Holy Ascension Mission Celebrates the Opening of a New Temple
On October 23, 2010, Sayedna Basil, Bishop of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid-America, was the celebrant the Thyranoixia (Opening the Doors of a Church Temple) at the newly completed Holy Ascension Orthodox Mission in Norman, Oklahoma. The V. Rev. Justin McFeeters, Pastor of Holy Ascension, the V. Rev. Constantine Nasr of St. Elijah Church of Oklahoma City, as well as other local Orthodox priests, assisted His Grace. Great Vespers followed immediately. Bishop Basil celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy the next morning.
A crowd of over 150 attended the blessing of the church building. Later that evening a banquet was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel with attendees from throughout the Diocese and included many local guests. In his keynote address, Bishop Basil commended the members of the congregation for their faith, hard work and commitment to the realization of this holy endeavor. The completion of the project is all the more amazing due to the extremely small size of the parish family.
The ground breaking ceremony for the new temple was held on January 29, 2009. Many obstacles were overcome in the construction project, including the relocation of a natural gas pipeline, delaying sever winter weather conditions, and forced compliance with innumerable local governmental regulations not actually appropriate for the building of a church. By the grace of God, the temple was completed with its first service of Great Vespers being served on Saturday, August 14, 2010.
The temple is over 7,000 square feet on two levels. The sanctuary occupies the upper level, and the lower level serves as the church hall, office and education space. The cruciform building is in traditional Byzantine style, topped by a dome and a five-foot Cross. The attractive architecture is unique in the Norman community.
Holy Ascension was made a mission station in January 2001, with Fr. Justin becoming priest-in-charge during Holy Week of 2002. The journey of establishing a permanent home for the mission began in 2004. Less than six years later we offer thanks to God for our new home.