Welcome to St. John Cassian and St. Hierarch Andrei Metropolitan of Transylvania Orthodox Christian Church
San Antonio, Texas
Sunday Service 10:30 am
“Orthodoxy believes that the Christian Faith and the Church are inseparable. It is impossible to know Christ, to share in the life of the Holy Trinity, or to be considered a Christian apart from the Church. It is in the Church that the Christian Faith is proclaimed and maintained. It is through the Church that an individual is nurtured in the Faith.” (The Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas, https://www.mitropolia.us/index.php/en/who-we-are/the-orthodox-faith)
The 20th century has brought many ideological, historical and socio-economical changes in Romania. Many Romanians who took the way of immigration, carried with them their Orthodox Faith. To continue their communion with God and witness their faith, many Romanians had established missions and churches outside Romania, but at the same time, keeping alive their connection with the mother church.
The Romanian community of San Antonio is one of these. The number of Romanians living in San Antonio is small, compared to cities like Los Angeles, Chicago or Detroit. In 2002, Rev Fr. Iulian Anitei moved with his family from Alaska to San Antonio, to organize the Romanian Orthodox community. Fr. Anitei served the small community of Romanians at a small chapel consecrated to the Mother of God. When the chapel closed, the community was faced with the decision to organize themselves even more to continue with their Orthodox faith.
This is how St. John Cassian Romanian Orthodox Mission became into existence on May 14, 2014. Fr. Anitei continued to serve the community but at the same time continued with his efforts of establishing Orthodox missions also in Austin and Houston. The mission is under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas.
For a couple of years, the community rented spaces for service and fellowship. In these years, the community received several times the visit of His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae who supported and encouraged the community to unite even further in their efforts of establishing the first Romanian Orthodox Church in San Antonio.
From 2016, the Mission is under the pastoral guidance of Rev. Fr. Valentin Ilies. Fr. Ilies encountered a small community of Romanian parishioners eager to continue the efforts began by Fr. Anitei. The community continued renting places for worship for a few more years. Fr. Ilies not only instilled the community with an even bigger desire to establish the Romanian Orthodox Church in San Antonio but also brought his years of experience in establishing and growing an Orthodox community.
Uniting their efforts, the community members were able to purchase land to build the new church. Unforeseen difficulties in obtaining all the required permit construction forced the community to abandon this project.
In 2019, the community purchased a building that became the permanent site for the church. Also, the Mission was elevated to the rank of Parish and Fr. Ilies became its first parish priest. Fr. Ilies, his wife Presbytera Cristina, and members of the Parish Council continue in their efforts of growing the Romanian Orthodox community in San Antonio.
The church and the Romanian community are involved in many pastoral, missionary and benefic activities, supporting organizations in US as well as providing financial support to orphanages and families in need in Romania.
Our church community is involved in many activities to include children's ministries and events, women and men's groups, fellowship get togethers and meals, holidays celebrations and traditions and humanitarian effort. During the years, our church supported orphanages in Romania, such as Turnu Rosu Orphanage in Sibiu County, that helps young adults with disabilities, "Glasul Vietii" Association in Iasi, that helps children and mothers. The church had supported also individual families in Romania and US. We have also contributed to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
Members of our church visited the Turnu Rosu Orphanage in Romania and took our donation to the center.
March 2019 The Sacrament of the Holy Unction - At this special service, participated Orthodox priests from different churches in town and in Texas (Austin, Dallas, Euless.) It is a service offered for healing the soul and the body and for forgiveness of sins. The service is performed by several priests. During the service, the priests read 7 times from the Gospel and anoint the persons present 7 times with the oil, on the forehead and the palms. For this service, we counted with the presence of Orthodox priests form Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Euless and also with the presence of Father Dean Calin Barbalovici.
February 10, 2019 - We organized a Fundraising lunch benefitting the St. Paraskeva Orthodox Charity. The organization supports families in need, orphanages, school projects in Romania.
April 21, 2018 - Ladies from our church taught a Romanian cooking class. They cooked traditional recipes learned for their mothers and grandmothers. Later on, the participants shared a lunch with our ladies and tasted the delicious meals.
March 18, 2018 - Father Ilies and members of our parish organized a pilgrimage to the Holy Archangel Greek Monastery in Kendalia, Texas, were they venerated the Hawaii's Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon. The icon was at the monastery only for a few days and many orthodox had a chance to pray to and venerate it.
In 2017, our ladies hosted a lunch together with a groups of ladies from the Shepherd King Lutheran Church in San Antonio. We shared about our faiths and we ate traditional Romanian dishes, as well as American and German dishes.
Blessing of the Waters, celebrated every year on January the 6th.
During the years, we have organized many fellowship and get togethers for our Romanian community.
The Sacrament of Baptism - Some of our younger members receiving the Sacrament of Baptism.
During the years, we have organized many activities and exhibits that showcased our culture, traditions, and customs. Visitors had a chance to learn about our Romanian culture and Orthodox faith.
We honor our departed with the special service of parastas. A Parastas is a liturgical memorial service for the repose of the departed. During the small service, psalms, litanies, hymns, and prayers are sang by the priest. In the middle of the table there is "Coliva" which is made of boiled wheat with walnuts. It is blessed by the priest, sprinkled with red wine and at the end of the service it is served to those in attendance. There are also "Colaci" which are a special type of bread made for this occasion.
April 19, 2020 Easter – This year, Fr. Ilies celebrated the Easter’s Divine Liturgy only in the presence of the church singer and a helper.
March 8, 2020 Sunday of Orthodoxy - Pan-Orthodox Vespers celebrated at St. John Cassian together with priests and parishioners from the Orthodox churches in San Antonio.
February 28, 2020
His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae, Father Valentin Ilies, Father Tudora, Father Anitei, Archdeacon Mihai Buca and members of the Tronos Choir.
