The idea of forming the Nashville parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) conceptualized during the joint visits of families of Dr. Andre and Elena Zavalin and Fr. Seraphim Scheidler and matushka Margaret to the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation (Liberty, TN, http://www.annunciation.us/ ). This idea grew into a pressing need when in May 2007 rector Fr. Gregory was unable in conscience to follow the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. Fr. Seraphim Scheidler, with the blessing and support of Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the ROCOR, took over the spiritual care of the organization of the Nashville parish, conducting worships in the temple of St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church (Franklin, TN, http://www.saint-ignatius.org/ ). That year, a survey of believers and signatures for a petition letter requesting an establishment of a Nashville parish took place. The main group at that time amounted to Vanderbilt University employees and members of the Russian community in Nashville.
First constituent assembly was held in the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (Nashville, TN, http://holytrinitynashville.org ). Parish members are grateful to the rector of the temple Rev. Fr. Gregory Hohnholt, who provided support and assistance in the provision of facilities for initial services and meetings. At the inaugural meeting, it was unanimously decided to address Metropolitan Hilarion with a request to establish a parish (the mission). Later, when a collective petition letter with a list of signatures was ready, Dr. Andre Zavalin met rector of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Washington, DC) Fr. Victor (Potapov), who pledged his support for the establishment of the mission.
On April 24th, 2009 the final decision was reached and took place the signing by Metropolitan Hilarion of the Decree on the formation of the parish (Decree 4-34) – Russian Orthodox mission in honor of St. Innocent of Moscow. After this, work began on the organization of worship. Much to our regret, Fr. Seraphim soon became sick and had to undergo several heart surgeries. We prayed for his health, but on January 17, 2011, after a long illness, Fr. Seraphim reposed in the Lord. He is buried in Hermitage of the Holy Cross Monastery (Wayne, West Virginia): http://www.eadiocese.org/News/2011/jan/16/scheidler.en.htm .
By coincidence of unfortunate circumstances, after the event it was not possible to start the service. Under the leadership of Bishop George of Mayfield (Schaefer), abbot of Hermitage of the Holy Cross Monastery (Wayne, WV (http://holycross-hermitage.com/) subdeacon Victor (Poletajev) together with his spouse Robin organized liturgical readings, which have been held in the already mentioned Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. During this time, by the Divine providence at the Vanderbilt University worked Sergiy Bubin, who has supported the establishment of the parish in the parish website, originally created by friend of Robin Poletajev. Sergiy’s spouse Albina Bubina, being a certified church choir regent, led church hymns by services and organized the church choir.
After a while, Michael Martinovich, a director of choir of St. Petka-Paraskeva of Serbia (Serbian Orthodox Church, Diocese of New Gracanica-Midwestern America) and several members of the choir joined our chorus. This parish at that time did not have a temple, and also conducted the service in the temple of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. As a result of hard rehearsals it became possible to start church services with full volume of hymns, which were conducted by priests of the Serbian Orthodox church, Fr. Dragan (Micanovic) and others, especially hieromonk Seraphim (Baltic). Fr. Seraphim is a graduate of Holy Trinity Orthodox seminary (Jordanville, NY, http://www.hts.edu ). He is fluent in Serbian, Russian, and English, which made him invaluable priest for joint Russian – Serbian community.
In July 2012, at the celebration of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist to our parish by the invitation of the family of Veniamin and Tatyana Sidorov for the service came Hieromonk (later a Hegumen) Gavriil (Kvasnikov), rector of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (ROCOR, Mebane , NC, http://www.holytrinitymission.com/index.php/en/). Since then, with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion Fr. Gavriil is the spiritual mentor of our parish. His visits and services were held about once a month in different locations, including private houses. In the other Sundays during each month the members of the community attended Sunday worships and were singing in the choir of the St. Petka Serbian Church.
Starting in 2013, Serbian Orthodox congregation purchased a building near downtown Nashville at 1712 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208, http://www.stpetkanashville.org. Currently, the services under the supervision of Fr. Gavriil are held approximately once a month in the same church.
On May 11, 2013 an election meeting was held at which was elected a parish Council of the church community and identified further steps towards a full-fledged parish.