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Saint Basil the Great Antiochian Mission Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

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Bishop THOMAS with Father Nicholas Sorenson, Deacon Philip, Fathers Gordon Walker, Gregory MacGregor, and Thomas Zain.

On the weekend of January 12-13, 2008, the Mission of St. Basil the Great, York County, Virginia, hosted numerous guests and clergy along with His Grace, Bishop THOMAS of the Diocese of Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Tidewater Mission, now known as St. Basil the Great. The southeastern portion of Virginia is known locally as the Tidewater Region, or more popularly, as Hampton Roads.

The region has many military bases, and is known as a summertime vacation haven; therefore, over the past twenty years, there have been several failed attempts at starting and sustaining an Antiochian mission that would be pan-orthodox in nature, with an all English Liturgy.

In 1997, approximately five local families planted the seeds of the mission, along with the help of the Very Reverend Fathers Boniface Black, Gordon Walker, and Nicholas Sorensen. The mission now has thirty-six pledging families. St. Basil the Great is located in Poquoson, Virginia, a mere twenty minute drive from historic colonial Williamsburg.

In celebration of the mission's tenth year, and the elevation of Father Gregory MacGregor to the dignity of Archpriest, a banquet was held at the Deer Run Country Club on January 12, 2008. Members of the mission provided outstanding musical entertainment ranging from blue grass, to Highland bagpipes. At the banquet, Father Gregory welcomed His Grace, along with clergy representing the Greek Archdiocese, and OCA. Some invited guests included Fathers Nicholas Sorensen, Gordon Walker, Thomas Zain (the Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn), and Western Rite priest Father Patrick Cardine of St. Patrick Mission, Warrenton, Virginia. Representing Father Timothy Cremeens (who is attached to the mission) was his wife Khouria Tammy Cremeens. In addition, local clergy and friends of Father Gregory's from the Roman Catholic Church, Charismatic Episcopal Church, and the Assemblies of God Church, were also in attendance. At the banquet, Father Thomas Zain presented a pectoral cross from the Cathedral in Brooklyn, where Father Gregory served as both deacon and then priest.

On Sunday, Divine Liturgy was presided over by Bishop THOMAS, and served by Fathers Gregory MacGregor, Nicholas Sorensen, Gordon Walker, Thomas Zain, and Deacon Thomas Underwood. During the Liturgy, the faithful were treated to the ordination to the Holy Deaconate of US Navy Chaplin Philip Pelikan.

Deacon Philip is a relative of the famous Orthodox theologian Jaroslav Pelikan.

One hundred faithful attended the Liturgy in the leased church where St.Basil's has been meeting for the last five years. The mission was adorned with a lovely Iconostasis, newly donated icons, and church furnishings. At the end of the Liturgy, Father Gregory was presented to Bishop THOMAS by Fathers Thomas and Nicholas, and elevated to Archpriest. A gold pectoral cross, and a hardbound edition of the history of the mission, was given to Father MacGregor by his congregation. Bishop THOMAS urged the faithful to continue to build the community and sacrifice in order that St. Basil's could own, instead of rent, its own building one day, God willing. Father Gregory thanked the entire mission, and especially his wife Khouria Caryl for her sacrifice and love, as well as his children Matt and Erin. The weekend ended with a gala potluck coffee hour, with plenty of joy and good food.

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Father Gregory's Elevation to Archpriest Bishop THOMAS with Deacon John, Sub-Deacon James, Gabriel Cremeens, and Father Thomas Zain. Ordination of Chaplin Philip Pelikan USN to the Holy Diaconate