The Holy Family Orthodox Church will bring something new to the area as it is the only Western Rite Orthodox church in the northern Shenandoah Valley.
The Rev. Richard Reed was recently ordained in New York, and is in the process of establishing the parish. He is holding liturgies at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings in a temporary chapel in his Woodstock home.
“Establishing a parish is just like establishing a church in that it takes time, effort and funds,” Reed said. He and his wife have been searching the area for a facility to house anywhere from 50 to 100 people, he added.
“It just depends on where the people are and what’s available,” he said.
The parish is part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. “Western Rite” refers to ancient Orthodox rites that are pre-schism and could be found in western lands including Ireland, Britain and Rome, according to the church website.
Reed was raised Roman Catholic and served as a protestant minister before converting to Western Orthodox. He was a chaplain in Ohio, Florida and Virginia and served as one at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock.
“There are a lot of people who were Orthodox at one time or maybe left the Roman Catholic church,” he said. “I’m hoping they find that it’s time to come back to the church and see if this is different … I believe it is.”
Reed said the liturgies will be given in English, and his sermons will only last 15 to 20 minutes. He said emphasis will be placed on traditional values. The current chapel has no pews, but instead two benches “for those who must sit.”
Women will be expected to wear head coverings, and anyone attending should be dressed modestly, he said. He said the parish believes in “the traditional family.”
“We follow what the Bible says,” Reed added.
Reed said the liturgies will be formal and will include homemade phosphora bread.
“I won’t speak against any other churches,” he said. “We’ll all stand before God someday, and He knows who is right with Him.”
For more information on the Holy Family Orthodox Church, go to holyfamilyorthodoxchurch.com or call 459-9069.