This weekend I fly up to Oklahoma City to visit St. Benedict Orthodox Church, and celebrate their feast day with them. This is the parish that brought me and my wife into the Church, and so it has a special place in our hearts. It is hard to imagine how I would have discovered Orthodoxy, had they not been there.
When I was attending their as a regular parishioner, they were in a small store front location. Nevertheless, when I first attended I had a taste of what St. Vladimir's ambassadors to Constantinople experienced when they entered the services at the Hagia Sophia. Obviously, the building was not itself impressive, but the beauty of the services shown through, despite the humble facilities. But now the facilities are not quite so humble.
They finally moved into their permanent Church a few years ago, and they are now paintint the walls with icons. It was joy to be there for their feast, and also to see how far they have come, and how much they have grown. It gives mission parishes such as my own, hope.
Click here for some pictures of how the Church looked last Christmas. It now looks even better, and hopefully they will soon be posting photos of this past Sunday.
Bishop Peter came to serve the hierarchical services, which was the first episcopal visit to St. Benedict's since the ground of their present Church was blessed.
The wonder-working Kursk Icon was present for the faithful to venerate. I was blessed to carry this icon on a couple of occassions over the weekend, and it was a wonder to be (even for a short time) the bearer of an icon with such a history.
The Kursk Root Icon
What a wonderful weekend it was.