Holy Apostle James meets in Owasso, Oklahoma in a hilltop chapel on the priest’s property. A large cul-de-sac provides plenty of parking.
Established in 1997:
ROCA Archbishop Alypy of Chicago ordained Deacon Mark Gilstrap as a priest in 1996 to serve Tulsa and vicinity.
In 1997 Vladyka Alypy blessed a newly founded mission named Holy Apostle James – commemorating James the Just, a High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem who became the first Christian bishop of Jerusalem, authored the universal Epistle of St James, and served the Christian Divine Liturgy in the Temple as taught to him by his step-Brother Jesus Christ.
Our Orthodox services trace their beginnings back to the Temple and the Old Testament, and are a treasury of Scripture readings, prayers, hymns, and canons composed by the Saints and pious Christians throughout the ages. Our hymnology is a mixture of English and Slavonic. There is no instrumental accompaniment to the traditional chant of God-given human voices.
We follow the Russian Typikon, and the Church Calendar (the Julian or “Old Calendar”).
We commemorate as our Archpastor, the GOC Metropolitan of America, Demetrius.
Why a Russian parish in the GOC?
Firstly, some background:
In 1955 the head of the Greek Old Calendar Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos (I) of Florina, (glorified as Saint Chrysostomos the New on May 29, 2016) reposed in the Lord without consecrating successors.
In 1960 Archbishop Seraphim of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) diocese of Chicago and Detroit co-consecrated as a bishop Archimandrite Akakios, who was selected for this role by 100 Traditional Calendar clergymen in Greece. By this act, the episcopate of the GOC was restored through our Archbishop Seraphim, and the Traditional Russian Church (ROCA).
Archbishop Leonty of Chile later co-consecrated additional bishops, and in 1969 the entire Russian Synod of Blessed Metropolitan Philaret (now Saint Philaret of New York) recognized these ordinations, and also declared ROCA to be in full communion with the GOC.
Like the ROCA we joined 35 years ago, the GOC synod maintains no relations or communion with the local Churches which have accepted the calendar innovation, nor with the Churches which have any communion with the pan-heresy of Ecumenism, nor with any churches belonging to the World Council of Churches.
In 2007, upon ROCOR’s union with the Moscow Patriarchate, our rector, Fr Mark, and his ruling bishop, Archbishop Alypy (successor of Archbishop Seraphim), agreed that the mutually acceptable GOC offered protection for our convert parish from the stormy winds [and agents] of change, while supporting our decades-long heritage of following the Russian Church’s Typicon, practices and traditions.
Vladyka Alypy agreed to release Fr Mark to the protection of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece Ἐκκλησία Γνησίων Ὀρθοδόξων Χριστιανῶν, whose First Hierarch is His Beatitude Kallinikos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. This release was opposed by the new ‘Administrator’ of the diocese, but Metropolitan Laurus, the 1st Hierarch of ROCOR/MP intervened and released Fr Mark.
Holy Apostle James is a mission “parish” supported by contributions from participants in our very small community.
Because of the community’s material poverty, we focus on that which costs very little to do: “Making God’s Service” through a rich liturgical life.
The community can not afford to provide what many consider essential charitable services such as help with rent, bills, expenses… Nor do we provide professional counseling, or psychological therapy. Yet, we still ascribe to and obey the injunction: “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8) while always pondering the question: What can be given which is not first received?.
We have received the fullness of the original and extant Christian Church, our spiritual hospital, and we dwell within the Grace of Christ’s Love. We provide the place, and the liturgical context, for meeting the Physician and the Lover of Mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ. We do this with direct and unbroken continuity with the rich spiritual inheritance of the Pre-revolutionary Russian Church.
In synergy with Christ, we do our small part, to “make God’s service.” In spite of the many challenges, we manage to provide even more services than some much larger and well-supported modernist churches.
Holy Apostle James has never received *any* financial support from any ecclesiastical authority, nor from any “state church” entity (like many ethnic Orthodox are used to), nor from any “benevolent society” or corporate grants or other ‘non-profit’ funding ..
Only participating individuals who tithe and make modest donations support our mission to serve and increase that light shining for the world (Matt 5:14). Your support could push us past a tipping point and make a real difference. Your attendance could provide critical-mass. Our efforts together are visible above the false lights of worldliness.
Please join us in the “correct glory” of Orthodox worship. We are preserving our inheritance, with fidelity to Tradition to the best of our ability, by your prayers. With the help of Christ we strive to “hold that fast which thou hast” (Apoc 3:11) (Blessed Metropolitan Philaret’s last instruction left in his typewriter)