About Our Parish
Our new little parish was established in June 2007 upon the ordination of Presbyter Nicholas Chernjavsky and our incorporation under the laws of the state of New York.
Holy Ascension is a parish of the Church of Greece, Holy Synod in Resistance, under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili (in Greece), Archbishop Chrysostomos and Bishop Auxentios of Etna, California. Although we are a new parish, most of our parishioners have been praying together for many years. Many of our parishioners were members of the local parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).
Since the 1920s, the bishops of ROCOR stood firmly for the Orthodox Christian faith and were strictly independent and separate from the Russian Church in Moscow and the Soviet government. To our dismay, in May of 2006 the bishops of the ROCOR decided to accept the Moscow Patriarch as the head of the church administration. Many members of the ROCOR church (in Rochester and throughout the world) disagree strongly with this decision. The ROCOR Synod of Bishops had, in years past, established specific criteria for reconciliation between our church and Moscow. We do not believe those criteria were met. The Moscow Patriarchate has never renounced Sergianism and continues to be active in Ecumenism.
The rector of the local ROCOR parish decided to remain with his bishop. The rest of the clergy and church council were split on the issue. After much debate, a group of us decided that it would be better to peaceably separate from our former community and form a new parish upon the enactment of the union of ROCOR with the Moscow Patriarchate.
In May of 2007, six members of the parish clergy petitioned the late Metropolitan Laurus for canonical release. Each received permission from the first hierarch to leave his jurisdiction and our little group was accepted by the Church of Greece, Holy Synod in Resistance, with the blessing of Metropolitan Cyprian. Deacon Nicholas Chernjavsky, a life-long member of the ROCOR church in Rochester, was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Chrysostomos on June 10 and is now the rector of our parish. On November 1 our parish purchased a former Protestant church building which we are fashioning into an Orthodox house of worship.
Members of the Ascension Church include many who held prominent positions in our former parish: a deacon, 2 subdeacons, 3 readers, the church warden, a choir director, the bookkeeper, the head of the sisterhood, the sisterhood treasurer, 3 members of the church council and 2 members of the board of trustees.
We are so very grateful that the Holy Synod of Bishops has agreed to provide spiritual leadership for our parish. By God's grace we will weather this storm and continue to worship and pray together as a parish family for many years to come. Remember Father Nicholas and our new parish in your prayers.