We are a mission community of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) under the guidance of the Most Reverend PAUL, Archbishop of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest. The OCA is an autocephalous church under Metropolitan TIKHON of North America.
We, as Orthodox Christians, strive to lead Gospel-inspired lives of self-sacrifice, proclaiming the good news of Christ’s Resurrection.
All of our services are in English, in accordance with the old Christian tradition of praying in the common language of the people.
We pray that God leads you to discover the beauty and truth embodied in the most ancient Christian faith, the Holy Orthodox Church.
In 1895, an Orthodox parish, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, was established in Holdingford, Minnesota. It existed for about one hundred years, but eventually closed in the mid-1990’s. This community was the first Orthodox church in Central Minnesota. Since the late 1980’s, a few Orthodox Christians in St. Cloud began meeting in people’s homes for worship. Priests visiting from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Minneapolis periodically visited St. Cloud and the newly-formed mission of St. James. There was no permanent priest, however.
In 1999, several Orthodox families in the St. Cloud area decided that it was time to start a more permanent Orthodox community. His Eminence Archbishop JOB established us as a mission community, then known as St. Cloud Orthodox Mission. Father Nathan Kroll from St. Mary’s Cathedral, Minneapolis, agreed to become our pastor. Worship often took place within the homes of the parishioners.
Eventually, a suitable building was found for our community. On Holy Myrrhbearers Sunday (April 29, 2001), we celebrated our first Divine Liturgy in our new building. Archbishop JOB visited and renamed our parish from St. Cloud Orthodox Mission to Holy Myrrhbearers Orthodox Church.
As of now, our church is the only Orthodox congregation in Central Minnesota. Many parishioners live fairly close to the church, although others drive for several hours to get here. Visitors are always welcome!
Our building is a beautiful Gothic-style church, built in 1929. It had previously belonged to Grace United Methodist church. During the time in which we have owned the building, we have made several improvements, including an iconostasis as well as many smaller (but nonetheless important) repairs.
An Orthodox church is traditionally made up of three main parts – the sanctuary, the nave, and the narthex. Within the sanctuary stands the altar table, on which the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist is performed. The nave is where the people stand during services. The narthex is the area behind the nave, which serves as an entryway.
The sanctuary is separated from the nave by the iconostasis, or icon screen. The doors in the middle are known as the Royal Doors, through which the priest enters and exits the sanctuary. Altar servers and deacons enter and exit through the side doors.
Our church also includes a separate oblation room, where the Proskomedia, or preparation of the bread and wine used in the Liturgy, takes place. In the majority of Orthodox churches, there is no separate oblation room (it is usually found in large churches), and the Proskomedia is performed in the general altar area.
In the summer of 2019 the parishioners of Holy Myrrhbearers set out on a project to renovate the basement gathering hall of the church. By the following October they’d repaired the walls, replaced the flooring, and had totally refreshed the whole space.
The COVID-19 shutdown in the Spring of 2020 was unexpected and distressing. Nevertheless it provided the parish with the opportunity to undertake a much needed renovation of the worship space. The altar area, which previously was tiny and had perilous steps, was more than doubled in size. The carpet on the main floor was removed revealing a beautiful one-hundred year old wood floor that parishioners promptly had refinished. Pews were arranged into a more traditionally Orthodox pattern against the outer walls and the worship space was thoroughly cleaned.