The Holy Glorious Apostle James, the Brother of our Lord,  First Bishop of Jerusalem,  author of the Epistle of St James,  and compiler of the Divine Liturgy

Commemorated on  the day of his martyrdom Oct 23 / 5 Nov  (Parish Feast Day),

and the Sunday After Nativity

and on Jan 4 / 17,  Synaxis of the 70 Apostles

[saint's life]      Maps to St James


a new website of handcrafted Russian church embroidery, silver crosses, and more is now open

Sheet Music for upcoming services

Links and Documents on this site

Hear the Lord's Prayer in Cherokee

Fr Mark's other web sites:

"Orthodox America"

 A very important resource containing many formational articles for converts to Orthodoxy.

This is part of the ROCA.ORG site which is being restored to serve historical true Orthodox purposes.

"Indiana Listserv"

The Orthodox List  archives

This is a public-access searchable LISTSERV archive hosted at Indiana University.

The ORTHODOX archive at IU  covers late 1993 to present.  Earlier LISTSERV archives from Bitnet only exist on Zip Disks along with some of the original ORTHODOX VaxNOTES conference dating back to the mid '80s. Plans are for these to somehow eventually be posted to

Some very interesting history is contained in these archives, and also in the following archived mailing list:

Orthodox-Synod list

CLOSED AS OF JUNE 2007 by order of Bishop Peter of the ROCOR/MP - but is still an open archive showing the details of the struggle between the old ROCA Synod and neo-ROCOR, including historically important documentation of the tactics used by the agents of change to effect union with the MP.   

This "Synod list" was the first sub-list of the "Indiana List" (above) and was originally created in the early '90s to provide a voluntary alternative venue for the public contentions already taking place between Synod members on the world-wide stage of the ORTHODOX list. These tensions are related to what has been referred to as the ROCOR / ROCA dichotomy (from Gk. dichotomia from dicha "in two" + temnein "to cut").  These unresolved issues finally cut deeply and resulted in a division between those who, as of May 4/17,  have submitted to the Soviet legacy called the Moscow Patriarchate, and those who have not.  

This 15 year old mailing list, which was characterized by free and uncensored content regarding the Union with Moscow,  was required to be closed down as a belated condition for Fr Mark's  canonical release.  

No archives are available from the Indiana days. The YAHOOGROUPS archives go back only to 1999.    Archives are available temporarily without restriction.   Please download anything you want to save soon! Yahoo is known for deleting inactive groups without warning.

Orthodox Amateur Radio

As the sunspot cycle (very slowly!) turns around, and propagation improves over the next year or so,  OAR hopes to facilitate a regularly scheduled world-wide two-way net for licensed operators who desire to communicate items relevant to fellow Orthodox Christians, and to hone their skills for the days when such means of communication may be much more difficult, and possibly the only off-net means to communicate with fellow Christians.

Priest Mark is a General Class amateur radio operator, K5MSG, available for worldwide contact on the HF bands.  EchoLink Node = 345592

          Monks assembling an antenna on Mt Athos.  QSL

See also K5WQ's relocated Radio Shack originally built in 1939 by W9QJE in Joplin, Missouri

If you're interested in participating in a net of Orthodox Christians on HF SSB   e-mail

We also hope to promote listening to the shortwave bands by everyone interested in receiving "differently biased" news and information - in contrast to the typical fare coming from domestic media, due to the increasing control of information.  In remembrance of 9/11 be sure to listen to WWCR at 5070 KHz week-nights after  0300 GMT.   If you need assistance in identifying a suitable receiver for your use,  please e-mail the above address.  There are a couple of great deals out there right now.  Universal Radio is one reliable source currently offering a package deal that may be of interest.  Perhaps the best current radio to start out with is a Kaito KA1103 sold by Universal (see review)

(also known as the Degen DE1103 (see review) which can be found on e-bay for half the price - caveat emptor)

