St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church
24 Burke Road, Freehold, NJ 07728
/ Eternal Memory Father Robert E Lucas
Obituary -- Father Robert E Lucas

Father Robert E Lucas

December 2, 1937 -- December 6, 2023

In Blessed Repose Grant O Lord, Eternal Rest To The Soul of Your Departed Servant Father Robert E Lucas and Remember Forever!

May He Rest with All The Saints in Heaven.

Watch the Funeral Service of Very Reverend Robert E Lucas


OBITUARY: The Very Reverend Robert E Lucas
Longest Serving Soul Passes Into Eternity
December 2, 1937 - December 6, 2023

Reaching over 64 years of service in the active priesthood, Father Robert E Lucas, pastor of Saint Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church, died after a brief illness.

The Very Reverend Robert E Lucas was born to Anna (Rjabec) and John Lucas (Lukacs) on December 2, 1937 in Scranton, PA. From his very early childhood, he felt a calling to the priesthood and committed his young life to his budding vocation by first serving Our Lord on the altar as an acolyte at Saint Nicholas Church, his home parish.

Father Robert was an alumnus of West Scranton High School where he was elected class president in his sophomore year. Upon graduation at age 17, he entered the Orthodox Christian Seminary of Christ the Saviour in Johnstown, PA. It was there he met his lifelong best friend, our diocese’s Metropolitan Nicholas of Blessed Memory. Over the decades, it was our family’s joy to witness their dedicated friendship and shared devotion to our people’s language, customs and culture. We will always fondly remember the sounds of them singing their beloved prostopinije chant together.

Father Robert possessed a zealous commitment to learning and education, both for himself and especially as a teacher to others. After his commencement from the seminary with a Licentiate of Sacred Theology, he completed his undergraduate studies and earned his Master’s degree at Villanova University, and then pursued his Doctorate at Fordham University. Throughout his life, he was celebrated for his exceptional writing talent, contributing an abundance of articles and essays to numerous Orthodox and Catholic regional and national publications. Most notably, his weekly church bulletins were a labor of love, and the sermons he preached were composed and reverently delivered with both keen scholarship and great care.

On June 13, 1959, Seminarian Robert was joined in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to Marlene Zuder at her home church of Saint George, Taylor, PA. Throughout his life, Pani Marlene was a faithful and devoted companion, cheerfully serving alongside him in immeasurable ways throughout his ministry, truly “clothed in strength and dignity” (Proverbs 31-25).

He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Metropolitan Orestes P. Chornock, D.D. of Blessed Memory on July 4, 1959 in a historic and unprecedented event of three men being elevated at the same time.   Later that month, he celebrated his first Divine Liturgy at Saint George.

Father Robert’s early assignments were to Saint Mary Church in Morgantown, WV and Saint Michael Church in McKeesport, PA. He then led Saints Peter & Paul in Levittown, PA, where he designed and oversaw the building of both a rectory and church. He was a regular columnist and contributor to the Church Messenger, the diocesan newspaper. After being accepted into the Eparchy of Passaic by John Cardinal Krol in 1969, he then went on to found Nativity of Our Lord in East Brunswick, NJ, where he again designed and built a rectory and directed the restoration of the church’s interior. While at this assignment, he was appointed as the diocesan Director of Family Life, and was the organizer and administrator of the annual diocesan altar boy retreat. While remaining full-time pastor of Nativity of Our Lord, he founded and grew the mission parish of Saint Andrew the Apostle in Lakewood, NJ for over 10 years (now Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Toms River, NJ) and was an instructor at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ. Even during this busy stage of life, Father Robert expanded his service to others as a social worker at the Essex County (NJ) Welfare Department for over 30 years.

Following over 22 years of service in East Brunswick, he was assigned to Saint Nicholas in Roebling, NJ, and then to Doylestown, PA where he planted the mission church of Christ the Saviour.

After coming home to the Diocese of Johnstown, his ultimate assignment was to Saint Paul the Apostle in Freehold, NJ, where he once again oversaw a building improvement project, renovating the church’s interior, kitchen and fellowship hall. During this period, he wrote his memoirs and recorded diocesan history. He served the community of Saint Paul for over 23 years, and celebrated his final Divine Liturgy on November 19th, just 4 days before he fell ill and was hospitalized. At the time of his death, Father Robert was the longest-serving active priest in the history of our diocese.

A man of myriad interests, his collection of fine art, Rusyn artifacts, rare liturgical items, holy icons, chalices, crosses, and a vast personal library of Slavic history books brought him great delight and he enjoyed sharing his curator's enthusiasm and appreciation of earthly beauty with all. He also cultivated an entrepreneurial spirit as a real estate investor in his much-loved hometown of over 45 years, New Hope, PA.

Father Robert will be dearly remembered by all as a scholar, mentor, nurturer of vocations, theologian, role model, church builder, diocesan historian, family patriarch, and unwavering believer. “Well done, you good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

Father Robert’s passing was blessed and peaceful. His last thoughts were of his Saviour, and he had been speaking of heavenly things even while he slept.

He is survived by his beloved wife of over 64 years, Pani Marlene (Zuder) Lucas; three devoted daughters, Nina M. Lucas, Elizabeth Lucas Simon, Kyra Lucas Choti and her husband Joseph; Very Reverend Protopresbyter Myron Zuder, beloved Brother-In-Law and wife Pani Dolores Zuder; dear friends and trusted companions Subdeacon Daniel J. Korba and his wife Marilyn and the Very Reverend Gregory J. Noga; grandson Christopher M. Simon and his wife Abigail, great-grandchildren Lewis, Hannah and Henry Simon; grandchildren Katherine G. Simon, Nadya Choti Breno and her husband Subdeacon Alex, Alexander Lucas Choti, Sophia R. Choti, Sarah A. Harrison and Tatyana Lucas Harrison; cherished cousin Dianne DeAngelis; his brother Michael Lucas; and several nieces and nephews. He is pre-deceased by his parents, John and Anna Lucas, his brother John Lucas, and his sisters Marion (Lucas) Younce and Anna Lucas.

Calling Hours will be held on Saturday, December 16th from 8:30 - 10:30 amFuneral Services will be held on Saturday, December 16th at 10:30 am
Saint George Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church743 South Keyser AvenueTaylor, PA 18517It was Father Lucas’s request that no flowers be sent. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to:Saint Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church24 Burke RoadFreehold, NJ 07728

Make a Donation To St Paul In Honor of Father Robert E Lucas


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