On 1 April 2015, following a Lenten Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, Archbishop Michael blessed the faithful of the former Orthodox Christian Mission Station (Potsdam NY) naming “Saint Olympia” as their patron. Following the dedication of the new mission parish, His Eminence blessed and administered the oath of office to their first parish council and thanked Father David Edwards of the Monastery of Saint Silouan the Athonite in Spencerville, Ontario, Canada, for his dedicated service to the mission. Also serving that evening was Father Luke Majoros, also from Saint Silouan Monastery.
Following a Lenten dinner shared by all, Dr. David Ford (Professor of Church History, Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary) gave an informal talk about the life of Saint Olympia. Also known as “Saint Olympias” or “Saint Olympiada,” she was a close friend of Saint John Chrysostom and served as a deaconess in Constantinople.
A highlight of the lecture was when Dr. David Ford read several letters that Saint John Chrysostom wrote to Saint Olympia during his exile, including one previously not available in English, newly translated by Dr. Ford. Saint Olympia was a benefactor to many and founded or funded a number of charitable institutions. No other parish or monastery dedicated to Saint Olympia, either here or abroad, is known to exist at present!
Saint Olympia Orthodox Mission Parish of Potsdam NY now has a webpage under development and has commissioned iconographer Mother Sophronia (Hofstead) to write an icon Saint Olympia for the iconostasis of the chapel.