The parking lot at Saint Athanasius Church was overflowing the weekend of January 31-February 1, 2015 as Orthodox Christians and their friends from across Kentucky and beyond celebrated the formal dedication of the community’s new church building.
The community—the Orthodox Church in America’s first in the Commonwealth of Kentucky—is starting it’s 14th year as a parish of the OCA.
“While we have occupied our new north Nicholasville premises for the past six months, we delayed our formal dedication until this past weekend, after a substantial part of the iconography,” said Priest Justin Patterson, Rector. “We also wanted to ensure that His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon, Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South, and His Grace, Bishop Mark of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, a friend of the parish, could be present to lead the festivities.”
On Saturday, January 31, Archbishop Nikon presided at Great Vespers and a Pan-Orthodox Dedication Service. In addition to Bishop Mark and Father Justin, others present included Archpriest Marcus Burch, Diocesan Chancellor; Priest David Arnold, Appalachian; Igumen Seraphim, Abbot of Holy Cross Hermitage [ROCOR], and several members of the monastic brotherhood; and clergy and laity from three other jurisdictions. Father Justin also welcomed several local ministers representing other Christian traditions and the newly elected Mayor of the City of Nicholasville, Pete Sutherland.
The Saturday dedication culminated with a Grand Banquet in the new parish hall, during both hierarchs warmly congratulated the parish faithful and exhorted them to press forward with Orthodox Christian mission work in Kentucky.
On Sunday morning, Archbishop Nikon presided at the Hierarchical Liturgy, during which he ordained Simeon Siskar to the diaconate. A parish-wide photo op and potluck followed.
“Saint Athanasius was the recipient of the three-year OCA Church Planting Grant from 2003-2006 and would not be the community it is today without the investment and commitment from both the OCA and Diocese of the South,” said Father Justin. “The parish remains grateful for the OCA’s support in those critical early years of the parish’s history.”