A Visual Journey into Orthodoxy

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





16 responses to “A Visual Journey into Orthodoxy”

  1. fatherstephen Avatar

    This is a wonderful small video I found last night. I recognize many friends, including my beloved Archbishop. Thought some of you might enjoy this. There is also Fr. Ted Pisarchuk, my dear friend in several shots. What joy! And many thanks to the handmaidleah for sharing the mysteries of how to put these little jewels on a blog page. May its blessings be yours!

  2. fatherstephen Avatar

    Our thanks to Valdosta Orthodox Mission for the collage. You can come home to the Orthodox Church at any number of locations – even in Oak Ridge, Tennessee!

  3. handmaidleah Avatar

    Glory to God! That is wonderful! The tears started when I saw Ss. Sergius & Herman Chapel on Spruce Island. I pray this bears much fruit, I just love it; love it; love it! You are welcome a thousand times.
    Christ is surely in our midst!

  4. Andy Avatar

    A couple of questions from a Protestant:

    1) How many-worldwide-are part of the Orthodox Church?


    2) Why does it seem like it is so hard to find Orthodox Churches? From the OCA website it looks like there are only two in my whole state – and they are in the same city.

    Thank you.

  5. handmaidleah Avatar

    Since no one has fielded that question, here is what the OCA website has to say about the first part of your question:
    “While it is somewhat difficult to give an exact figure – in North America there are a variety of numbers which circulate while on the world scene it is also difficult since many Orthodox churches, especially those in the former Soviet-bloc countries, are only now in a position to ascertain a clear picture of their status – I am happy to offer the following information.
    North America:
    One will find estimates ranging between 1 and 6 million members.
    There is a certain variable in how one defines “membership” — for example, is membership based on the number of individuals baptized in the Orthodox Church, some of whom may no longer be Orthodox, or on other criteria such as financial support, registration with a local parish, etc?
    It would be safe to say that there are somewhere between 2 and 3 million Orthodox Christians in North America in roughly 2,000 parishes.
    While some media report upwards of 300 million Orthodox throughout the world, others estimate 200 million. To give you an idea, it is estimated that there are somewhere between 80 and 100 million Orthodox in the Russian Republic alone. Since the fall of communism the churches in Central and Eastern Europe are in a period of transition, a part of which is coming to grips with actual membership statistics, which were impossible to maintain during the communist era. Another difficulty in estimating the international numbers is found in the mobility of many individuals from traditionally Orthodox areas, such as the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East, etc.
    In my own opinion (Fr. John Matusiak), the 200 million number is probably more accurate than 300 million, but this again depends on how one defines “member” – as a baptized individual, a registered individual, or a practicing individual who regularly participates in the life of the Church, her sacraments and worship, etc.”
    The OCA website has many answers to questions like these. I hope that this helps, please forgive me Fr. Stephen if I have answered out of turn.
    the handmaid,

  6. Andy Avatar


  7. mrh Avatar


    For finding Orthodox churches in the US I recommend http://www.orthodoxyinamerica.org/

    There are not a lot of Orthodox Churches in most areas. In spite of all the publicity given to converts (protestants becoming Orthodox still rates an occasional “man bites dog” story in the MSM), Orthodoxy in the US is still quite small compared to, say, most “mainline” protestant denominations.

    I live in a very densely populated urban area. Within 25 miles of me there are three English-language Orthodox churches. Two have around fifty worshippers on a Sunday; my parish has a little over a hundred. In the same are there are at least a dozen each of Episcopal, Methodist, and Lutheran parishes, several of them very large.

    But as they say about finding a spouse, all you need is one.

  8. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    I love the picture of St. John of San Francisco. How often to we get to see photographes of a wonderworking saint especially one who lived in the United States.

  9. joseph Avatar


    Where are you located? Many small missions in the OCA, for example, are not listed on the OCA’s webpage. Perhaps you could contact the dean for your area, and he could help you out. The Orthodoxy in America search engine is good, too. I have placed our mission on there and have had a couple of people find us via that website.


  10. Andy Avatar


    Thanks. That link was very helpful.

  11. Steve J. Avatar

    Fr. Stephen,

    I am glad you enjoyed the video. I put it up on YouTube mainly for the purpose of placing it on our mission’s website. Unexpectedly it seems to have found a rather large audience in the Orthodox world. I enjoy reading your blog, and count it an honor that you have posted the video here.

    We “came home to the Orthodox Church” at St. Justin Martyr Church in Jacksonville, FL. Fr. Ted chrismated my family there. My son is the altar server being patted on the head by Fr. Ted after venerating the Cross in one of the pictures. That picture is from a couple of years ago, and now my son is almost tall enough to be doing that to Fr. Ted.

    Valdosta, GA is about 2 hours from Jacksonville, and Fr. Ted is overseeing our mission effort here. He has allowed Fr. Gerald Clark to come up once a month for Vespers and Divine Liturgy.

    I met Fr. David Rucker Christmas eve and saw him once again this past Sunday. Surely he would wish for me to say hello to you for him. I know he will be a wonderful addition to the OCMC and St. Justin Martyr Church.

    Please pray for our mission effort here. I need a local parish for my family, and Valdosta needs the Church.

    Steve J.

  12. Fatherstephen Avatar


    May God be with you all as you proceed in your mission efforts. If all of your efforts share the good quality of the video you put together you will do well. I have enjoyed it, and it was been one of the most “read” pages in the last month on the blog. So that says something…

    Fr. Ted had much to do with the planting of St. Anne’s and was helpful in my transition and process towards ordination after my reception into the Church.

    See Vladyka Dmitri’s wonderful visage (including the picture in the Texas bluebells) brought tears to my eyes. He is so wonderful to us all.

    I will hold you in my prayers and have every confidence of God’s blessing and the growth of your mission.

    Our first couple or three years were quite slim and strained the faith of a few. Today we are probably closer to 120 souls (children included) than any other number and easily support a full-time priest. By God’s grace we have a grant that has supplied me with a second priest so that I can attend better to duties in the Deanery. And we recently had a young man ordained to the Diaconate. Last Sunday was our largest Sunday, apart from Pascha in the parish’s history. My heart overflows with many more blessings than I would have dreamed of. There is much left to do. Very much. But we have been richly blessed in what will soon be our 10 years. God bless.

  13. Stacy Avatar
  14. […] A Visual Journey into Orthodoxy […]

  15. Jeff Howard Avatar
    Jeff Howard

    Hello Andy:

    Here are a couple of webstes that may hep you find what you are looking for.

    For Information on Orthodoxy and on locating the Orthodox parish nearest you:

    The Ortyhodox Church In America (OCA) is a small jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in the US. You might try these jurisdictions as well:
    The Antiochian Orthodox Church In North America
    http://www.antiochian.org/ or
    The Greek orthodox Church in America

    There aere several other jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church in the United States and if you would like thier websites I can send them to you as well.

    I hope these help you


    Jeff Howard

  16. Fr. Peter Smith Avatar

    What a tearful joy to “see and hear” how good the Lord is!! All of those who contributed to the filming, editing, publishing and sharing this video are in our prayers of gratitude. I am especially thankful for my dear Godson…Fr. Stephen.
    He and his family are one of the greatest joys of my life and ministry in this magnificent Orthodox Church. May our Lord strengthen all in this most precious preparation for the ‘Light of Christ’ to shine once again in our hearts and lives. God bless.

    In Christ,
    Fr. Peter+

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