Very Reverend Protopriest Seraphim Stephens
Fr. Seraphim is a founding member of St. Joseph of Optina Orthodox Church. The parish started in 1989 in his living room and until 1992 he lead Reader Services for the faithful who attended. When the parish became St. Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Church in 1992, he was ordained to the diaconate in January and to the priesthood in September of the same year. In 1994 the mission and Fr. Seraphim were received into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad by then Bishop Hilarion, in the presence of His Eminence, Metropolitan Vitaly.
Over the years Fr. Seraphim has helped start several missions including All Saints of North America, in Middle Brook, VA and the Akathist Chapel in Clearbrook, VA. He also has been an avid supporter of the Southern Deanery and St. Seraphim Russian Orthodox Youth Camp. Fr. Seraphim was privileged to assist in the development of and co-sign the Resolution of the Southern Deanery Clergy concerning the possible union with the Moscow Patriarchate, which was realized in 2007.
With over forty years of service, before his retirement in 2009, Fr. Seraphim served as an educator and administrator in the pubic school system as well as an adjunct instructor for several local university programs. He completed a Doctorate of Education from William & Mary and specialized in working with disadvantaged youth. In 2012 he was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Holy Resurrection Orthodox Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Matushka Zenobia, have four grown daughters and 8 grandchildren.