Our parish was founded in 1989 by spiritual efforts of Father Seraphim Stevens. In 1992, the parish became a mission of the Orthodox Church of Antioch in honor of the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer. Later when Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia (ROCOR) and Russian Orthodox Church in Russia (ROC) were reunited in 2007, the parish received its current name—St. Joseph of Optina Russian Orthodox Church.
The parish has been wandering all its existence. We were given shelter by churches of other faiths, we rented corners in markets, hospitals, living rooms, and garages. In 2007, a parishioner, Kirill Johnson, started building a wooden Church in the Russian style and for 4 years this building was a cozy warm harbor for parishioners, bu unfortunately, the fire services and the city forbade us to use that “wooden structure for public meetings”.
Today we are once again “harbored” by the Greek Orthodox Church in Norfolk.
Collecting and saving small amount of money by the standards of capital construction we were able to get preliminary approval from a commercial Bank to open a credit line for the construction of our own Church building.
If the Lord blesses and devoted Orthodox believers support the construction, our temple will become a spiritual landing place for those who seek fulfillment in their religious life, a cultural place for those who share the traditions of their ever-memorable ancestors, as well as our temple will undoubtedly be an architectural decoration of Hampton Roads.
We are a multi-ethnic parish whose members are not only include parishioners from Eastern European countries such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, but also include many converts to the Orthodox Faith who where born and raised in United States.