Interesting Update (Jan 08):  As reported by the EU Space Agency:  On Jan 4, the new solar cycle, Cycle 24, began with the appearance of a very special solar spot with reversed magnetic polarity and 2 solar blasts.  The new cycle started with a ‘bang’!  Extreme ultraviolet (EIT) blast waves were also observed by the 12 year old SOHO satellite .  Cycle 24 is expected to build gradually, with the number of sunspots and solar storms reaching a maximum by 2011 or 2012 [3.5 years] Interesting Update (Oct 08):.  As reported on shortwave, the new sunspot cycle has still not yet provably begun.  Sep 09 - Solar activity remains at very low levels and the sun remains blank of sunspots.  But NASA warns, ""Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather," points out Biesecker. "The great geomagnetic storm of 1859 (The Carrington Event), for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting" and  "if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause $1 to 2 trillion in damages to society's high-tech infrastructure and require four to ten years for complete recovery."  [with some "kooks" predicting a reversal of the magnetic poles of the earth - or at least 3.5 years of tribulation] 

You can watch for more of the weird reversed polarity (anti-) solar activity at a Canadian website that touts "All of your solar and aurora needs in one place !"  see VE3EN's website

Please support St John of Kronstadt Press and Fr Gregory Williams whose publications are the target of a boycott by the very people who have benefited from his efforts for decades - all because he did not go along with union with the MP.   His efforts are being stolen and reproduced electronically and by xerox (without acknowledgement) by unscrupulous clergy.  

Miscellaneous Photographs

Palm Sunday 2007

Pascha 2008

 General milling-about in front of the original chapel after Agape Vespers 2005

2005 Kursk Icon Visitation

 This historic icon was in Tulsa March 27-29  2005 Photos

10th and 25th Anniversaries

On November 24, 1982  the Orthodox Spaniard Jose Munuz-Cortez was called upon by the Lord for a special task. Actually, this task began on Mt Athos, when Jose was given a copy of the glorious image of “The Portaitissa” (Keeper of the Portal)  Iveron Mother of God.  On the night of November 23-24 the icon began to inexplicably stream myrrh. Jose's 15-year service to the Mother of God and our Church ended 10 years ago, on the night of October 31, with his martyric murder in Athens.

Five years ago, when the rapid changes leading to Union with Moscow had for some time affected the Russian Church Abroad  (not yet fully "ROCOR"),  the ROCA Synod of Bishops made this statement:

“This icon, by pouring forth its miracle-working myrrh for 15 years, consoled our Russian Church Abroad, appeared as a visible and tangible symbol of the merciful intercession of the Mother of God towards us sinners… Did we take advantage of this visit by the Mother of our Lord to benefit our souls? And is it not our common sin, having grown cold towards this holy icon and towards prayer, towards acts of piety and witness of the Orthodox faith, that caused the disappearance of this holy icon by the allowance of God?..."

And now we have seen the disappearance of the glorious Russian Church Abroad herself, a remnant of which is struggling to say alive, while the memory of this "convert" phenomenon is largely forgotten or relegated to irrelevancy.

What is the meaning of this extraordinary manifestation of God's grace in our time?

 Brother Jose told Fr Mark in 1987 that she guides him, as the guardian of her icon,  to take her miracle working image to wherever she is needed to strengthen those who will endure great difficulties.   The large number of Myrrh-soaked cotton balls Brother Jose packed up for us to take back home to Indiana are now few in number after many difficulties of the past 20 years, but they have never failed to become fragrant whenever there has been sufficient need for consolation.  Today, on the Feastday of the Iveron Icon (Oct 13/26) they are more moist than usual, and while not exuding the heavenly fragrance they once did, the odor is still holy and uplifting to the depressed soul of an unemployed priest who can, after 10 years, no longer support his Mission.  I have no doubt that in a time of real need they will again self-renew.  Such was the case when Fr Kallistos anointed himself on his deathbed many times a day with one of the  cotton balls Brother Jose had given us. For weeks that cotton never dryed out, but remained moist and ready for another anointing. 

These and other miracles continue to strengthen the faithful and prepare them to endure trials.

"Follow the signs"

"Joseph, the chosen one of the Mother of God, followed logic, but not of the earthly kind, but the heavenly, the higher mystical logic in the tradition of Orthodox mysticism (revelations, visions), where cognition does not occur simply rationally or emotionally, but always like something crystallizing, like an act of Godly revelation."

