Dear Brothers and Sisters!
On behalf of our parish, I am asking for your help.
We are a multi-ethnic parish with members who are from not only Russia, but many Eastern European countries, and a number of converts to the Orthodoxy who are right here from the “deep south” and from other parts of the country.
The history of our parish – Antiochian at that time - dates back to 1989. The first church was the living room of its first priest – Fr. Seraphim Stephens, and was called St. Ignatius the God-bearer. As the parish grew too large for the living room, it rented a Filipino fish market. While there, the parish was accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. To begin saving money for our own church building, the parish moved the church into the priest’s garage.
After the unification of ROCOR and the Moscow Partiarchate in 2007, the parish got its present name - St. Joseph of Optina Russian Orthodox Church. Parishioner Kyrill Johnson began building the wooden church. But soon the fire department banned our use of the wooden building as a public assembly.
The parish was then offered a Quonset Hut that was on the property of a Protestant church. The parish was there for about a year and a half, and then moved into one of Norfolk's DePaul Hospital's conference rooms. Then Fr. Seraphim contacted the Greek Church in Norfolk about the possibility of our using their St. Theodore Chapel for Saturday Vigil and Sunday Liturgy.
During all these years we have been keeping a building fund, and the main dream of our parish is to buy a separately standing spacious building for divine services. Our building fund has about $80,000 now, and we realize that we are in a vicious circle. We can’t increase fund balance because we don’t have enough people, but there is not enough space to welcome more people. Moreover, we don’t have enough space for a Sunday school, or even burial services.
We ask you to donate for our building fund. If our parish gets the building, your name will be mentioned at each Liturgy among others benefactors’ names while the temple will exist.
God grant you many years.
Priest Sergiy Kosov, Rector St. Joseph of Optina Russian Orthodox Church.