St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church was founded by a handful of families of Middle Eastern decent who wanted to have an Orthodox Christian church for their children. Until this time, the Orthodox community attended other churches in the Fort Wayne area. Occasionally, a visiting priest from Chicago or Indianapolis would visit Fort Wayne to offer a service or other requested services.
In 1978, after years of requests to the Archdiocese to form a mission in Fort Wayne, Father Joseph Rahal of St. George Indianapolis and members of our community visited Trinity Episcopal Church on Berry Street and arrangements were made to use their “children’s chapel” to hold Orthodox services. This location was chosen because it was located in the center of the city. Enthusiastic about the new church, an advertisement was put in the newspaper to welcome and reach more potential members.
At the first Liturgy, more than 100 people were in attendance. In June 1978, Father Joseph requested assistance from His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, who sent seminarian Michael Evans to assist for the next two months.
In July of 1978, the first Parish Council was appointed. Many members began taking active roles in the church. Dr. David G. Bojrab was appointed chairman of the Parish Council and Mrs. Marie Bojrab became Choir Director. During the same month, Cammille Connor established the Ladies Guild as president. In September of the same year, the Teen SOYO (Society of Orthodox Youth Organization) group was formed and the Sunday School program began meeting in the month of October. The community began to grow spiritually and institutionally.
In September 1978, the Parish Council met with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip during a visit to Indianapolis, and the church was granted the name “St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church.” On November 2, 1979, fourteen months later, His Eminence appointed the first permanent priest to serve the spiritual needs of our community. The efforts of all the organizations of our church were realized on May 8, 1980 when we purchased a former Presbyterian church building on Putnam Street, thus becoming an independent community.
There have been many notable moments in the young history of St. John Chrysostom Church, including:
- February 1981: Hosting the Midwest Basketball Tournament
- June 1988: Hosting the Midwest Parish Life Conference
- June 1995: Acquired 5 acres of land for future church future development
- October 1998: Hosting a 20th Anniversary Celebration
- June 2000: Hosting a Midwest Parish Life Conference
- March 2010: Opening of new church facility on Badiac Road
- June 2014: Hosting a Diocese of Toledo Parish Life Conference
Thirty years after the formation of this Orthodox Community, it become evident that our congregation had outgrown the current building structure. Church parking was inadequate, the limited Sunday School facilities hampered our Christian education program, and the actual facility failed to meet the needs of our elderly and special needs parishioners.
Our parish undertook a building project on a piece of property donated by Dr. David G and Betty Bojrab, which has become our new church home. On August 5, 2007, committees for the building project were formed. Over the weekend of October 20, 2007 the church held a groundbreaking ceremony. We were especially pleased to have many families and friends of our parishioners joining with us to support this wonderful event of St. John’s Church.
Our fellowship hall was opened in August of 2009 and we held services in the family room for 7 months, while the sanctuary construction was completed. On the weekend of March 13 & 14, 2010, the Sunday of St. John Climacus, we held our first Divine Liturgy in the new sanctuary.
The sanctuary and altar of the new St. John Chrysostom Church was consecrated by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, of thrice-blessed memory, on September 19, 2010. Relics of St. John Chrysostom and of the Holy Cross (Sunday after the Elevation of the Cross) were sealed in the reliquary. Following the Divine Liturgy, our priest Fr. Anthony Michaels was elevated to the rank of Archmandrite (and would later by consecrated Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest).
St. John Chrysostom Church has been served by the following Rev. Fathers: Vladimir Christy, James Mclucky, Daniel Keller, John Morris, Joseph Cervo, Joseph Rahal, Issac Henke, George Smith, Anthony Michaels, Jason Blais, and Michael Sakran (current).
May God grant this church and community many years.