In the past year, we have seen our new temple truly begin to take shape. Our new contractor began work on the project at the start of 2022, correcting some structural issues with the existing walls and moving forward with the remainder of the construction. But West Virginia’s winter meant that it was slow going at first.
Last April, however, we received a visitation of the miracle-working “Quick to Hear” Icon of the Theotokos from St. Tikhon’s Monastery in Pennsylvania. This precious icon was brought to us personally by the Abbot of St. Tikhon’s, Archimandrite Sergius, who expressed to us his confidence that the Mother of God herself had come to remove the obstacles that had been hindering the church construction. During the visit, we carried the holy icon in procession to the construction site and served a supplicatory moleben, begging the Mother of God “Quick to Hear” for her speedy intercession on behalf of our building efforts. We implored the Theotokos for her help, and she truly was quick to hear and act.
Within just a few days of her visit, the masonry work began in earnest on the new church, and the building finally began to rise above ground right before our eyes. With grateful hearts, we have continued every Friday at noon to serve a moleben before the large reproduction of the “Quick to Hear” Icon that St. Tikhon’s Monastery so graciously gave us. Since that eventful weekend, construction has continued unabated. The lower level is now structurally complete, with much of the plumbing and electrical work already completed and more being finished every day. The radiant heat system has been installed in the main level of the church, the concrete floor has been poured, and the masonry walls of both the church and the bell tower have nearly reached their final height. In the near future we will be ready to begin both the massive timber-frame roof, as well as the stuccoing of the outer walls. Glory be to Christ our God and to His Most-Pure Mother!
As the building has moved forward, we’re already seeing how significant this temple will be, not just for our monastery but for the witness of Orthodoxy in our country. In fact, we have learned from our construction foreman that several of the West Virginia master craftsmen now working on the new temple actually requested to be on this particular project as opposed to other jobs to which they could have easily been assigned—jobs closer to their homes. None of these men are Orthodox. And yet, they say they are willing to drive all the way out to our monastery in the middle of nowhere, because they know this new church is going to be something special, and they want to be a part of it.
It will be something special; there’s no doubt about it.
That said, our remote location, coupled with the unavoidable delays and dramatic price increases for many of the essential building materials required, means that this church is going to cost considerably more than we had originally anticipated. But with God’s help and your support, we are pressing on.
So far, our brotherhood has invested our entire savings of over $1.6 million dollars, and now we have begun tapping into the $2.2 million dollars that you, our generous benefactors, have already given. But much more will soon be required. When we look at the construction bills we are currently paying each month, we project that we will be able to continue building at full speed until May or June. At that time, however, without a miracle, our funds will be exhausted, and we will have to stop the church construction until the Lord provides a way to continue.
Many of you have already donated very generously to this project, and for that, we are tremendously grateful. But our work here in the hills of West Virginia is just beginning. We won’t be able to finish building the walls of our New Jerusalem without your ongoing support. Please prayerfully consider either a one-time or a monthly contribution to our church fund. An envelope is enclosed for those who wish to send a check, and we also accept donations online at church.holycross.org.
Christ said we are to be the light of the world, that a city set on a hill cannot be hid. Help us build this city set on a hill, so that our life of prayer and worship will not stay hidden in this remote hollow of West Virginia, but will be an ever-brighter light to our neighbors, to our nation, and to the whole world.