Iconostasis Fundraiser Update

In just about two weeks since the inception of our matching-fundraiser, we’ve managed to raise $1850 of our $2500 goal. That puts us at only $650 away from the main goal for construction.

We will, of course, continue to accept any and all donations for the iconostasis, for future expansion as well as for the new iconography.

Thank you so much for your generous support for this project!

New Way to Donate

We’re now able to accept donations over Venmo. You can add @StJohnCassianOrthodoxChurch to Venmo to make donations even simpler and more convenient. And, Venmo does not charge us per-use transfer fees, so 100% of your donation amount will go to us.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of you who have been donors and benefactors of the chapel. Everyone who has ever donated any amount to the chapel is commemorated at every Divine Liturgy. God’s blessing to everyone who has helped us and prayed for us!

Matching Fund-Raiser for the Iconostasis

A generous benefactor has stepped up with an offer to match up to $2500 in donations received toward the construction of the iconostasis at the new building. Details about the concept and construction can be read here as well as links for convenient donation online.


Any help you can offer toward realizing this project will be greatly appreciated!

Newly Added: Parish Wish List

Over the years we have been very fortunate to have been able to purchase or have donated many liturgical items that will serve us for many years to come. But, as we close in on the completion of the new temple, there are a few items that we still need, especially for the larger space, as well as a number of icons we would like to have to adorn the walls of the nave.

If you would like to donate any of these items, or make a monetary donation towards the purchase of any of them, please check out the Parish Wist List.

As a reminder, any donation of any size or of any item is fully tax-deductible, and will also place you on the list of permanent commemorations at the Divine Liturgy as a benefactor of the Chapel.

The Renovation Continues

Most of the interior has been painted, making a dramatic difference for the church. We are anticipating the interior work to be finished within two weeks. There will still be some exterior work to be finished, but we are planning to make our move into the new temple as soon as the interior is finished.

Please pray for us during the transition, and remember that you can be a benefactor of St John Cassian and our new building through tax-free donations to us, made via PayPal or Square.

Be assured of our sincerest gratitude for those who have prayed and donated over the course of this project. We could not have come this far without your help and support and love.

Some Photos of the Finished Floors

The crew working yesterday were able to get the floors sanded and stained, and were putting the first coat of polyurethane over them during the late afternoon. The re-stain makes it impossible to see where the patches were made to cover over the holes from vents for the removed gas furnace. A very beautiful result from saving the old, vintage hardwood flooring, that will serve to be a beautiful feature of the new temple for many years to come!

Update on the Renovations

Today the vintage hardwood flooring in the nave and narthex were sanded and being prepared to be re-stained and polyurethaned. The interior of the nave continues to have other work being done. The ceiling and walls have been primed and are ready to be painted. Our contractor estimates that the work will be done by the beginning of September, despite the recent setbacks. God-willing, we will be moving into our new temple in time for Indiction (the Church’s New Year) on September 14th.

Please continue to pray for us and for this project. Remember that you can be a benefactor of St John Cassian by donating through Paypal or Square, and that all your donations are tax deductible.

Renovation Progress

A shot of the exterior of the building, with the primer coat on the brick.

As we are nearly the end of the last phase of renovation, we’re beginning to see the progress in more dramatic ways. Parts of the exterior are being re-bricked, and the exterior has been painted with a primer, readying it for final painting. The new roof, a bright, Mediterranean inspired blue, has been put on. Work continues on the interior, and painting and finishing the ceilings should be done this week, as well as finishing the HVAC replacement in the downstairs of the add-on. Even these incomplete cosmetic changes have made a huge impact on our 63 year old building.

However, as is so often the case with renovations, once we got into demolition, some serious issues appeared that had to be addressed, which were not in the original budget. Not only did we have to rewire the whole building (something we had expected, given its age), we also discovered that attempts by the previous owners to fix the leaking roof over the 50 year old add-on in the back had only served to exacerbate the problem. As a result, not only did we have to repair their attempt to fix it, by resetting the engineered roof beam which spans almost the entire width of the building, we also had to replace all the rafters and the plywood, before the new metal roofing could be installed. As you may be aware, lumber prices this year have been at historic highs, and as a result, this particular expense, plus the lumber and engineered beams to reinforce the ceiling over the altar, cost us $20,000 more than our original budget. Another $10,000 budget overrun occurred through additional changes necessary for HVAC and bringing the restrooms and side entrance up to handicap accessibility code.

The altar area, showing the beams and posts that were necessary to shore up the structural integrity of the ceiling rafters.

Despite these setbacks, we are hoping to be moving in to the 1731 13th St N building before the beginning of the Dormition Fast (the end of August for those of us on the Julian Calendar). We will gratefully accept any assistance that anyone would like to offer, in terms of monetary donations, or for those local to us, in helping physically move in. There are also some projects we will need to finish inside, including the construction of a semi-permanent iconostasis and some shrines, for which we would greatly appreciate help from anyone who might have experience with carpentry, cabinetry, and/or construction.

If you would like to make a tax-free donation to the Chapel, you can do so via PayPal or through Square.

Thank you very much for everyone who has already contributed to this project, and even more to those who have prayed for us for so many years! Without you, our dream of having a dedicated temple to St John Cassian in Bessemer would not have become a reality.

Ordination of Fr. Justinian to the Priesthood

On Saturday, March 20/7, 2021, the Feast of St Theodore the Recruit, Fr. Justinian was ordained to the holy priesthood by His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan at the ROCOR synod cathedral in New York City. He is assigned as clergy of Glorious Ascension Monastery (Resaca, Georgia), to serve at its metochion (chapel) of St John Cassian in Bessemer, Alabama.

This will necessitate changes in the Lenten service schedule. Please see the calendar page on the website for the most up-to-date information on services and service times.

Web Address Change

When we first conceived the idea for St John Cassian Chapel, we were meeting in northern Shelby county, and anticipated staying in that area. That’s why our original web addressed referenced Shelby county Orthodoxy. However, with our upcoming move to the 1731 13th St N building in Bessemer, we decided a new web address was necessary. The original address is still active, but will now redirect to StJohnCassian.org.