church interior with altar and icons

Ascension of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church

Icon of the Ascension of Our Lord

Icon of the Ascension

Icons are a beautiful form of spiritual and artistic expression commonly found in eastern churches Each icon tells a story, through images, about important events in the bible and in the church.

The joyous icon above represents the feast day for which this parish is named - The Ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ, into heaven - as told in the Book of Acts. In this image, Jesus' right hand is raised in blessing, and his left hand holds a scroll, reminding us of Jesus' role as teacher and that He is the ultimate source of knowledge.



Joe Petro Obituary (pdf)


John Labanish Obituary



Ascension Men's Club Initiates Education Grant Program

Saint Joseph Educational Grant Program

The Ascension Mens Club voted Tuesday night to approve and fund the Saint Joseph Educational Grant Program. It is designed to provide financial assistance to young members of the parish who are seeking higher education at a University, College or trade school. This year the program will be funded up to $1,000. The grant monies will be awarded to the candidate selected or distributed among those candidates selected to support expenses associated with their studies.


1. Candidates must be registered members of the parish, (either personally registered or registered through their parents.

2. Candidates must be between the ages of 17 and 28,

3. Candidates must provide proof of acceptance or current enrollment in an accredited college, university, or trade school. In addition, for applicants who are already registered and attending a college, university or trade school, you must also show proof of having maintained a Grade Point Average of 2.5 or higher or a letter grade of C or higher in all subjects.

Further details and application forms will be available later in the spring with the selection and awards taking place in the July-August time frame.

The Mens Club wishes to thank all those who have supported our fund raising efforts through the years. Now, a portion of the profits from the spaghetti dinners, breakfast sales, 50/50 and other events are being invested into supporting our young parishioners pursuit of a higher education and skills training.


Ascension Youth Group Outing
September 2017

The children had a blast playing putt putt golf! The weather was so beautiful and it was a great way to spend a day with friends.


Matthew Montgomery plans, recruits and executes Eagle Scout Project


Palm Sunday

Picconi family pose with Fr. Alex and Sr. Alphina after Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday 2016.


Pope and Patriarch call for an end to terrorism and persecution of Christians

Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met in Havana, Cuba on Friday (12 Feb 2016) to sign an historic joint declaration.

The official English translation of the full joint declaration.


Halupki Olympics

[Feb 2016]
Thanks Mary Jean Sotack for arranging and organizing the HALUPKI OLPYMPICS. There was a lot involved and she did a superlative job including making the ?medalists? prizes. CONGRATULATIONS to the HALUPKI OLYMPICS winners:

  • GOLD medalist: Sister Rosemary Nakumicha of the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi
  • SILVER medalist: Alex Kaczur
  • BRONZE medialist: Oksana Mytulynska

  • Many, many thanks to the rest of our parish participants who prepared halupki: Betty Mae Hertz, Jeffrey Sotack, Nadya Carden, Don Merkley, Bob Linderman, Patty Duttry and Tom McGraw.

    Thank you to the judges:Lisa Branden, Delores Clinton, David Efimetz, Dr. Michael Lechman and Fr. Alex. It was tough making the final decision because all of the Halupki were Gold medal winners.

    Finally, thank you to the all parishioners for their side dishes that rounded out the meal and for all the desserts. Everyone made it a success.


    Childrens Christmas Cookie Sale
    Benefits St. Jude Childrens Hospital

    [Dec 2015]
    The parish children decorated Christmas cookies to sell after Divine Liturgy. The children chose the St. Jude Hospital as the charity to support.

    The Ascension parish children raised $1020.00 for the St. Jude Children?s Hospital with the sale of their decorated Christmas Cookies. Well done! The cookies looked spectacular and tasted great! Thank You Anya Bobrinskaya and Dr. Mary Jean Sotack for organizing this fun event for the children. Can?t wait for next year!!


    First Annual Fall Bon Fire

    Bon Fire, October 30 2015. The parish family had a wonderful First Annual Bonfire on Friday night. Everyone was able to gather aound the hot fire to keep warm on a brisk evening after organized games, hay-rides and a pot-luck dinner.

