March 30, 2007 : His Grace Bishop THOMAS Chrismates new parish into Orthodoxy in Warrenton, Virginia
On Friday, March 30, His Grace Bishop THOMAS received a congregation of forty-five people into the Orthodox Church at a Chrismation Service held in Warrenton, Virginia. Joining Bishop THOMAS in the Chrismation Service was Fr. Nicholas Alford of St. Gregory the Great Church Washington, DC, Fr. Alban Waggener of Holy Trinity Church Lynchburg, VA, Fr. Gregory McGregor of Saint Basil the Great Church, Poquoson, VA, and Fr. Gregory Matthews-Greene of Holy Cross Church, Linthicum, MD. Other Orthodox clergy were also in attendance. Besides the Orthodox faithful, other clergy and members of the community brought the attendance to over 150 people.
Bishop THOMAS presided over the liturgy and admonished the new converts that upon receiving the Holy Spirit and being brought into the Church they were given the gift to be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect. As the four priests anointed the catechumens with Holy Chrism the Bishop loudly chanted, “The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit!” again and again as the congregation shouted in joyful acclamation, “Seal!” With so many catechumens, this went on for some time until the large church reverberated with the sound of new life. The choirs of St. Gregory the Great and Holy Trinity led the congregation in ancient and beautiful Gregorian chant and Fr. Alford celebrated the Divine Liturgy. Most in attendance stayed for the reception that followed where gifts and blessings were exchanged over a Lenten meal.
The new mission is made up of former laity and several clergy from the Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC). Their search, as well as a long history of interest in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, led them to visit the clergy conference at the Antiochian Village last summer. Bishop THOMAS began to explore with them the possibility of beginning an Orthodox mission and visited them last fall. Fr. Nicholas Alford of St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Washington, DC was asked to hold catechism classes for the group.
The congregation started meeting in the basement of the pastor, Patrick Cardine, formerly a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. They soon found that this space was too small and Christ Church (Anglican) graciously allowed them to use their sanctuary on Sundays. The mission has now acquired their own space and held their first service on Palm Sunday, with Fr. Nicholas Alford celebrating the Divine Liturgy.
The new mission is a part of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. The Western Rite has grown by four new missions this past year and the mission in Warrenton is the first of several CEC congregations coming into the Church. As far as we know this is the first Orthodox Church in Warrenton, one of the fastest growing cities in VA. The new mission is strongly committed to being a vibrant witness of the Orthodox faith to their community. The congregation is made up of seniors, young couples, families and many children. The new mission already has a dynamic youth group underway that looks forward to becoming active in the community and Archdiocese.
The congregation is most grateful to all of those who have supported them in their journey, especially Sayedna THOMAS and Fr. Alford for their gracious ministry and care. To find out more about the new mission contact Patrick Cardine at: 703-819-0093 or Email.