Saint Alexis Orthodox Church began as a student organization at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, a quarter century ago. Priests came from nearby areas to serve Divine Liturgy. In the 1980's, some faithful Orthodox in Lafayette and West Lafayette began the search for a full-time priest and a permanent location to establish a parish. Between 1976 and 1990, the faithful had been worshiping at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Chapel on the Purdue University Campus. Attendance averaged 25.
Then in 1993, Fr. Charles Sunderland, who had been retired for some time, volunteered to begin the mission parish on the foundation established by the Purdue Student Fellowship. He was appointed Mission Parish Administrator by Metropolitan Nicholas (of blessed memory) of the American Carpatho-Russian Greek Catholic Archdiocese in October, 1993. Services moved to St. Elizabeth Hospital Chapel that year and both attendance and membership rose steadily. In March, 1998, St. Alexis Orthodox Church moved to our first permanent home on South 24th Street in Lafayette. In October, 2000 our parish was blessed by the ordination to the Holy Priesthood of Father Gregory Allard. In July of 2001, our beloved Fr. Charles and Matyushka Anne Sunderland retired to Colorado. On Sunday, December 7, 2014, we moved to our new temple, located just outside Battle Ground, Indiana, at the intersection of State Roads 43 and 225 (2115 SR 225 E Battle Ground 47920, mailing address P.O. Box 161, Battle Ground, Indiana 47920-0161). More than 104 souls attended, up 30% from a "good" Sunday attendance at the old location.
Within the jurisdiction of the American Carpatho-Russian Greek Catholic Archdiocese, the St. Alexis Parish serves a growing number of both university students and families from north-western Indiana. "Cradle" Orthodox from the Greek, Syrian, Russian, Romanian, Ukranian and Carpatho-Russian traditions worship at St. Alexis along with converts from a number of Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism in our uniquely "American" melting-pot parish. Our Diocese is under the omiphor of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop of Constantinople.
Those who serve the people
Fr. Gregory previously taught high school English in Galesburg, IL, for about 13 years. He also served in the Lutheran pastorate for 12 years. His journey home to Holy Orthodoxy began in 1992, along with his wife Joanne and son Joshua; the family were chrismated a year later. Following the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology (Antiochian Archdiocese) and several retreats at Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown, PA along with working with mentors, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas ordained him to the diaconate in 1998 and to the holy priesthood in 2000. Building on the good foundation provided by his predecessor Fr. Charles Sunderland, Fr. Gregory was able to be part of the planning and building of the new temple in Battle Ground.