    The York County Fire Depatment also attended with a fire engine and ambulance which were available for tours.

    Later, the firemen put out the bon fire and let the children operate the fire hose.

    Everyone had a wonderful time and are looking forward to next year's bon fire!


    Icon Guildd Hosts Muscarelle

    [Oct 2015]
    The Icon Guild of Saint Luke hosted a group of docents from the Muscarelle Museum of Art. They requested an introduction to Byzantine Iconography prior to going to the Chrysler Museum, in Norfolk, where there was an exhibit of Russian icons comprising 160 extraordinary works of religious, historical, and artistic importance?rare icons and extraordinary artifacts that rarely leave the collections of The British Museum, London, and the Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, Mass.

    Don Merkley gave a lecture and demonstration, to about a dozen docents, which included an historical background of the development and importance of icons in the eastern churches, techniques in preparing the boards and writing the icons using egg temper. A tour of the church was also given.


    Date Night

    Date Night, July 24, 2015. Parents were able to drop off their children at the church, so that they could have an evening without their children to go out to dinner or to a movie. A great time was had by all with organized games, dress up fun, story time, crafts and homemade ice cream!


    Night Out at the Ball Park

    We went out to the ball game and had a ball! Thirty (30) Ascension parishioners were at the Pilots last game on Monday night to cheer them on. Our group was even recognized and mentioned over the PA system. Of the 30 attending, 12 were children. Thanks to the Mens Club for sponsoring the children. Canít wait for 2016!!


    As appeared in the Virginia Gazette,
    27 June 2015:


    Woman's Guild of St. Jude Visit

    Members of the Woman's Guild of St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral Virginia visited Ascension of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church for a Spring Field Trip on April 22, 2015. They were given a introduction to the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church and the Byzantine Rite in particular. They attended the morning Divine Liturgy which was followed by a question-and-answer session and a brunch reception sponsored by the Ascension Ladies' Guild.



    CONGRATULATIONS to Sarah Allen and Charles Reeves, who received the Holy Mysteries of Christian Initiation on 1 Feb 2015, and to Donald Allen and Beth Guethe who received the Sacrament of Chrismation. God grant them all many happy healthy years.


    Men's Club Welcomes J. Michael Moore
    as Guest Speaker

    J. Michael Moore (pictured above between Men's Club Vice President Jeffery Sotack and Father Alex) presented a lively presentation on the history of the Civil War Battle of Williamsburg. Mr. Moore is the curator and registrar for Lee Hall Mansion and Endview Plantation in Newport News, Virginia. He received a bachelor of arts in history from Christopher Newport University and a master of arts in history from Old Dominion University. While earning his graduate degree, he taught American history at ODU. Since his employment with the City of Newport News, Moore has curated exhibits at historic sites and led battlefield tours throughout Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

    Church Celebrates 25 Years


    Ascension of Our Lord Byzantie Catholic Church celebrated 25 years of service to the Williamsburg community on 28 September 2014, with Divine Liturgy concelebrated with the Most Reverend Bishop Kurt and Father Edward Cimbala, the church's first Pastor.


    Anniversary Icon Blessed by the Bishop

    Bishop Kurt blessed the newly installed icon of The Protection of the Theotokos over Ascension Church during the celebration of the 25th anniversary.


    Baptism, 13 Sept 2014

    Congradulatioins to Genevieve Sage Vinson, granddaughter of Gary and Lolly Vinson, on her baptism.

    God grant her and her family many years of peace, health and happiness.


    Prayers Needed

    The Ascension Mens Club urges everyone to pray for the thousands of Christians being driven from their homes and executed in Iraq and across the Middle East. As reports continue to surface of the increased persecution of believers, we are reminded of the admonition of 1 Peter 4:16 ---If anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God.
    So please ask the Lord to keep our brothers and sisters in Christ strong, encourage them with His presence and provide for their needs.


    25th Anniversary Message

    Many bishops are shutting down parishes throughout the USA for various reasons. Not enough priests to serve the parishes, poor attendance, older people are dying and lack of growth among the younger people are some of the reasons.

