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How Our Parish Came to Be

Holy Ascension is a parish of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Demetrius.

Our parish was officially established in June 2007 upon the incorporation of our church community under the laws of the state of New York. Most of our church family had been praying together for many years before that time, however. Many in our community were formerly members of the local parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), also known as the Russian Church Abroad.

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 Church Abroad decided to accept the Moscow Patriarch as the head of the church administration. Many members of the ROCOR church disagreed strongly with this decision. The ROCOR Synod of Bishops had, in years past, established specific criteria for reconciliation between the Church Abroad and Moscow. We did not believe those criteria were ever 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 clergy and church council of our former parish were split on the issue, however. 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.

The union of ROCOR with the Moscow Patriarchate was scheduled to take place on the feast of Holy Ascension, in May of 2007. In light of this, six members of our former parish clergy petitioned the late Metropolitan Laurus for canonical release. Each received permission from the first hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad to leave his jurisdiction. Our new community was then accepted by the Church of Greece, Holy Synod in Resistance, with the blessing of Metropolitan Cyprian.

Nicholas Chernjavsky, a life-long member of the ROCOR church in Rochester, was ordained to the priesthood by the late Archbishop Chrysostomos in June 2007; he remains the rector of our parish. In November 2007 our parish purchased a former Protestant church building which we have now fashioned into an Orthodox house of worship.

By God's grace we will continue to worship and pray together as a parish family for many years to come. Remember Father Nicholas and our parish in your prayers.

Please visit our parish and consider becoming a member!