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Cullman, AL: St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Mission welcomes New Rector

On June 15-16, the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, the mission of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr in Cullman, AL celebrated its first All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy with their new rector, Priest Theodore Foley.

Fr. Theodore is a recent graduate of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, with a Master’s in Divinity; accompanying him is his wife Anneliese and young daughter Xenia. Celebrating Liturgy was Archimandrite John (Townsend; dean of Georgia, Alabama, & Mississippi), and as well was Priest Elias Crowder (rector of St. Martin of Tours Mission in Montgomery, AL).

During the sermon, Fr. John explained the significance of the First Ecumenical Council and exhorted the people not to take their opinions into church, but rather to submit in all things to God’s revealed dogmas and traditions. He also briefly introduced Fr. Theodore and, like the Apostle John to Timothy, called on the people to love him and to not discount his youth or inexperience in the priesthood, but to truly accept him.

After the dismissal, Fr. Theodore spoke about what it meant to him to be assigned as rector of St. Elizabeth’s, his fervent desire to spread the Faith to Cullman, and called on the people to put their hope and trust in God and to mimic the love of their patroness, St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, who comforted the sorrowing and showed them her love throughout her life up until the very moment of her martyrdom.

Following Divine Liturgy was a celebratory cookout, where Fr. Theodore and Matushka Anneliese were joyfully welcomed into the community. Around 50 people in total attended the first Liturgy, most of them visitors from other local Orthodox churches. As a sign of God’s blessing to the fledgling mission, two inquirers, one of whom had never attended an Orthodox service before, confessed their belief in the Orthodox Church as the True Church established by Christ and His Apostles, and announced their intentions to become catechumens at St. Elizabeth’s.

The mission of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr was established in the summer of 2022 with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas, and was lay-led by parishioner Symeon Ory with guidance from Fr. John up until Fr. Theodore’s arrival. With God’s help, the mission will grow into an established parish full of the love of Christ.


Cullman, AL: St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Mission welcomes New Rector - 06/16/24

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