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Holy Assumption of St. Mary's celebrates 100 years in South Side


Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church

On Saturday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church will mark its centennial in South Side.

Archbishop Melchisedek will preside over the Divine Liturgy joined by Igumen Patrick and local Orthodox priests and spiritual sons of the parish. Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy a banquet will be held in the Church Hall.

In 1916, a Russian Orthodox Mission began in South Side, which was quickly be dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and a church formerly opened. They would for a time utilize the facilities of the First German Baptist Church at 103 S. 19th, which would be purchased by Archbishop Evdokim on March 17,1917 to become the permanent home of SS. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church. Fr. Alexy Nikolin was appointed the first pastor.

The parish would continue to live and work in South Side through the tumult of the communist rebellion in Russia and the Great Depression. During these years, the parish would lose two church buildings and endure hardship, but persevered utilizing rental space and the kindness of their neighbors.

In 1942, the parish regained their original church at a sheriff's sale, and after restoration work, reopened their church – now dedicated to the honor of the Theotokos (St. Mary) and to her Dormition. St. Mary Russian Orthodox Church reopened with Divine Liturgy on Sunday, March 13, 1943.

In early spring of 1943, Archimandrite Seraphim (Oblinantseff) was appointed as first pastor of newly reconstituted St. Mary's Russian Orthodox Church. Archimandrite Seraphim wrote most of the Icons in the Church's Iconostasis, and oversaw the completion of the Iconostasis. His pastoral labor lasted 12 years, and on December 13, 1954, he passed away.

On March 9, 1955, St. Mary's received her second pastor, Fr. John Waschak. During Fr. John's pastorate, the church was renovated, a permanent Sunday school program was initiated, and St. Mary's prospered. In 1966 a new Altar table was consecrated by Metropolitan Ireney, and Fr. John was elevated to the dignity of Archpriest.

Under Fr. John's pastorate, many things were accomplished, a new ceiling was installed in the church, a new chandelier from Greece was installed and Icons of the American saints, Herman and Innocent, were added to the Iconostasis. In 1970, St. Mary's adopted the English language for liturgical use, and in 1980, adopted the Revised Julian Calendar.

In 1996, a time of transition for the parish began with the increasing illness of Fr. Waschak. In February of 1996, Basil Rex Carpenter was ordained to the diaconate in the parish and was chosen by parish upon the recommendation of Archbishop Kyrill to become the new parish priest. On Bright Saturday, April 20, 1996, Deacon Basil Carpenter was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in Holy Assumption of St. Mary Church and returned to St. Tikhon's Seminary to finish his studies.

On May 11, 1996, Archpriest John Waschak passed away. On June 29, 1996, Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church formally received its third pastor, Fr. Basil Carpenter.

On November 19, 2003, Fr. Basil Carpenter was tonsured a hieromonk by Archbishop KYRILL and given the name Patrick.

Through the years, the parish has had several seminarians and late vocations students who have been ordained to the Holy Priesthood, among them, Lawrence Daniels, Joseph Lucas, Evgeni Peykov, and Nikolia (Jesse) Breckenridge.

In September of 2010, the St. Cyril of White Lake Food Pantry was opened in the Church Hall to help feed the poor around the church, and since the opening of the Food Pantry more than 40,000 people have been provided food.

As the parish completed the 99th year of its existence, the lower walls in the Temple were restored, and Icons of the life of the Theotokos were installed on the walls of the Temple and a handicapped restroom was installed.

In the course of 100 years of continuous ministry in South Side, SS. Peter and Paul, now Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church, has remained a center of Orthodoxy, housing the Archdiocesan Religious Education Programs, the Archdiocesan Late Vocations Program for training new deacons, as well as a hub for evangelization and Orthodox Outreach into the community.


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