Our Parish History

Note: This is a very brief parish history and cannot possible include all the people, events, and facts leading to the development and growth of the mission in the Wenatchee Valley.

In 2004 Fr. Michael Shanbour was assigned to Christ the Savior, the mission parish in Spokane Valley, WA.  In the summer of 2006 he met Kathryn King, an Orthodox Christian from the Wenatchee area (Malaga).  Kathy informed Fr. Michael of a group of Orthodox Christians living in the Wenatchee Valley without an Orthodox church.  Having moved from Kansas in 2004, Father had not even heard of such a place, but had a desire to to visit these “orphaned” Orthodox Christians.  Around June 9, 2006, Fr. Michael received an enthusiastic blessing from then Bishop Joseph (Diocese of Los Angeles and the West/NW) to make an investigative trip to Wenatchee.

On July 9, 2006, Kathryn King, Janice Stutzman, and Donise DuBruille visited Christ the Savior to speak with Fr. Michael about exploring outreach to the Valley.  Janice and her husband, Myron, were long-time residents of the Valley and had already become Orthodox Christians at St. Paul Orthodox Church in Briar, WA in 1998.  They had previously prayed for and pursued the possibility of an Orthodox parish in Wenatchee for some years and initiated some conversation to this effect with Fr. James Bernstein of St. Paul and Fr. John Finley of the Department of Missions and Evangelism for the Diocese of the West.  Kathryn had been Orthodox since about 1981 and Donise had desired to enter the Orthodox Church for a number of years.  All were friends.  Fr. Michael suggested that they begin praying the Akathist to Saint Innocent of Alaska, a great missionary to the Aleut Islands and Western America.

A first event was planned for Friday, August 18 to be held at the Wenatchee Community Center’s social hall.  Vespers was scheduled for 6:00pm followed by a talk and conversation about Orthodoxy and a possible mission church.  Fr. Michael enlisted the help of Fr. David Hovik (St. Andrew, Arlington, WA) who had already brought his former independent Evangelical congregation into the Orthodox Church.  They were also joined by Deacon James Bryant of St. Paul in Briar.

About thirty people from the greater community showed up for the historic event.  After Vespers Fr. David spoke about his journey to the Orthodox Faith and Fr. Michael also addressed the group.  Following the formal meeting a spaghetti dinner was provided and enjoyed by all.  It was there that Fr. Michael met some other Orthodox Christians from the area, including Bill Lolos and sisters, Kiki and Koula, Chris and Katherine Roumeliotis, and others.

August 19, 2006 was a truly historic day for Orthodoxy in Wenatchee as the very first Divine Liturgy ever was served in the home of Donise DuBruille!

Following that initial meeting, Fr. Michael traveled from Spokane once per month for about four years to serve Vespers on Friday evenings and Divine Liturgy on Saturday mornings.  Deacon Elijah Adkins often accompanied Fr. Michael to help sing the responses along with Mary Graham, both from Christ the Savior in Spokane.  After Friday Vespers Fr. Michael taught a sort of catechism on various aspects of the Orthodox Christian Faith.  Services were held in the choir room of St. Joseph Catholic Church with the permission of the local bishop for a nominal fee.  Worship was almost always followed by a wonderful fellowship meal hosted by Bill and Florence Lolos or Bill and Koula MacDonald.  Also for a period of over one year Fr. Joseph Corrigan, who was temporarily attached to Holy Cross Church in Yakima at that time, traveled monthly on different dates to serve the community.  Fr. David Sommer from St. Thomas in Snohomish, WA also served on occasion.

Over those years more Orthodox Christians found the gatherings thanks to an ad in the Wenatchee World or by word of mouth.  Also a number of inquirers were catechized and brought into the Holy Orthodox Church.   The mission became an increasingly vibrant and growing community.

In December of 2009 Fr. Michael received the news that he was being transferred from Christ the Savior in Spokane Valley to Wenatchee effective February 2010.  The status of the Orthodox fellowship in Wenatchee was also elevated to the status of a full-fledge mission of the Archdiocese.  After much consideration Bishop Joseph placed the community under the patronage of the “Three Hierarchs,” Saints Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom, with the patronal feast day of January 30.

After a long search for church property, and many months of holding services in the homes of parishioners (David & Margaret Soule, Bill & Florence Lolos), the community found a storefront property in downtown Wenatchee on “The Avenue,” 112 Wenatchee Avenue.  It was still many months before the mission could occupy the property as the City required the landlord to make significant structural changes and improvements.  Three Hierarchs community moved into the location, after much preparation, toward the end of February 2011 just in time for the very first visit of our Bishop (now Metropolitan) Joseph.  The first Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy downtown were celebrated on February 26-27.  That evening His Grace Bishop Joseph arrived for a Sunday Vespers.  After the service he greeted the young community and gave a beautiful teaching.  His stop in Wenatchee meant the His Grace would have a treacherous, 4-5 hour car ride over the snowy passes back to western Washington.

Three Hierarchs continued to grow and thrive, both spiritual and in numbers.  In June of 2013 the community purchased 1.7 acres at 1915 N. Western Avenue, across from the Wenatchee Cemetery.  One year later, with generous donations from within and outside the immediate church community, the property was paid off.  Since there was no existing structure adequate to hold worship services, the community continued renting the small 1,100 square foot house.

In April 2016, after five years in the storefront, Three Hierarchs received a sudden vacate notice.  A search began for an alternative location.  After a great deal of prayer and consideration the parish council conceived a plan that would allow the congregation to relocate permanently on our new property.  As of the end of March 2016 we are in the final stages of that plan and hope to begin worshipping there for Holy Week, beginning April 9.