Monday, April 19, 2021

Our Parish

St Basil the Great Orthodox Church

A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church

St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church

St. Basil’s was founded in March 1985 by a group of Orthodox people from several local Orthodox churches who were looking for a more traditional pan-Orthodox place of worship. Not finding an existing parish, St. Basil’s was founded, under the jurisdiction of the Greek Old Calendar Church of North America (GOC). The parish functioned under the GOC until 1992, at which time it requested a canonical release from the GOC and petitioned to be accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) under the omophorion of Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Detroit.

Not wishing to burden its members with a large debt, the parish has remained in its original quarters. An expansion project was undertaken in 2002 to provide adequate space for its ever-growing community. The membership of the parish in 2005 was just under 100 individuals. The parish strives to be a loving, worshiping community, dedicated to helping its members maintain the fullness of their Orthodox faith.

St. Basil’s, although a small parish, conducts a moderately full cycle of liturgical services in the Russian tradition on all Sundays, Feast days, and during the period of Great Lent. Frequent confession and communion are the norm. There are several tonsured readers, and all services are in English combined occasionally with Slavonic and Greek usage. The parish sponsors a Sunday school for the children with three instructional levels, and a program of catechetical and social activities.

St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church -- Interior

St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church — Interior

We are blessed to have an ever-improving choir. A light meal and social hour are held after all liturgies; these times are characterized by lively discussions on a variety of spiritually edifying topics, and by ethnic food galore, even an occasional guacamole dip, which underscores our diversity. The parish organizes a variety of activities, including periodic pilgrimages to Orthodox places of interest, a bi-weekly discussion group, and an Orthodox Film Series program during the summer and fall.. Individualized instruction is provided for those wishing to learn more about the Orthodox faith.

The parish is young and vibrant, with members representing a variety of ethnic traditions. Parishioners come from all walks of life, educational levels and employment backgrounds. Our average age is among the youngest of any Orthodox Parish in the St. Louis metropolitan area, while its educational level is among the highest. More than half of the members are converts from Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, about 25% are Russian emigrants, while the remainder represent other nationalities.

Most parishioners live within the St. Louis Metropolitan area, some, however, come from as far away as Columbia, and Kansas City. The parish sponsors St. Mary of Egypt, a mission outreach, in Columbia, Missouri. The mission serves students and faculty from the University of Missouri. St. Basil’s also serves as a parish home away from home for Orthodox students attending local area colleges and universities. Father Martin is the Clergy Advisor to the Orthodox Student Fellowship at Washington University.

Fr. Martin Swanson
Fr. Martin

Fr. Martin

Our priest, Father Martin, is originally from Southern California and is a convert to Orthodoxy. He has lived in St. Louis for over 40 years and is the retired Provost for Health Sciences at St. Louis University. He now devotes full-time to his ministry, and serves as a member of the Diocesan Council for the Diocese of Chicago, Detroit of the ROCOR, and as Dean for the Western region of the Diocese.

Father holds a doctorate from the University of California in Social Psychiatry, and a Diploma in Theological Studies from Northwestern Pennsylvania Theological Academy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1985, and has served as the Rector of St. Basil’s for his entire priestly career.

Father is a frequent speaker at Orthodox conferences and workshops. He is married to Matushka Katherine who is an active and important part of our parish community.

The parish strives to be a full Orthodox community with the goal of assisting its members gain their eternal salvation through the fullness of the Body of Christ. All are welcome to visit the church, and to attend any of the services. Non-parishioners who wish to participate in the sacraments of the Church must be Orthodox Christians, should be fully prepared, and are asked to contact Fr. Martin before their visit. The monthly parish calendar, published on this site, provides a complete schedule of church services and activities.

Thank you for your interest in our parish. We hope that you will visit us soon, and experience the joy that comes from participating in the Orthodox services held here.