[St. Athanasius OCA--Nicholasville, KY]
On Sunday, July 27th, St. Athanasius Orthodox Church took possession of its new church building. Over 120 people were present at the final Liturgy in the parish's storefront, for the Procession (by car) to the new church after Liturgy, and the opening of the doors of the church with a Service of Thanksgiving, celebrating the long journey leading to this day. The move into the new church is but the most recent step in the 12-year history of this community.
St. Athanasius was founded in 2002 as a mission of the OCA Diocese of the South. On the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, about 25 souls were received into the canonical Church from the Evangelical Orthodox Church. With the granting of both the national and diocesan church planting grants, our first pastor, Fr. David Rucker, was able to devote himself full-time to parish ministry and the parish grew rapidly. St. Athanasius graduated from the church planting grants in 2006, the same year Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory appointed a new rector, Fr. Justin Patterson, to serve at St. Athanasius. In 2012, the parish purchased the current property, using the sale of another property to quickly pay down the mortgage and launch a capital campaign. The parish family of St. Athanasius, comprising about 60 families, has been able to raise over $400,000 in the past 3 years. In the fall of 2013, the parish body approved plans and received the blessing of Archbishop Nikon to break ground on the new $974,000 phase 1 project. Space has been set aside on our parish campus for future phases of construction: a large traditional Orthodox temple, as well as for additional office and educational space.
The building committee has worked diligently to stay within budget for this project and, as of this publication, is on track to meet that budget, as the project wraps up. St. Athanasius will host a fall Open House for local community friends. Archbishop Nikon has offered to preside at St. Athanasius' formal Dedication, coinciding with the parish's 13th Anniversary, in early February.
The parish expresses its gratitude Archbishop Nikon for his support during this project, as well as to the OCA and the Diocese of the South for the church support St. Athanasius received particularly in its formative years. The St. Athanasius family looks forward to supporting the institutions that have made Orthodox growth in Kentucky possible!