My name is Jacob Daniel Howell. I was born in San Jose, California, in 1992. I have grown up in the Orthodox Church my whole life, being baptized as a baby when my family converted. I lived in downtown San Jose, and attended St. Steven’s under Fr. Patrick Jackson. When I was 14, my family and I moved to Angels Camp where we attended St. Gabriel’s under: Fr. John Finley, Fr. Steven Howell, Fr. Polycarp, and Fr. Joseph Tanguay. At the age of 23 I moved out of my parent’s home down to San Diego to attend the University of St. Katherine, where I am currently a senior studying Art and Theology. I have been attending St. Anthony’s in Linda Vista under Fr. John Reimann for almost 4 years now. I have had experience serving as an acolyte since I was 12, and I have been serving at St. Anthony’s ever since I started attending.
At the age of 12 I decided to start helping serve as an acolyte. When we moved to Angels Camp St. Gabriel’s was very excited to have me come and help because all of the children who went there were too young and the priest had to serve the liturgy on his own. Because I was newer to being an acolyte I wasn’t of much help to the priest, I hadn’t the knowledge of the service, nor the drive to learn it to know when I need to hand the priest the censer, among other things. After a year I became discouraged and quit serving because I felt I wasn’t of much help. At the age of 19 I started heavily questioning my faith. A major impact on me was the time when Metropolitan Joseph (only a bishop at the time) came to visit St. Gabriel’s. He talked about being born in the Middle East surrounded by Orthodoxy and how you had to accept Orthodoxy for yourself. This was exactly what I needed to hear. From then on I knew I had to accept Orthodoxy as my own, instead of treating it like a family tradition that I just went along with. Soon after I would attend the OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) retreat in Dunlap, where I met many young people my age who were embracing Orthodoxy in the same way that I wanted to. This sparked my interest to learn more about my faith. From these retreats I learn about how to live a more Orthodox life.
I started to see Fr. Andrew Jacobs, who served at St. Susanna OCA at the time, as my father confessor because we didn’t always have a priest to serve every week at St. Gabriel’s. He instructed me to keep a prayer rule and to go to services regularly. At the age of 22 I went on a trip up to Vashon Island in Washington with my friends, to visit the All Merciful Savior Monastery and see Abbot Tryphon. It was a very impactful visit that helped me clear my misconceptions about monasticism. The visit further helped my drive to understand my faith. After that trip I came back to serving as an acolyte. The next year I moved out to go to the University of St. Katherine to further learn about my faith. I was asked after attending for a week or so at St. Anthony’s to help serve at Vespers as an acolyte and I have been serving every week since then along with helping at the chapel and liturgy services we have had at the school. I was made a subdeacon on February 3rd 2019 by Metropolitan Joseph.