Featured Mission: All Saints of North America, St. Louis, MO
Maryland Heights, MO
In early 2003, Fr. Peter Gillquist and the Department of Missions and Evangelism were contacted by some of the faithful in St. Louis about the possibility of beginning an all-English Orthodox mission the greater St. Louis area. The project was soon underway and in October of 2003, a core group of people met with Fr. Michael Keiser (mission priest) who then recommended to the Archdiocese that a mission be planted. On November 22 and 23, after several weeks of Readers services, the mission’s first Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy with a priest (Fr. George Geevarghese from Louisville, KY) were celebrated in the basement-turned-chapel at the home of one of the mission’s core members. The mission had been launched!
Over the course of the next year, the mission continued to meet at the basement chapel. The mission operated by flying in Orthodox clergy from various churches all over the country (Memphis, Louisville, Florida, Houston, etc.) as well as continued visits and guidance by Fr. Michael Keiser. The mission was also blessed with a visit by Bishop BASIL. In the summer of 2004, the mission had outgrown the basement chapel and services were then moved to a rented hall at the Holiday Inn – Westport in the northwest region of St. Louis. Sometime after the election and ordination of Bishop MARK to the episcopacy, it was decided that St. Louis would be under his omophorion and thus a part of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. In the fall of 2004, the search for a permanent space for the mission began. On the weekend of December 5, 2004, the first services were held at our current location. The property was remodeled to house a chapel and fellowship area. A regular liturgical cycle was made possible by the various visiting clergy. The search for a resident priest began.
In the summer of 2005, Fr. Steven Salaris (at that time serving at St. George Church in Albany, NY) was appointed as the mission’s first resident priest. In September of that year, Fr. Steven and his family moved to St. Louis. Fr. Steven “hit the ground running” with a mission of approximately 20 households, an active liturgical life, and an ongoing Christian education program. In early 2007, the growing mission underwent an expansion project and took on more space for classrooms and for worship. That same year, Daniel Morton was completing the St. Stephen’s Course and was ordained to the diaconate. In December of 2007, he was ordained to the priesthood and is attached to our mission functioning as a reserve priest for the greater St. Louis area. At present, we are blessed to have 39 households, 5 catechumens, and another expansion project (doubling our current space and seating capacity) is underway. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!