Holy Transfiguration was officially established as an Orthodox Mission Church in Columbus, Georgia under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in 1995. Father Jon Emmanuelson, from Montgomery, Alabama, served the Divine Liturgy every other Saturday in the Chapel at the Saint Thomas Episcopal Church for nine Orthodox families. Founding members included Dr. Stephen Muse and family, Dr. Andrew Harakas and family, Mrs. Sophia Kontaxis, Colonel and Mrs. Robert Poydasheff, and Mr. Mike Pappafotis.
In 1999, Fr. Vasile Bitere was assigned to Holy Transfiguration as a full-time priest and six months later was able to secure pledges and raise a down payment to purchase a church building. Within three months of this purchase, the Temple was redone entirely by parish labor and its priest and presbytera’s tireless efforts. Beautiful Byzantine-style iconography was created in English, Greek and Romanian characters by Aurel Onut, a Romanian iconographer.
His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios formally blessed the Temple in March 1999. Approximately 80 people attended the ceremony including local Beallwood Community leaders and area church members, many of whom had not previously heard of Orthodox Christianity.
From the summer of 2005 until the present, Holy Transfiguration has been blessed by the ministry of several priests. Presently Fr. David Hudson commutes to Columbus from Alpharetta, Georgia, to lead our services, assisted by Fr. Deacon Stephen Muse.
During Sunday Divine Liturgies, the Lord’s Prayer is repeated in every language represented. The fact that it is repeated in as many as seven different languages reminds us of Christ’s words: the Church is meant to be a house of prayer “for all the nations.” To help demonstrate this, there is a large icon on the ceiling upon entering the church depicting people of all nations gathered around Christ in the New Jerusalem – a unique work commissioned with the blessing of Metropolitan Alexios. It serves as a visible reminder that the Holy Spirit illumines all cultures.
Unique to the parish is its close proximity to Fort Benning. The parish encourages the soldiers stationed there to attend services at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church. It is also active with neighborhood civic and church organizations.
While the church falls under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, it was originally conceived and continues to be truly pan-Orthodox in nature – a church for all nations. Cultural, educational, and socio-economical diversity remain one of the great strengths of our parish community. All services are in English, drawing from ancient roots in response to contemporary issues. Our community is composed of long-term residents of the Chattahoochee Valley, work-related newcomers, military personnel, college students, and other visitors.