February 28, 2020 Vespers - Celebrated in the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae and members of the Tronos Choir from the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest, Romania. The Tronos choir performed Byzantine religious music and Romanian songs.
February 29, 2020 Divine Liturgy and Celebration of St. John Cassian, Patron Saint of our church - Were present His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae and members of the Tronos Choir from the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate in Romania, led by Archdeacon Mihail Buca, as well as priests from the Orthodox churches in San Antonio.
January 12, 2020 Pan Orthodox Theophany - The blessing of the Waters, celebrated by various Orthodox churches in San Antonio.
December 22, 2019 Caroling our parishioners. The children of our parish continue the tradition of their parents and grandparents of caroling parishioners on Christmas Eve.
December 1, 2019 Romania’s National Day – Even though we are far away from Romania and many of us left it many years ago, we still carry the Romanian identity deeply rooted in our hearts. On this day, we celebrated the National Day of Romania with songs, poems and proudly wearing our traditional Romanian costumes.
Left: Icons of St. John Cassian, one of the patron saints of our church and icon of the Virgin Mary with the child.
Right: children waiting for His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae.
November 3, 2019 Inauguration and Blessing of the new church
Day of great joy for our community! We were blessed with the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae, Father Dean Calin Barbalovici, priests from San Antonio, Austin, and Houston who served thee Divine Liturgy and blessed the new building of St John Cassian. At the Divine Liturgy participated also Hieromonk Petru Pruteanu form Portugal and Father Lucian Birzu from Italy.
November 2, 2019 - St. John Cassian hosted the Annual Archdiocesan Meeting. The meeting was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae, Father Dean Calin Barbalovici, Orthodox priests from the Southwest area of US, members of ROYA and AROLA associations. The participants presented accomplishments of their parishes and organizations and it was also showed a slide presentation about the Romanian village and its strong connections to the Orthodox faith.
July 14, 2019 - With great joy, our community entered for the first time in the building that will become our permanent place of worship. For this first time, Fr. Ilies blessed the building and the surrounding, as well as all the persons present for this great day for our community.
June 2019 - We represented our church and the Romanian community for the second time at the Folk Life Festival organized by the Institute of Texan Cultures.
December 1, 2018 – Our community celebrated the Romanian National Day and also 100 years since the creation of the modern Romania. With great pride, we wore our traditional costume, we sang Romanian songs and recited poems written by famous Romanians. Together with our guests, we shared a meal where our ladies prepared traditional Romanian dishes.
March 3, 2018 - His Eminence Archbishop and Metropolitan Nicolae from The Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of Americas blessed the site where our community initially planned to build the church.
March 4, 2018 - His Eminence Archbishop and Metropolitan Nicolae from The Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of Americas officiating the Sunday Service
March 3rd, 2018 - Christ Amongst Us Concert - For the first time in Texas, The Dionysious Exiguous, Chantal Choir of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Italy, performed an amazing Byzantine music concert in Romanian, English and Greek. This extraordinary concert celebrated the Triumph of Orthodoxy, 100 years of Unity, Faith and Nation. The concert was followed by a lent dinner prepared by the Romanian community for all who attended the concert.
February 26, 2018 - On the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Orthodox Church celebrates the victory of the right faith over all heresies, especially the iconoclasm. At the Romanian Orthodox Mission Church Saint John Cassian of San Antonio, Texas, the Divine Liturgy was served by Father Dean Emeritus Dumitru Păun from the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (OCA), together with Father Valentin Ilies and many faithful present. For a detailed article about this special event please click on the link below
CONFERENCES - SPIRITUAL RETREATS
At Sunday school, we have groups divided by age. Our children are learning about the Orthodox faith and the Divine Liturgy. The majority of our children are born here in US and do not know too much about Romania. We teach them the language, they are learning about traditions and customs.
We have 3 age groups: 4-7 years old, 8-12 years old and 13-16 years old. The classes are conducted in English.
The older boys are helping during the liturgy as altar boys. Our children take part in all celebrations: Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Romanian National Day, etc.
Last December, for the first time, Father Ilies celebrated the Divine Liturgy for and with the children only.
The older boys of our parish participate during the Divine Liturgy as altar boys.
December 22, 2019 - The children of our parish continued the tradition of their parents and grandparents of caroling parishioners.
On Christmas Eve, accompanied by Fr Ilies and Presbytera Cristina, they visited several houses of our parishioners and sang traditional Romanian carols. Some proudly wore Romanian traditional costumes.
December 7, 2019 – The Divine Liturgy performed for and with the children. Fr. Ilies celebrated the Divine Liturgy only for the children from our parish. After the liturgy, they helped prepare the lunch, played, and engaged in activities like playing chess (the chess club of the parish was created) and received gifts from St. Nicholas.
Summer 2019 All Saints Summer Camp
Father Ilies accompanied the older children form our parish to an all Orthodox children camp. Our young ones learned about pour Orthodox faith, participated at the Divine Liturgy, participated in competitions, played games, and made new friends.
After acquiring our new property about a year ago, we continue to work hard to make our new home a fitting Orthodox Christian liturgical space. Your donations to our Building Fund will be used for a new iconostasis, an iconographic project, liturgical holy vessels, and other important Church furnishings. We are extremely thankful for your generosity! Every little bit will help us adorn our beautiful new Church home. May God bless you and your families!
Beside using the "Donate button," we encourage donations by checks also. Our address is:
1801 W Thorain Blvd, San Antonio, Texas 78201
MEET THE TEAM
Rev. Fr. Valentin Dumitru Ilies
Rev. Fr.'s wife,
Parish Council President,
The Saint John Cassian Romanian Orthodox Church is a parish in The Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas.
For more information about the Metropolia please visit the link below.