parish HISTORYHere is how we got started and where we are headed.
Holy Apostles Orthodox Church (HAOC) is a parish of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). It is located in a lovely rural setting in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, across the Susquehanna River from our state capital of Harrisburg.
Holy Apostles was founded in June 2004 as a mission parish to fill a need for the Orthodox Church in central Pennsylvania. We have gone from temporary, rented space to a semi-permanent chapel in an office suite in December 2006. A short ten years later, in October 2016, we moved into our permanent home on a 13-plus acre property, which includes a cemetery and space for growth.
In this chapel we offer a full liturgical cycle of services. We rejoice to celebrate Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings, and Vespers on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, as well as throughout the week for Feast Days and other special occasions. For special services and time, please refer to the “Bulletins & Calendar” tab under Parish Life.
Led by the Very Reverend Father Timothy Hojnicki, we are a vibrant, growing community with 85 families, of which there are 119 adult members and 47 children and babies.
The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It is not non-denominational, it is pre-denominational. It has been believed, taught, preserved, defended, and died for. It is the Faith that has established the universe…
ORTHODOXY: Proclaiming the Truth since 33 AD.
If you are without a spiritual home, we welcome you to ours.
Come and See!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR PARISH
The Beginning: June 2004 – June 2005
The relatively young history of Holy Apostles Mission is one filled with activity and movement. Our Mission is the daughter parish of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Archpriest Daniel Ressetar was the pastor. The original plans for Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church, founded in 1963, over forty years ago, included the plan to eventually give birth to a mission – something that should be the intent of every Orthodox Church! When the time was right and a group was sizable enough to make this endeavor, the “Mechanicsburg Orthodox Mission” (lovingly called “M.O.M.”) was founded on June 20, 2004. Holy Apostles Mission was established on the western shore of the Susquehanna River, choosing Mechanicsburg as the central location to meet the needs of the faithful of the area. Mechanicsburg is a city of roughly 10,000 people and is a surrounding city to more metropolitan areas such as Harrisburg and Lancaster. The need for a parish community closer to a good number of the faithful of this area (some of whom were traveling more than an hour to services at Christ the Saviour) was realized, and in less than a year’s time His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, then Locum Tenens Bishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, gave the blessing for the Patronal name “Holy Apostles” to be the heavenly protectors of this young mission community.
Within a year the parish was able, with the help of a retired priest in the area, to establish a weekend cycle of services in a local United Methodist Mission outreach center called “Mission Central.” The faithful of Holy Apostles arrive on Saturday evenings at 5:00 PM at “Mission Central” after it closes, to set up the Chapel and to have Choir practice, followed by Great Vespers and Confessions. We were permitted to leave our Chapel set up overnight for the celebration of Divine Liturgy Sunday morning, but then had to put it away after our weekly fellowship hour following the Divine Liturgy. It was a difficult task, but the vision of having a place of our own literally energized the faithful as they worked every week to build and take down an entire worship space.
The Next Step: Our own priest June 2005 – December 2006
After a year of existence, in June of 2005, the mission welcomed its first full time priest, Father Timothy Hojnicki, and his wife Matushka Anastasia. Upon Father Timothy’s arrival, education was a top priority. Adult classes were initiated, and the Church School program was expanded to meet every Sunday following the Divine Liturgy. A more full cycle of services began, as best as we were able due to the space limitations. The Building Search committee was resurrected to revisit the quest to find a more permanent place of worship where this problem would be rectified and a full cycle of services could be served. The effort saw many options, but every one proved to be too expensive, or too problematic to pursue. Finally in the Autumn of 2006 the next step of God’s plan for us manifested itself…
Our New Building & the Future
In late October 2006, a business office condo suite, with 2,723 square feet of space was discovered in Mechanicsburg. The suite was already divided up into rooms for offices and classrooms, a social hall area, and a main room. The main room was in need of a little cosmetic work to become a perfect worship space to meet the temporary needs of the parish. After a prompt visit and inspection by His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, Father Timothy was given the blessing to pursue the property with the parish’s support. At the annual All-Parish meeting in late November, an overwhelming majority of the parish enthusiastically voted in favor of purchasing the property.
On the afternoon of December 15, 2006, several members of the Mission Council met for a short prayer with Father Timothy, before signing papers securing the first permanent spiritual home for the Mission. Due to the convenience of the temporary quarters, Father Timothy decided that the parish would celebrate their last service on Christmas day, and then make the move to the new building that week. After a service of Thanksgiving at the end of the Christmas Liturgy, the faithful gathered the following day and transported the contents of the Chapel to the new Church. The parish would no longer have to set up and take down everything, a task that put substantial wear and tear on many of the Church items. Following the move, the faithful mobilized painting, creating an Ikonostas, improving electrical fixtures, hanging cabinets, setting up the kitchen area and other rooms, hanging ikons, and setting up the Chapel into a beautiful worship space in preparation for that weekend’s first services.
On the evening of December 30, the first service was held in the new facility. After the lesser blessing of the facility, Great Vespers was celebrated with over 65 souls in attendance. The following morning, at the first Divine Liturgy the facility was filled with 83 faithful people – with still room for more! Father Timothy was assisted by Archpriest Nicholas Molodyko-Harris of Palm Coast, Florida; Priest David Cowan of St. Tikhon’s Seminary; and Deacon Steven Vernak, also of St. Tikhon’s. Father Timothy’s sermon echoed the words of the Angel of the Lord to the righteous Joseph the Betrothed from that morning’s Gospel reading to the people in Mechanicsburg to “be not afraid…” in this new daunting endeavor of the new facility.
Since that glorious day the momentum and joy has not dissipated. For the first time, services were celebrated on the actual day of the feast with excellent attendance. Plans to create an Ikonostas with doors were completed with parishioners’ skills being utilized to undertake the project
In 2013, 13.6 acres of land were acquired and after a much effort and meetings, in 2014 the parish voted to take on the mortgage to build our “Phase I” Hall/church. See the “our Future” tab on the main page to get more information on that.
At the present time we rejoice in the completed construction of our new facility, where the first services were held the weekend of October 1-2, 2016.
Please keep the work and struggle of the youngest parish of the Diocese in your prayers, and when in the area, be sure to visit and experience the reality of our present joy!
Father Timothy, Matushka Anatasia, Nicholas, Kyra, Elijah, and Joachim Hojnicki.
Come and see!
Wednesday Vespers: 6:30pm
Saturday Great Vespers: 6:00pm
Reading of the Hours (Pre-Liturgy Prayers): 9:10am
Divine Liturgy: 9:30am
Fellowship Lunch for All: 11:15am
V. Rev. Father Timothy Hojnicki
Holy Apostles Orthodox Church
7111 Wertzville Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050