Diocese: Romanian Episcopate
Deanery: Atlantic USA Deanery
7223 Roosevelt Ave
Falls Church, Virginia 22042-1625
Protection of the Holy Mother of God parish is located in Falls Church, VA, off Route 50, inside the Beltway. Visitors and inquirers are welcome.
Take exit 50E. Proceed to third traffic light. Loehmann’s Plaza will be on the right. Turn left onto Graham Rd and travel 6/10 mile. Turn left onto Quincy Ave and then take an immediate left onto Roosevelt. St Mary’s is on the left at the top of the hill.
From Washington DC
Take I-66 west to I-495. Proceed south on I-495 to exit 50E. Same as above.
Schedule of Services
All services are in English.
5:00 PM Great Vespers followed by Holy Confessions.
9:00 AM Sunday Matins; 10:00 AM Divine Liturgy followed by Church School and Fellowship Hour. During the Summer, 9:00 AM Third and Sixth Hours; 9:30 AM Divine Liturgy followed by Fellowship.
7:00 PM Daily Vespers (for evangelistic outreach) followed by Adult Discussion Group.
Other monthly events include Young in Faith Fellowship and a Women’s Bible Study, each of which are held in parishioners’ homes. Please check the parish website calendar.
The founders of Protection of the Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church (“St Mary Orthodox Church” for short) celebrated our first Divine Liturgy in February 1987. The parish was founded by six Romanian-American families and three converts to Orthodoxy under the tireless leadership of Armand A Scala. Families attending the first worship service were Scala-Ficken, Georgescu, Harrington, Phile, Robertson, Scala, Sorovacu and Zimmerli. They recognized a great need for an English-language parish in Fairfax County of northern Virginia. Their first church “home” was Dunn Loring United Methodist Church, where they celebrated the Divine Liturgy every Sunday for approximately 2 1/2 years. In July 1988 the community was granted “parish” status by our Episcopate, and Fr. Alexander F. C. Webster, Ph.D., was appointed the first permanent parish priest by then Bishop Nathaniel. Today the congregation includes some 200 adult members and 50 Sunday school students
The Lord has always guided the progress of our small community. We have been blessed with uninterrupted services and access to facilities since our first Liturgy. For six years, until the summer of 1996, our services were held in a former parochial school library at St Phillip’s Roman Catholic Church. February 1996, however, began an extraordinary pilgrimage for the parishioners of St Mary. On Sunday, February 4, 1996, the parish was notified that our host church needed more room for its expanding day care program, and that, consequently, our lease would not be renewed. Within an hour of that stunning news Fr Alexander was informed that a neighboring church, hardly three miles away, seemed to be for sale. The following Sunday, a parish meeting was held there and the faithful decided to purchase the church. Within a week our small parish miraculously pledged enough to purchase both the church and the accompanying parish parsonage. During the following weeks, our energetic membership worked tirelessly, painting, cleaning, and repairing the church. On August 4, five weeks after we reached a settlement on the property and precisely six months from the day we learned about our termination at St Phillip’s School, we celebrated our first Divine Liturgy in our new spiritual home. Divine providence had turned a crisis into a wonderful opportunity and our very own house of worship.
Since August 1996, we have completely refurbished our church building. The interior was painted light blue, beautiful chandeliers have been installed throughout the sanctuary and altar, and a new Holy Table carved from wood was obtained from Fr Onisie Morar in Rhode Island. We transported and installed a magnificent Iconostas from our sister church in Miramar, FL, together with a new bishop’s throne, chanter’s stand, and carpeting in the entire church sanctuary. On October 8-9, 2000, His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel consecrated the Holy Table and the entire church building, assisted by some two dozen neighboring and visiting Orthodox priests and deacons. It was a truly joyous and inspirational event for the hundreds of parishioners, friends and ecumenical guests who attended those rites.
But we are more than a beautiful set of buildings. As the only permanent Orthodox parish in Fairfax county dedicated to the use of English in our Liturgies, we have adopted evangelism and service as our special missions to northern Virginia. We exist as an Orthodox community to witness on behalf of the life in Christ and to serve the spiritual and material needs of the local community. We were also blessed in 2001 when Archbishop Nathaniel appointed Protodeacon Peter Danilchick to serve as parish deacon, one of whose primary ministries is the coordination of our charitable outreach programs, including several with global reach.
In 2005, Fr. Alexander, who had been serving in the Army National Guard as a chaplain for many years, was promoted to the rank of Colonel. Shortly thereafter he announced that he had been asked to serve the military on a full time basis on active duty with the U.S. Army and that he had accepted the assignment. He completed his pastorate at St. MaryÃÂs in June of 2005, going on to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations in the Middle East. He remained locally assigned as well at Ft. McNair in Washington D.C. During the last six months of 2005 the parish was served by substitute priests especially including Rev. Fr. Joseph Woodill who carried the parish with stability and love during its time of transition.
On January 1st, 2006, Rev. Fr. David G. Subu began his assignment at St. Mary’s, with his Preoteasa Stephanie and their three children. Partnering with our dynamic parish laity, Fr. David initiated a number of new ministries including Church School retreats, an annual trip to local amusement parks, Vacation Bible School (for kids and adults!), participating in Summer Church Camps, support of campus ministries and OCF Real Break, summer mission trips to Project Mexico and Romania, Young Adult ministry, Men’s fellowship, Mothers of Orthodox Pre-Schoolers, a Peer Depression Ministry, expansion of our choir and chanting programs and liturgical offerings, and greater involvement with our deanery and Episcopate. At the same time, the long planned Iconography Project began to bear visible fruit as the first phase of large festal icons began to be installed in the sanctuary, revealing new heights of beauty to the parish. The Project was completed in 2010, transforming the church and the experience of worshipping therein. Our next step is determining how best to develop our facilities to meet our growing needs.
We invite visitors to join Fr David, Protodeacon Peter and our entire parish team of evangelists and servants in this holy campaign to bring the fullness of faith to our friends and neighbors. All visitors will receive a good ol’ southern welcome.