. Athanasius, Fr. Justin has worked hard to “go native” in Kentucky. He is active in the local community on various boards, among them the county food pantry. Fr. Justin has come to have a deep interest in Kentucky, its history, and its people. He is also gratified, during the recent years of his pastorate, that he was able to help wife Tamara pursue a juris doctorate degree at the University of Kentucky. In addition to her roles as mother and priest-wife, Matushka Tamara now serves as a Lexington-based lawyer.

Fr. Justin and Matushka Tamara are both musicians and enjoy—as a relic from their pre-ministry days—academic study of 20th-century Russian-Soviet history.

Current Service

  • Board Member of Leadership Jessamine County Program (2016-present)
    • Board Co-Liaison with 2017-2018 Class (2017-2018)
  • Appointed by Mayor to City of Nicholasville Ethics Board (2016-present)
  • Board Member of Jessamine County Food Pantry (2016-present)
    • Elected Vice-President of the Board (2017-present)
  • Led Parish Application for Telos Project Grant for Emerging Adults (awarded in 2017) and part of Parish Telos Leadership Team (2017-2020)
  • Participant in Orthodox Church in America representation to the Moscow Patriarchate (June 2018)

Past Service

  • Family Advisory Council at Red Oak Elementary School (School Years 2015-2016; 2016-2017, 2017-2018)
  • Lead Speaker at 2017 OCA Small Parish Forum in New Kensington, PA
  • Member & Graduate of Leadership Jessamine County Program (2015-2016)
  • Commissioned a “Kentucky Colonel” by the Governor (2016)
  • Speaker at 2016 OCA Small Parish Forum in Canton, OH
  • Speaker at 2016 Orthodox Youth Ministry Conference in Dallas, TX
  • Supervised Construction Project of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church (active construction 2013-2014)
  • Managed Capital Campaign Project of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church (2011-2016)
  • Assistant Priest at St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, TN (2005-2006)