On Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of November, His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, paid an archpastoral visit to Christ the Savior Church in Wayne, WV, accompanying the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. This was Bishop Nicholas’ first visit to Christ the Savior parish as a bishop.
His Grace’s visit was timed to celebrate an important milestone in the history of the parish: on July 3 of this year, Christ the Savior Church was able to purchase the property and church building from long-time parishioners Brendan and Brigit Thompson, who personally funded the construction of the church building in 2002 until such time as the parish would be able to reimburse them. That time finally arrived this year, and the transfer of ownership inaugurated a new chapter in the history of the parish, with expansion plans being unveiled during the luncheon on Sunday following hierarchical Liturgy. Both the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy were served in the presence of the Kursk Root Icon.
On Saturday night, Bishop Nicholas served the Vigil, co-served by Archimandrite Seraphim (Voepel; abbot of Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne), Priest Jonah Campbell (parish rector), Hieromonks Macarius (Ruegemer) and Paisios (Laiblin; clerics of Holy Cross Monastery), and parish clerics Protodeacon Jeremiah Davis) and Deacon Andrew Temple.
On Sunday morning, Bishop Nicholas celebrated Liturgy, co-served by Fr. Jonah, Hieromonks Gabriel (Hooten) and Paisios from Holy Cross, and Frs. Jeremiah and Andrew. During the Sixth Hour, parishioner John Warner was tonsured a reader and assigned to Christ the Savior Parish. At the Little Entrance, Fr. Jonah was awarded the right to wear the gold cross.
Upon conclusion of Liturgy, a diocesan gramota and icons of Venerable Brendan the Navigator of Clonfert and Brigid of Kildare were presented to Brendan and Brigit Thompson, through whose personal sacrifice the parish was able to exist and grow for 17 years. Fr. Jeremiah also presented a carved wooden pectoral cross to Fr. Jonah on behalf of the parish, offering their congratulations on his award. After the singing of the Polychronion to the Church hierarchy, to Brendan and Brigit and to the parish, Bp. Nicholas led a procession around the perimeter of the property with the Kursk Root Icon, calling down upon the parish and property the blessing of God as parishioners prepare to expand their efforts to share the light of the Orthodox Faith in Wayne County.
Following the procession, a bountiful luncheon was served by the parish sisterhood. Near the end of the meal, a short video was shown outlining the work that has been done through the parish food pantry over the past five years, during which it is estimated the Christ the Savior parish provided food assistance to more than 15,000 people in the local area. Fr. Jonah then led a discussion of a three-phase plan to increase the parish’s efforts in Wayne:
Phase I is designed to expand the food pantry’s efforts by building a parish hall on the front lawn, which will house the expanded food pantry and eventually enable the parish to provide hot food service to those struggling with food insecurity in the local area. A parking lot with 70 parking spaces would also be built during this phase. Phase II will focus on enlarging the church, which is already struggling with space due to recent growth. Phase III will focus on building a bell tower and completing landscaping and other beautification efforts. More information about this fundraiser will be announced soon.