Fr. Mark's cell phone (717) 919-3382

©2019 by Assumption of the Virgin Mary 
Orthodox Church

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Who We Are

Welcoming and friendly, nonjudgmental, serving Christ.
Preaching the Gospel the same way it's been taught since Jesus and His disciples walked this earth.
All services in English.  Come and See!

 
Father Mark, Priest
 

What You Can Expect

Our Mission and Core Values

We are a Christ-centered community, pursuing transformative growth through
fidelity to Orthodox Christian truth and worship, sharing the Gospel, and serving our neighbors and community.

Our Core Values are

1. Christ-centered Life

2. Worship-centered Life

3. Sharing the Gospel Message

4. Communal Unity

5. Community Service

6. Transformative Growth

7. Fidelity to Holy Tradition

8. Being Faithful Stewards

 

Why Our Name?

What Does It Mean? 
Who are We Worshipping?

The name "Assumption" is a mistranslation, to be honest.  But the intention was good:  Our parish is named after someone God thought was worthy to be His Son's mother. 

She wasn't picked at random to be Christ's mother. 
She wasn't picked simply because of her ancestry. 
She alone, of all humankind, was chosen to contain the Uncontainable.
To give birth to He who had created the world. 


Think how mind-boggling that is. 


So, why was she, of all women of all time, chosen for this honor?  Because she had dedicated her life to following God's will as completely and cheerfully as humanly possible.

Is it any wonder, then, that Jesus Christ honored His mother?  And not just because it was required in the Law, which He had come to fulfill.  (Matthew 5:17)


No, it was more than that.  He respected her.  When someone called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you," He took it to another level. He exalted her by saying she was not merely His mother, she was more:  “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  (Luke 11:27-28)

God honored Mary, so we honor her.  If we are going to call ourselves Christians, how can we not honor someone God Himself does?  Are we smarter or better judges of character than He is?

So, back to our name:  Our parish is named after Mary's Falling Asleep in the Lord, meaning her earthly death with faith and hope in the Resurrection.  Even when facing death, she completely trusted in God.

What about the mistranslation?  The name our parish founders actually gave us in 1932, in Greek, was Kimisis Theotokou.  In English words, it says "The Dormition of the Theotokos."  

Here is what the actual name means, in Biblical Greek: 

  • Kimisis = Falling Asleep in the Lord = Dormition

  • Theotokos = Mother of God  (Theo = God, and Tokos = "bearer of.")


But somehow that name Kimisis was translated into English as "The Assumption," and that is what went on the legal papers when the church was incorporated in 1932.  So now you know.

The central point to remember is that Mary, as the Mother of God, never glorified herself.  Just as she did at the Wedding of Cana, she always said, "Whatever He says to you, do it." (John 2:5)

And in every icon of Mary the Theotokos, she is gesturing to her Son, reminding us He is our Lord, Savior, God and King, Jesus Christ.  "Whatever He says to you, do it."  Let us follow her example.  Let us put aside pride and selfishness, and live truly Christ-centered lives.

For His is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

 

Our Pastor

Father Mark Lichtenstein

Fr. Mark Lichtenstein came to us in 2017 from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Harrisburg area of Pennsylvania, in the town of Camp Hill.  He was the assistant priest there for approximately seven years.  This is the third time he has lived in Texas.


For a few years before seminary and ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Mark owned and operated an organic cow dairy farm.  (See this article he wrote about those days, with some archival photos.)


Before that he worked for thirteen years in the scientific world, first as a pharmaceutical chemist, specializing in antibiotic research. Relalizing that he was a people person, and still loving Chemistry, he moved after several years from the laboratory into sales of scientific research equipment to pharmaceutical laboratories and research universities.  Today as an ordained priest, he continues his love of science, both working at Angelo State University and giving presentations to school and church groups about the intersection of Science and Theology.  


He is a graduate of St. Tikhon’s Seminary with an M.Div. in 2010, IUPUI with an M.S. in Chemistry in 1994, and the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Chemistry in 1990.  Like most Orthodox priests, Fr. Mark is married (nearly 30 years now!) and has 4 children in their twenties and teens.


Fr. Mark has many and varied interests in addition to church.  These include leadership training and development, chemical- and film-based photography, oil painting, woodworking, gardening, music, and science fiction.  One of his favorite discussion topics is the relationship of science and religion — specifically, need there be a conflict? 

Fr. Mark is an Eagle Scout.