The Delmarva area Orthodox Mission has the distinction of being the first mission to be planted by the Orthodox Church in America in the present millennium.
An ad-hoc committee received the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius to pursue the planting of a mission in the Delmarva area that would celebrate services in the English language, supplementing the existing Greek Orthodox Church in Ocean City, and taking up the slack caused by the closing of the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Whaleyville.
The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in a medical facility on March 5, 2000. Following this Liturgy, a coordinating Council of area residents was appointed by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, and the search for a suitable home for the mission began.
The founding members, led by Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak, who had previously retired to the area, undertook the job of renovations, transforming the building into three sections: a chapel, an all purpose room, and an office.
In August of 2006, the mission achieved an important milestone as it welcomed Reverend John Parsells, a newly ordained priest from New Jersey, as the first fulltime pastor since her establishment in 2000.
In July of the next summer, His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman, the Archbishop of Washington and New York, made his first archpastoral visit to Christ the Savior. On this historic weekend, as the parish welcomed for the first time ever its diocesan hierarch, Fr. John was formally installed as Rector of the mission.
In 2007, the mission moved to a new home in Dagsboro, Delaware. The new facility was chosen because it was more centrally located between the northern and southern beaches, closer to parishioners' homes and provided enough room to accommodate the mission's growing congregation which has steadily risen since the founding of the church in 2000.
On the weekend of January 1-2, 2011, the faithful of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church welcomed His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, together with special guests and visitors, for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Mission's founding. The weekend was punctuated with a chrismation, the enrollment of 11 new catechumens, and receiving of a $20,000 matching donation for the building fund.
Later the same year, on August 17th, the day after celebrating the patronal feast of the mission, a truly unique and divinely sent opportunity presented itself in the finding of a 15.1 acre, 4300 square foot, Mediterranean style home with 3-car insulated garage, located just off Routes 113 and 90, strategically positioned for locals as well as vacationers.
After considerable research, on Sunday, October 9th, the Feast of St. Tikhon, the Enlightener of North America, the parishioners of Christ the Savior Mission assembled for a Special Parish Meeting and voted unanimously to purchase this estate located at 10315 Carey Road, Berlin, MD, to serve as their parish center, housing the chapel, fellowship hall and rectory.
Parishioners and friends offered very generously to make this purchase possible, with the lionshare of the funding for this holy endeavor coming through the generosity of the Mitsopolous family who offered a $100,000 donation and a $400,000 zero interest loan. On December 2nd, the mission closed on the property and immediately began preparations to move to the new parish center.
Then on the weekend of July 7-8, the faithful welcomed His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, together with friends of the Mission from both near and far for the celebratory festivities of "Opening Weekend".
Over 100 people gathered on this weekend as we offered thanks to the Lord and those who worked together with Him for the acquisition and beautification of the new Parish Center in Berlin, Maryland.
Some four years later, on the weekend of August 20-21, 2016, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon was welcomed by Priest John Parsells and the faithful of Christ the Savior Mission, Berlin, MD. The visit coincided with the burning of the mission’s mortgage—the $318,000.00 balance had been paid in full by an anonymous parishioner, fifteen years before it was due.
Parishioner Constantine Mitsopoulos was presented with a gramota in recognition of his exemplary stewardship and generous financial contributions and for offering the mission the $400,000.00 no-interest loan to acquire church property that houses a chapel, fellowship hall, and rectory.
The next year, having met the requirements of the Archdiocese of Washington and with the blessing of Metropolitan Tikhon, Christ the Savior Mission was raised to full parish status. His Beatitude made an archpastoral visit to elevate the church and to congratulate its founder, Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak, on his 90th birthday. Parishes and missions from throughout the Archdiocese gathered for the celebration, which coincided with the annual Diocesan Day, and friends and visitors were welcomed from near and far for this historic and festive occasion.
We acknowledge the generosity of the Archdiocese of Washington, sister parishes and visitors. We look forward to sharing our faith with those who live in the Delmarva area. Those who visit and vacation on the Eastern shore, we invite you to join the growing number of faithful who have adopted our Church by the Sea as their home away from home.
Finally, we thank the Lord for His continued blessings upon the Orthodox Church in America's Mission to Delmarva. May He continue to guide and help us! Glory and thanks be to Him for all things!