Friday, August 22, 2014

Antiochian Archdiocese adds missions

This might not be newsworthy if I were talking about ROCOR or the OCA, but the Antiochians and the Greeks take a very different approach to missions. I've looked at the Greek requirements for a mission and most Slavic parishes wouldn't qualify. Time will tell as to which model (OCA missions and mission stations or the high hurdles of Greeks) will prove most fruitful. I've been to Greek parishes in the rural South that have money but few people on a Sunday morning and OCA parishes that started with neither and are now thriving. I've also seen men out of seminary put into missions that couldn't support them, forcing young families to go on government assistance and putting them in dangerous situations where a rather pedestrian healthcare emergency bankrupts them. A few hundred years in and we're still feeling our way through how best to effect the Great Commission to the New World.

But, returning to the missions at hand, I'll be in both areas in the near future and hope to make a visit (and take a few pictures). If you, dear reader, visit these or any mission send me photos!

( - His Grace Bishop Thomas announces two new mission parishes being formed in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic.

Beloved in Christ,

The Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, is pleased to announce that we are beginning to establish two new missions.

The first is a mission station in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For information about this mission endeavor, you should contact Paul Abernathy (; 412-334-0917).

A second mission endeavor is being attempted in Talbot County, Maryland. An advertisement offers information (PDF) about our first meeting, which I plan to attend.

I would appreciate it very much if those of you who are on the East Coast would regularly remind your faithful about both these movements. Those of you who are not in this area, but know people who might live in or travel to this area, please pass this information on.


  1. Isn't setting up an Orthodox mission in Pittsburgh sort of like taking coals to Newcastle? Or maybe owls to Athens, or samovars to Tula? After all, at least two bishops claim it as their see.

    By the by, I have visited a very admirable Greek mission parish that, aside from the style of liturgy, could easily pass for an OCA mission (small and friendly, met in a strip-mall, etc.). It was quite remote and served as the ecumenical parish, since there was no other Orthodox parish for several hundred miles.

    1. A good point on Pitt. Much like putting in non-OCA parishes in Alaska - the one place that lacked jurisdictional overlap. On the Greek parish, I have experienced the same. Parishes in remote areas are a good opportunity to bring Orthodox of all stripes together, but instead we seem to have a tendency to build jurisdictional equivalents like pharmacies build CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens all across from one another.

  2. The Pittsburgh mission is in the impoverished Hill District, which has no Orthodox presence other than the FOCUS Center that has been built there. The new mission, named for St. Moses the Black, is an outgrowth of the FOCUS Center.