St. Herman of Alaska Church
60 Clifton Chapel Lane
Stafford, VA 22555
PO Box 1295
Stafford, VA 22555-1295
Capital Region Deanery
Archpriest Alexander Webster
20931 Glenburn Terrace
Ashburn, VA 20147
Phone: (703) 297-7744
Deacon Alexander Laymon
Сell: (540) 212-1855
Sisterhood of the
Holy Myrrhbearing Women
Matushka Joanna Laymon
Choir Conductor - Choir sings in English
Saturday Vigil: 6:00 PM
Sunday Liturgy: 10:00 AM
Wekday Vigil: 7:00 PM
Weekday Liturgy: 10:00 AM
Services are conducted in English
St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, a parish of the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), was originally granted
mission status by the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) on May 1,
2004. That particular
day’s icons on the revised Julian calendar were, providentially,
the "Unexpected Joy" of
the Theotokos and
the "Myrrh-bearing Women.”
In the evening of May 9, our founding members
gathered together at the historic Aquia Episcopal Church’s
fellowship hall for a Prayer of Thanksgiving for our new mission
community. At the time
we did not realize that this was just the first of God’s many
blessings upon us through our Episcopalian friends at Aquia.
Our founding priest, Archpriest Michael Roshak, celebrated our
first Divine Liturgy as a mission community at the Stafford
Courthouse Community Center on May 30, 2004 (Pentecost Sunday).
Since then, God the Holy Spirit has clearly engendered a
true spirit of Christian fellowship and love that is still quite
On August 15, 2004, we celebrated our twelfth Divine Liturgy
together at our new location, Fredericksburg Square, in downtown
We witnessed our first chrismation of a convert to
Orthodoxy only two months later on October 24.
On November 6, Metropolitan Herman of the OCA provided his
blessing to dedicate the mission to “Christ the Savior.”
A mere 22 days later, we
witnessed our first two baptisms.
We have worshipped at our current location, the historic Clifton
Chapel in Stafford, Virginia, since January 1, 2005.
At first, we had access to the property only for Saturday
Vespers, but one month later Aquia church granted us full-time use
of the chapel and grounds.
We celebrated our first Divine Liturgy in our long-standing
home on February 13, 2005 (Zacchaeus Sunday).
The historic Clifton Chapel was built in the 1850’s and provided a
convenient place to worship for Wide Water, Virginia, residents
when poor weather rendered the roads impassible.
Both sides of the Civil War (“War Between the States”)
occupied this chapel on a hill overlooking the Potomac River.
At that time there were few trees in the vicinity, and the
chapel offered an excellent observation post and a high ground for
artillery to guard the Potomac River’s shoreline. After the war,
local families repaired the damaged church, and it continued to
serve the community. In
1896 Clifton Chapel was officially dedicated as a property of
Aquia Episcopal Church. Now, as the home of St. Herman of
Alaska Orthodox Church, its quiet, wooded location offers a
peaceful worship environment.
On November 26, 2006, our founding priest served his final Divine
Liturgy with us. We
were then without an assigned parish priest until September 9,
2007, when we welcomed Archpriest Michael Sekela as our permanent
rector. Father Michael
came out of retirement as a priest to serve the Lord yet again,
relocating from Chicago, Illinois, to Stafford, Virginia, and
bringing us our first
matushka (or “Little Mother” in Russian), his wife Theresa.
Father Michael and Matushka Theresa continued together to
expand and enhance the family we had started, especially by
introducing the concept of congregational singing.
Under Father Michael’s visionary leadership, our chapel
conformed more closely to the image of a traditional Orthodox
church, when we moved all the pews to the perimeter of the chapel
and installed a beautiful, rustic iconostas handcrafted by Father
Through Matushka Theresa’s guidance, we officially established the
Sisterhood of the Myrrh-bearing Women, inspired by one of the
icons on the day of our founding as an Orthodox mission (May 1,
God the Holy Trinity has continued to bless us through the
friendship and generosity of Aquia Episcopal Church, which granted
us occupancy of a newly-built parish hall in 2009 and, in 2010, a
ten-year lease for the entire property, including Clifton Chapel,
the parish hall, and children’s playground.
On September 1, 2011, upon Father Michael Sekela’s second and
“final” retirement, we welcomed Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster,
PhD, and his wife Matushka Kathleen.
Fr. Alexander retired as a U.S. Army chaplain (in the rank
of colonel) in 2010, but he continues to teach as an adjunct
professor at Northern Virginia Community College (comparative
religion) and George Mason University (emergency management).
While revitalizing our community’s liturgical, educational,
evangelistic, and humanitarian missions, Father Alexander has
steadfastly maintained our congregational singing, now led by the
angelic voices of our “liturgical singers” directed by Areti
April 1, 2012, our very own William Laymon was tonsured a reader,
set aside as a subdeacon, and ordained into the diaconate as
“Alexander” by Metropolitan Jonah, former primate of the OCA.
Previously, in January 2012, Matushka Joanna Laymon formed
the Iconography Guild of St. Theodosia.
On December 19, 2012, the congregation met in Special Assembly and
voted unanimously to petition Metopolitan Hilarion to receive the
mission as a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
(ROCOR). On January
31, 2013, we cleared the last hurdle for Metropolitan Tikhon of
the OCA to dissolve the OCA mission and free us to enter ROCOR.
His Eminence inspired us to begin our new ecclesial life in
ROCOR as a parish under the heavenly protection of St. Herman of
Alaska, Russian missionary priest to Alaska in the eighteenth
century and the first canonized American saint of the Church.
Meanwhile, we have dedicated our parish hall to Christ the
Savior, the original name of the mission community.
Today our growing congregation numbers approximately 40 adult
members and 15 children.
Prospective new members, visitors, and other seekers of the
truth of the Gospel of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ will
always find a warm southern welcome among us.