When the priest and many of the parishioners of the ROCOR parish that had
been located in Phoenix decided to leave ROCOR for another jurisdiction, those who did not want to leave ROCOR petitioned
then-Bishop (now Archbishop) KYRILL for a priest to be sent to Phoenix. In response, Vladika ordained Deacon John McCuen
to the sacred priesthood at the Cathedral in San Francisco in February, 2002, and assigned him to the parish in Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Fr. Alexander Lebedeff, the Dean of the southern region in
the Western American Diocese, paid a visit to those parishioners who had requested a priest. At that
meeting, the name for the newly-established parish was chosen: Holy Archangels Orthodox Church.
Fr. John traveled to Phoenix in late March for the first services held
in the new parish, with the faithful meeting in the home of Greg and Kiki Yodis, and trapeza being held in the home of the
Ghetu family. A few weeks later, Fr. John, assisted by Vladimir Andrushenko, served the first celebration of Pascha at an
Episcopal Church that had been made available for the evening, following Holy Week services at the Yodis family's house.
The congregation in attendance was small, but very energetic!
Fr. John and his family moved to Phoenix in June, 2002. Services were held for a month in a Bulgarian Orthodox Church
in downtown Phoenix; and then in the living room of the McCuen family residence (with trapeza in the family room) for about
five weeks, while a search was made for a more permanent (and suitable) location. In September, the congregation moved into
an office suite rented in downtown Phoenix. As the congregation grew, we expanded into an adjacent office space; while Fr.
John began looking for a place for the congregation to purchase, a step made possible by a very generous donation given
to the newly-formed parish. It took a while - and several properties got away before an offer could be made! - but in the
summer of 2003, we located a property that would allow us to begin holding services immediately, and with room to grow.
The purchase of our current property on Desert Lane (in the foothills of South Mountain) was completed in mid-August; and
the first services were held in the new church building in September, 2003.
The Reverend Deacon George Chrebtow, who had an extensive education at the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin, the
"Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco, and was a parishioner of our parish prior to his ordination, was ordained
to the Diaconate by Archbishop KYRILL in January, 2005, and has served as our parish deacon since that time. His help and
his knowledge were invaluable, and we are thankful to God for his ministry and presence while he was among us. Fr. Deacon George now serves at the Cathedral in San Francisco.
of June, 2014
By God's grace, in late February, 2007, we began the project of remodeling the east wing of our building
to provide an expanded place for the faithful to gather to worship. We were unable to obtain the permits we desired to raise
the roof, and to make other structural changes, because the requirements to do so were beyond our financial resources; but
we decided to remodel the existing east wing without making any structural changes. At times, it did not seem possible;
but with some wonderful help, the east wing -- still unfinished -- was able to be used for the services of Great and Holy
Friday, Great and Holy Saturday, and the Bright Pascha of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! We now have a raised area for
the altar, and a worship area that is truly wonderful. The walls have been given a Venetian plaster finish,
and a stone floor has been laid down in the nave and narthex. The exterior of the building, which has new, functioning windows,
has been given a coat of stucco and paint, and the old, tired appearance of being a boarding house has been replaced by a newly-refurbished
place of worship. If you haven't already seen it, you need to come and worship with us!