"God, who made the world and everything in it...has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being..." (Acts 17.24ff).
Glory to Jesus Christ! Welcome to all those who seek the Lord. The purpose of this website is to provide information about the Orthodox Christian Faith, as well as our parish, and to provide ministry tools and other factual information for those who are opened to seek the Lord and discover the Truth--for He is Truth.
The Orthodox Church, known in its official canonical and liturgical texts simply as the Church of God, or more fully as the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church (also called Orthodox Christian or "Eastern Orthodox"), is the oldest and second largest Christian body in the world, and has been deemed by many as "the best kept secret in America." It is also the native Christian Church of the Holy Land, having owned and operated the Holy Sites of Christianity for the past two millennia.The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but is not Protestant.It is Orthodox, but not Jewish.It is Catholic, but not Roman.It isn't non-denominational, it is pre-denominational.Perhaps you may recognize such phrases as "Greek Orthodox" or "Russian Orthodox" or "Ukrainian Orthodox," which, together with all of the local Orthodox Churches throughout the world comprise the worldwide Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, which is neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant, but categorized in academics as one of the three main types of Christianity. Here is a basic entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica for the Orthodox Church: "official name Orthodox Catholic Churchone of the three major doctrinal and jurisdictional groups of Christianity. It is characterized by its continuity with the apostolic church, its liturgy...and has a worship service that is theologically and spiritually rich" (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9106196/Eastern-Orthodoxy). Here is what Bishop Kallistos Ware wrote in The Orthodox Church: "Today the Orthodox Church numbers approximately 300 million Christians who follow the faith and practices that were defined by the first seven ecumenical councils. The word orthodox ("right belief and right glory") has traditionally been used, in the Greek-speaking Christian world, to designate communities, or individuals, who preserved the true faith (as defined by those councils), as opposed to those who were declared heretical. The official designation of the church in its liturgical and canonical texts is 'the Orthodox Catholic Church' (gr. catholicos = universal)." With all humility, the Orthodox Church claims to be the full and unbroken continuation of the ancient Church of Christ, preserving the fullness of the Faith as it was delivered to her. For the first millennium of history, the Church spread the Gospel of Christ throughout the world in unified fashion with five major ancient local churches as centers. However, in the year 1054, the beginning of what would become known as the Great Schism would occur in which one of the centers, the church of Rome (thereafter calling itself the "Holy Roman Church" or "Roman Catholic Church"), broke communion with the other ancient churches of Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch, and Alexandria (the latter together thereafter retaining the name of pre-schism Church of Christ--The Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church). You will often see the terms "Orthodox" and "Catholic" used together or interchangeably in patristic and ecclesiastical texts. Unfortunately today both Orthodox and non-Orthodox have come to utilize the term "Catholic" as meaning "Roman Catholic"--the worldwide Roman Church of various rites, regrettably forgetting that the name Catholic likewise has always been retained by Orthodoxy (from the Greek Catholicos="according to the whole" or "universal").
Most Holy Mother of God parish, located east of Tampa Florida, is an Orthodox Church within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the Eastern Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America (UOC of the USA); whose Bishops are members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America. We are an active parish within the Orthodox Christian community of Tampa Bay. We welcome all Orthodox Christians and all others who seek the Lord regardless of nationality, in accordance with Holy Scriptures, the Canons and rulings of the Ecumenical Councils and approved local councils of the Holy Church which have conveyed truths of the Faith. As Scripture states: "God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10.34-35) As God Himself has said, and as Holy Scripture testifies: "Everyone who is named is Mine, whom I have prepared for my Glory, whom I formed and made. And I have brought for the blind people, who are blind though they have eyes, and those who are deaf though they have ears". The Second Ecumenical Council upholds this principle when it declares: "Let spiritual love link us together, and let the fear of the Lord suppress all human prejudice and put the building up of the churches before individual attachment or favor...and with God's good favor, we shall keep the body of the Church undivided" (Proclamation of the Tome of the 2nd Ecumenical Council, Encyclical of 382).
As the Body of Christ and members of Christ, the mission of our parish is to love the Lord and all mankind by becoming more Christ-like and providing a welcoming nurturing environment to all those who seek God, and by supporting those who are in need with the outstretched arms of God (the outstretched arms of God--that's you and me--that IS the Church). It is in this way that we embrace the continuous presence of the Holy Spirit in our timeless Orthodox heritage and pass it down to all generations--present and future--by reaching out to the community and thereby helping Christ's Body to grow--a responsibility of every Orthodox Christian. Every week the Faithful of our parish, together with Orthodox Faithful throughout the world gather on Sunday, the Lord's Day (the Day of the week on which the Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost took place), and ask the Holy Spirit to descend upon them and fill them with God's grace in prayer, in word and in sacrament. They continue their participation in God's grace throughout the week by talking to God in prayer, by listening to His teaching as given in Scripture, and by doing good toward others, by counseling the downtrodden, by helping the helpless, giving hope to the hopeless, and by generally showing the love of God to others.
Our parish is comprised of faithful members with a great variety of ethnic roots: African, Austrian, Bulgarian, Carpatho-Rusyn, Central American, Cuban, Cypriot, Egyptian, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Indian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Scottish, Slovakian, Spanish, Syrian, and Ukrainian, among others.
We are located at 3820 Moores Lake Road Dover, Florida 33527. For directions and other information on our parish please click on "Parish info" link.
Sunday Divine Liturgy begins at 9:45am and is in English. We also have services every day on a rotational basis, either one or several of the following: Matins, Hours Services, Supplicatory service (Moleban/Paraklesis), Divine Liturgy, and Typika, or in the evening Vespers or Compline. For more information on services and events, please click on "Schedule ." Here we welcome all to visit us and to "come and see". If you have never been to an Orthodox Christian Church before, you may want to click on the following link and read the 12 things I wish I had known before my first visit to an Orthodox Church by Frederica Matthewes-Greene. We look forward to seeing you, and if you are without a spiritual home, we invite you to make us your spiritual home; your family part of our family in the Lord. In any case, may God bless you richly in the journey of the life in Christ.
The icon of Christ Blessing the Little Children is from Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church, Harrisburg PA
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