Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 11 October 2009.Phone: 480-892-6224
HistoryThe Saint Ignatius of Antioch Mission began in the east Valley city of Gilbert in 1998 when four Episcopalian families converted to Orthodox Christianity. They joined with a handful of other Phoenix-based converts to Orthodoxy to create their own worship community. Most members (approximately 70%) of this Mission are converts from other branches of Christianity, including Roman Catholicism and various Protestant denominations (notably Episcopalian, Southern Baptist and the Latter-Day Saints). The steady growth of this new community illustrates a significant if low-key trend of increasing interest in Eastern Orthodoxy in previously untapped segments of American religious circles.
The first meetings the group held were in members' homes; later they rented space at the Mesa Schools Food Distribution Center and have since moved to a number of leased locations to match their expanding numbers. The Mission currently occupies a storefront in a strip shopping mall in the largest city in the east Valley, Mesa.
This small Orthodox community is technically described as a mission since it is not independently financed and is supported by the Antiochian Church in New York.
Activities and ScheduleServices follow traditional Orthodox scheduling, with Great Vespers on Saturday evenings at 5 p.m. and Sunday services divided into Orthros at 7:45 a.m. and the Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m.
The mission additionally holds a Sunday School session and a Coffee Hour, as well as an "Inquirer's Class" on Sundays.
A number of service organizations are connected with the mission, including the women's group "The Sisters of Tabitha" and the "Saint Barnabas Men's Group." There is also an active choir program. Full details about the mission's activities are published on the community's website and in an on-line weekly update, the Sunday Bulletin.
DemographicsChurch membership is mostly Euro-American, predominantly a community of converts drawn from various other Christian denominations but also incorporating members of other Eastern Orthodox Churches (including Greek and Russian). Services are entirely in English.