Fulfilling a Dream

As a congregation grows numerically it typically initiates a building program, eagerly anticipating the construction of its new temple. Such an endeavor has been taken on by St. Barbara Orthodox Christian Church.  Although the parish has consistently made the most of its all-purpose facility, it now looks forward to the day when a traditional structure, permanently dedicated for worship, is consecrated and ready for use.   

The new design and site plan described herein, fulfill a dream long shared by both Church members and His Eminence Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas (of blessed memory), founding hierarch of the Diocese of the South.  His Eminence who reposed in August, 2011, was a faithful visionary who helped with the community’s establishment.       

The following is a brief look at St. Barbara’s past, a tribute to the parish’s founding fathers and mothers in Christ, as well as a description of the community’s current building program entered into for the glory of God.       


A Bit of Parish History

In 1979 Church members began meeting in South Ft. Worth, in a small room of a dental lab, which was generously provided by a parishioner and her husband who owned the facility. Members quickly converted the facility into a small chapel, which served the community for some time.

In May of 1984 the group took an important step, purchasing a sixteen hundred square foot building in Southwest Ft. Worth on Dan Danciger Road. Parishioners then took on the difficult task of renovation.  For twenty-two years the former Montessori school served the congregation well, providing space for weekly worship, baptisms, marriages, funerals, lectures, liturgical concerts, education classes and festivals.  The community’s first onion dome, currently displayed in the fellowship hall, was fashioned by local craftsmen and commissioned by a leading member of the congregation.

After paying off the mortgage in September of 2001, in November of that same year Church members took a bold step purchasing three acres of vacant land at 5201 Altamesa Boulevard. In 2003 they engaged the services of a local Architect, Mr. Bob Knoblock, and began the work of designing a suitable all-purpose building with an eye toward future development.  The congregation moved into the new facility in December of 2006.  Upon blessing the new building, Archbishop Dmitri congratulated the group.  Furthermore, he encouraged those present not to get too comfortable, but to move toward the eventual construction of a traditional Orthodox Church. 

The community never forgot the challenge issued by His Eminence.  In November of 2016 St. Barbara’s engaged the services of Mr. Michael Hoffer of Hahnfeld, Hoffer and Stafford, to help design a new home for the parish.  The initial plan was completed in early 2018, blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Alexander of Dallas and the South, and approved on April 22, 2018 at a Special Parish Meeting.  The journey continues, however, with the exciting task of securing support for the project. 

Remembering our Blessed Founders

At this time, Church members express sincere appreciation to those who helped bring the parish to this point in history.  The faithful are thankful for current members and friends, for their efforts to facilitate growth and a sense of community within the congregation, and for their generous offerings of time, talent and resources.     

Parishioners are profoundly grateful to Archbishop Dmitri and to Archbishop Alexander, as well as to Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Nikon, and to Diocesan Council members who were very supportive over the years, and generous with their sage advice.   

And finally, St. Barbara parishioners are thankful for our beloved and blessed founders, many, “who have gone to their rest before us.”  Forty years ago, they had a vision, a dream for Orthodox Christians in the Ft. Worth area.  The current membership strongly desires to bring that dream to fruition with the construction of a new Church, and with the establishment of future missions in North Texas.  With the following thoughts in mind, the faithful gladly enter into the labors of their predecessors.    

Beauty In Worship, Beauty as a Response

The biography of Prince Vladimir the Great of Kiev (10 century) describes the reaction of his emissaries to the Christian worship they encountered in Constantinople at the Great Church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom):  "We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth…We cannot describe it to you…we cannot forget that beauty.”  (Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, Penguin Books, NY, NY, 1978, p. 269.)

Within Orthodox Christian tradition beauty in worship is understood ultimately in light of the Divine Presence, as the experience of God – Who is love itself, true beauty – acting in the midst of His people.  The human response to this encounter is to bring to the Creator the best that may be offered, as expressions of joy and profound gratitude.  Such offerings naturally include   various forms of art:  hymnography and poetry, music, iconography and architecture.  In all these, people seek to convey materially and creatively – to the best of their abilities – their appreciation of the beauty of God’s Kingdom revealed in and through Jesus Christ.

Fr. Alexander Schmemann (of blessed memory) once wrote that, “As long as Christians will love the Kingdom of God, and not only discuss it, they will “represent” it and signify it, in art and beauty…” (Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World, SVS Press, Crestwood, NY, 2002, p. 30).

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We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth…We cannot describe it to you…we cannot forget that beauty.

An Offering of Beauty — The Church and Site Plan:

The present endeavor embraced by the St. Barbara Orthodox Community is borne out of love.  The congregation seeks to construct a traditional Church as a beautiful witness to Christ in our midst, “God with us” in the Person of the Promised Savior.  

With several Byzantine examples of architecture already in North Texas, the parish has focused on the distinct look of Russian Orthodox architecture.  A specific goal guiding the community was to design a Church that would both match and improve upon the straight-line design of the current facility, for a coordinated look to the property.  Russian Orthodox architecture lends itself to this effort.    


Designed for our Future

While allowing for a distinct look, the straight-line design is cost effective, with more resources directed toward the interior.  The basic plan is to construct – in essence – a Church within a Church, placing expensive curvatures primarily on the inside, rather than having the exterior follow interior lines of design.  The process also allows for the incorporation of extra rooms.  Added space will be used for: offices, education, recording equipment, choir rehearsals, bathrooms, mothers with nursing infants, bridal party preparations, as well as for air conditioning and heating units. 


Designed for Worship

Once completed the new structure will have over seventy-five hundred square feet of protected space, including a covered sidewalk surrounding the Church, along with a choir loft and enclosed bell tower.  The twenty-five hundred square foot nave will accommodate over two hundred and fifty worshipers comfortably. 


Designed for Fellowship

In addition, the overall site plan allows for a gazebo, an outdoor children’s play area, an education wing for the fellowship hall, as well as over thirty-five additional parking places.

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As long as Christians will love the Kingdom of God, and not only discuss it, they will “represent” it and signify it, in art and beauty…
— Alexander Schmemann

An Invitation

The future Church has been designed with growth and development in mind. Members of the parish invite you to join in this exciting endeavor, this offering of beauty for the glory of God. 

Our vision remains consistent with that of our forefathers and mothers in Christ.  We wish to provide an Orthodox Christian presence for all to enjoy in Southwest Ft. Worth, as well as an exquisite structure to leave for future generations.    

First and foremost, prayers are greatly desired for this effort.  In addition, monetary contributions toward this project may be made on-line here.  Checks are gratefully received as well, either at the Church itself or by mail to:  St. Barbara Orthodox Church, 5201 Altamesa, Ft. Worth, Texas 76133.  On your checks just place in the memo line:  Building Fund.  Gifts are tax deductible.

We look forward to the day on which the first Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in the new temple, and to its consecration.  We thank everyone in advance for their prayers and support.

“The Lord said…from every man whose heart makes him willing you shall receive the offering for Me… And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst…” (Exodus 25 :2,8).