In 2010, There was an interest among the faithful for starting an Orthodox Christian Mission Church in the Hickory area. We had a small gathering of potential parishioners along with Fr. Marcus Burch, Fr. Thomas Moore and Fr. Christopher Foley at Libby Seafood Restaurant.
Sometime after the meeting we held our first Vespers service at Lenior-Rhyne University in which Pastor Andrew Weisner the Dean, Campus Ministry allowed us to use Koinonia (K) House Chapel. Father Christopher Foley of Holy Cross in High Point, NC and some members of his choir came to assist and led the service. With the new beginnings of our mission station we had started a Face Book page called Hickory Orthodox Mission. We held two Vespers services at the LR University K House Chapel and a few Vesper services at Saint Andrews ELCA near the campus of L-R University. We soon discontinued meeting for the lack of interest in the low attendance of the services.
Pascha (Easter) of 2014, There were a few Moldovan families from the Hickory area who had attended Pascha services at Holy Cross in High Point, NC and had expressed to Fr. Christopher that they would support a mission church in the Hickory area.
Father Christopher again needed to gauge interest for starting of a mission so we then hosted a few social gatherings in July, August and September of 2014 at local parks and in private homes.
November 9, 2014, We held a Vespers Service at the new Lenoir-Rhyne University Grace Chapel. Father Christopher and members of Holy Cross choir once again came to help lead our service.
2014-2015, We continued to have Vesper services once a month on Sunday evenings at the Sebastian Chapel of St. Aloysius Catholic Church. Where we had to setup our worship items and take down each week.
On Sunday, November 22, 2015, we relocated to Zion ELCA where we would use their old chapel built in the late 1800s which they were no longer using. Here were able to leave our worship items setup. We were going to start having Sunday morning Typica Readers Services. As we continued to have a few more Vespers services with Fr. Christopher and Fr. David assisting us with learning the Typica Readers service.
In 2016, our Choir Director Bill Morgan started leading us in Typica Readers Services on Sunday mornings.
Saturday, May 7, 2016, we held our First Divine Liturgy which was on Bright Saturday with Fr. Christopher, Fr. Deacon George, and Fr. David Wooten with members of Holy Cross Choir.
June 2016, His Grace, Bishop Alexander gave the Hickory mission a name and heavenly patron, the Holy Archangel Gabriel.
The Archangel Gabriel Mission Station.
Fr. Christopher Foley, Fr. David Wooten, continued to rotate serving Divine Liturgy with Fr. Paul Schellbach a retired military chaplain who also came to help start leading and assisting with the mission.
From May 2016 to October 2018, we had Divine Liturgy once a month and continued to have Typica Reader Services on Sundays without Divine Liturgy when no priest was scheduled.
From November 2018 to March 2020, we started having Divine Liturgy twice a month and continued to have Typica Reader Services on Sunday’s without Divine Liturgy.
Sunday, January 27, 2019, After Divine Liturgy we met at Rotary-Geitner Park for Blessing of the Waters for the Feast of Theophany for our first time to bless the Catawba River on Lake Hickory with Fr. Paul Schellbach. Our event was reported in the Hickory Daily Record, the Caldwell Journal, and other media outlets.
Sunday, August 18, 2019, for the Afterfeast of the Dormition of the Theotokos was our last Divine Liturgy held at Zion ELCA Chapel. We had to begin relocating due to the condition of the building, which needed remodeling.
Sunday, September 8, 2019, we had Divine Liturgy at our new location in the Sebastian Chapel of St. Aloysius Catholic Church on the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos with Fr. Christopher.
Sunday, March 1, 2020, Archbishop Alexander granted us Mission status and assigned Fr. Paul Schellbach priest-in charge. We are now blessed to have Vespers and Divine Liturgy each weekend.
March 17, 2020, We moved to our new Location of the Parish Center of Bethany Lutheran Church.
January 2023, New Location at Grace Lutheran Church's parish hall, Newton.
Feburary 2023, We received the OCA Planting Grant and Father Paul Schellbach beomes our full time priest.
Holy Friday of April 21, 2023, We closed on our future home at Henry River Village, NC. Currently, the building committee is working with our builder and architect to finalize all county code requirements.
Sunday, 3 September, 2023, we relocated to our first commercial rental property at an old furniture store warehouse that looks like an old English Tudor. This will be our last temporary location until we finish renovations on our new property.
We had moved so many different times in the past 9 years. Fr. Christopher Foley said once, "We are like the moving tabernacle of the Old Testament."
Monday, November 20, 2023, we were granted our certificate of occupancy for our new building by Burke county! By the grace of God, endless prayers, the hard work of our church volunteers, and our builder/contractor who came out of nowhere, who volunteered to help create us an Orthodox Temple in Hickory. Our new home at the historic Henry River Mill Village!
We held our first service the Akathist of Thanksgiving on Wednesday 22, 2023, the evening before Thanksgiving Day.
Glory to God for All Things!
We pray O Lord, that thou wilt guide, bless and fulfill our efforts to grow a holy and thriving parish and that thou wilt enable us to grow in spirit and in numbers as a living witness to Thy love, power and glory. Amen!