History of our Parish
The Saints Peter & Paul Church community was first sanctioned as a Mission on May 15, 1979. The outpouring of love and faith which brought about this new beginning, by Fr. George Rados and sixty founding members, was living proof that faith in God can provide greater miracles than is often anticipated. For how else did this community, with much potential and few resources, purchase property, renovate an existing structure and furnish a church at a cost of $500,000 in less than two years time? How often does a membership in a parish increase 75% in four short years and continue its growth despite the transient nature of its area?
The first Vesper-Liturgy of the Parish was celebrated on June 29, 1979, the Feast day of its Patron Saints, Peter & Paul, at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Bethesda. With three days notice, a makeshift altar and borrowed utensils, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Sunday, August 10, 1979 at Whittier Woods Elementary School. For two years this school was the church home. The resiliency and enthusiasm of the parish led to its establishment as a church on Sunday, July 11, 1980. An abandoned fire house, situated on 2.3 acres in Bethesda, Maryland, had been purchased one month earlier. This was another miracle since the Parish, in order to purchase this property, had to raise $65,000 in cash within sixty days. Time was not an ally. The school auditorium had to be vacated prior to the start of the 1981 Fall term. The parishioners met the challenge with the enthusiasm and the spark that was characteristic of the tenacity they had displayed in founding this community.
On June 29, 1981, the Feast day of Saints Peter & Paul, a Vesper Liturgy was celebrated with 240 parishioners and guests at the new church home, 7108 Bradley Boulevard, Bethesda, Maryland. As was hoped and anticipated, the requirements of the parish exceeded these facilities and in 1985 the parishioners again committed themselves to a building fund for the purpose of erecting an educational building and a social hall. This was completed in July 1988 at a cost of $800,000.
Again in May 1989, the Parish voted to purchase property immediately adjacent to the church at a cost of $450,000 with future needs to be the determinant as to how to proceed with the development of the property. In the meantime, this property was leased first to the Hellenic American Academy, an Orthodox parochial school, and subsequently to the Lone Oak Montessori School.
In 1995, the parish whose motto has been ‘All things are possible to him who believes’ once again dedicated themselves to a new building program and purchased six acres of land at River Road, in the heart of Potomac; a new and permanent home today.
In 2009, we were blessed to be voted Best Of Potomac 2009 Places of Worship.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church
We are a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Christian Church whose roots trace directly back to first century Antioch, the city in which the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). The Orthodox Church is the oldest and second largest Christian group in the world. We are called by God our creator to worship and follow Him, and to proclaim to the world His message of love, peace, and salvation.
The Antiochian Archdiocese, under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH Al-Zehlaoui, sees itself on a mission to bring America to the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith. We join our brothers and sisters in the various other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions affiliated through SCOBA (the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Americas) — Greek, Orthodox Church in America, Romanian, Ukrainian, and more — in this endeavor. In less than 20 years the Archdiocese has doubled in size to well over 200 churches and missions throughout the United States and Canada. We welcome you to visit our parish. More information about Orthodoxy and what we believe can be found here.