    God the Father has smiled on Ascension of Our Lord parish with many great blessings. He has sent us a good pastor inspired by the Holy Spirit to promote His Sonís love and spread His word throughout the community. We are blessed with many families and children. We are a parish family that has many hard working and generous people. Most of all we are a parish at peace in a very troubled world. These are blessings to be celebrated and cherished.

    Bishop Kurt will be experiencing Ascension for the first time during his visit in September to attend our Silver Anniversary celebration. Let us show Bishop Kurt our love and enthusiastic support for our parish and pastor by attending the celebration; for our future is bright.

    It is recommended being at church 10-15 minutes before the beginning of 11 a.m. Liturgy on Sunday September 28. There will be the ceremonial greeting of the Bishop at the front door with bread and salt. After Liturgy, there will be Panachida. If you do not have GPS, a hand map will be available to get you from Ascension church to the Colonial Heritage Club (6500 Arthur Hills Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23188.) It is not far and involves only 2 turns. Mention you are there for the Anniversary party at the Gatehouse for easy entry.

    Admission to the Reception/Gathering and the Buffet for the anniversary celebration is by invitation and paid response. Your invitation included an RSVP card which needs to be returned by Sept 1 with your check and the number and names of people who will be attending. Please see Lee Alexander if you have any questions or concerns.

    A Reception/Gathering will begin at 1 p.m. at the Colonial Heritage Club House. There will be appropriate drinks for the children. A cash bar and light hors díoeuvres (cubed and wedged cheese with crackers, strawberry and melon fruit) will be available before the buffet luncheon. That menu consists of mixed salad with Ranch or a vinaigrette dressing; coleslaw and potato salad; Chefís choice of Fish; Buttermilk Fried Chicken; thin sliced fresh herb Roasted Beef au jus; fresh Green beans; roasted Red Potatoes; bake Cornbread with honey butter; Chefs Choice for dessert and freshly brewed coffee, iced tea and ice water.


    Mark your calendars!
    Sunday, September 28, 2014:



    The Men's Club News

    The Committee of St. Nicholas supported Gleaning For The World by collecting gently used stuffed toy animals in a project called The Teddy Bear Brigade. This project helps bring joy to impoverished children around the globe who live in extreme poverty and have never owned a toy their entire life.

    The Men's Club wants to thank all of those who made generous donations to support this meaningful project.


    As appeared in the Virginia Gazette,
    14 December 2013:


    Saint Nicholas vistits children of all ages

    Saint Nicholas visited Ascension of Our Lord church and everyone was treated to stories of his life and heard Christmas legends. Treats were handed out to all who came forward, followed by cakes and goodies in St. Phillip's Hall.


    Video ( 2 hours 20 minutes) of the Ordination and Enthronement of Bishop Kurt Burnette.

    The Ordination and Enthronement can be seen via the internet by using the following link: UstreamTV


    As appeared in the Virginia Gazette,
    23 November 2013:


    Men's Club in Action

    The first event of the Ascension Men's Club was held 27 July 2013 to install fencing at the front and back of the newly acquired property adjacent to the church.

    Thanks to photographer Matthew Montgomery.


    Men's Club is formed at Ascension

    The Ascension Men's Club had their inaugural meeting on 23 July 2013. The Constitution and Bylaws were reviewed and committees were established to support club activities amidst great fellowship.

    The Men's Club seeks to build fraternity and Catholic values among the men of the parish while providing leadership in support of parish activities related to maintenance of parish property, social and liturgical programs and charitable outreach.

    All men of the parish, eighteen years and older, are eligible for membership. If you wish to join, please contact Lee Alexander or any member, for information.


    Refurbished Dome and Cross Installed

    The newly refurbished dome and cross was blessed and hoisted to the top of the church on a beautiful spring day, 1 May 2013.

    To see more pictures of the blessing
    and hoisting of the refurbished dome, click here.


    Article from the Williamsburg Magazine Jan 2011 (pdf)


    Other National and International News News brings together in one place news focusing on the Christian East.

    Photo: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople embraces newly enthroned Pope Francis after his inaugural Mass in Rome on March 19, 2013.