Brother Joseph, keeper of the myrrh-streaming icon of Montreal

Those who sought his advice about rules for praying were recommended to do several sets of 100, say 4, and in between each one read the Holy Trinity prayer: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us." [ 3x, and then the rest of the Trisagion Prayers - through the "Our Father."]

note:  The original Iveron Icon of the Mother of God is commemorated on October 13 / 26

On-Line  1986 Prayerbook


Mail order - Reprinted1960 Prayerbook  - reprint  E-Mail for price

Owasso information      

"Tulsa Area Links"     




Saint James the Apostle Orthodox Church

a Russian-American parish under the Holy Metropolis GOC

meeting in the priest's Chapel dedicated to the Holy Transfiguration

9612 North 151st East Avenue

Owasso (Tulsa), Oklahoma 74055

866-274-9612 (toll free)      or 918-274-9612

Saint James follows traditional liturgical practices while "making God's service" in English, according to the Russian Typikon, and the Church Calendar (Julian or "Old Calendar"). In services we commemorate as our bishop Metropolitan Pavlos of the G.O.C. diocese of North & South America. 

Our services, which trace their beginnings back to the Old Testament, are a treasury of Scripture readings, prayers, hymns, and canons composed by the Saints and pious Christians throughout the ages.

Our hymnology is a mixture of English and Slavonic, the latter being more common in the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.  Also, many of the more memorable festal hymns are Byzantine - an inheritance from Fr Kallistos, and the past practices of St John Chrysostom parish in St Louis.   Of course there is no instrumental accompaniment to the traditional chant of God-given human voices.  


 Agape Vespers - Pascha 2008 ( 400 square feet - 42 people for Liturgy! )          

Whether you are Orthodox, or you would like to know more about the Orthodox faith, we welcome you to join us in worship, or to contact us. 

Stereo view of St James chapel on Pascha 2009    quick tutorial on viewing

You are welcome and encouraged to join us in 'Trapeza', for a meal sponsored and prepared by the sisterhood of the community and served in our (adjacent) home after Liturgy.

Recent Parish History

In 1997 Archbishop Alypy of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad authorized Priest Mark Gilstrap to establish a parish in honor of our patron the Holy Apostle James.   

In 2007, upon union with the Moscow Patriarchate, Vladyka Alypy agreed to release Priest Mark to the protection of Metropolitan Pavlos of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, whose First Hierarch is His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.  This release was granted by Bishop Peter, the 'Administrator', after a Diocesan Council meeting a month later (as communicated by Fr Martin Swanson, Dean of the Midwest diocese.)

   His Eminence Metropolitan Pavlos,

ruling bishop of the Holy Metropolis of America.


Bishop Christodoulos and Priest Mark on St James Day (2008) 


Why a Russian parish in the GOC?

Firstly, some background:

In 1955 the head of the Greek Old Calendar Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos (I) of Florina, reposed in the Lord without consecrating successors.   In 1960 Archbishop Seraphim of the ROCA (now ROCOR,) diocese of Chicago and Detroit (now Chicago and Mid-America) co-consecrated to the episcopate Archimandrite Akakios who was selected by the Traditional Calendar clergy of Greece.  By this act, the episcopate of the GOC was restored through Archbishop Seraphim. 

ROCA Archbishop Leonty of Chile later co-consecrated  additional bishops, and in 1969 the entire Synod of Blessed  Metropolitan Philaret recognized these ordinations of GOC bishops, and also declared ROCA to be in full communion with the GOC.

In the 1970s Archbishop Seraphim blessed Greek members of his Cathedral parish in Chicago to depart and establish an ethnically Greek parish.  Cathedral clergymen also served at this parish of the Holy Unmercenaries when needed.  Today in the Chicago area there are 2 GOC parishes and an 80 acre monastery property (proposed location for a Summer Youth Camp - similarly Archbishop Seraphim established a community called  Vladimirova and established ORPR Summer Camp on 80 acres of land he purchased near Freeport, Illinois) 

Here's Why:

Like the ROCA we joined 25 years ago, the GOC synod maintains no relations or communion with the local Churches which have accepted the calendar innovation, nor with the Churches which have any communion with the pan-heresy of Ecumenism and which belong to the World Council of Churches. 

In other words, the GOC maintains an inheritance from the "Old Style ROCA" and in a very real spiritual sense is "the Russian Church as I remember it."  

Fr Mark, in a discussion with his father in Christ Archbishop Alypy,  agreed that other Russian bishops were problematic ecclesiologically.    Only the mutually acceptable GOC offered protection for our convert parish from the stormy winds [and agents] of change, while allowing the use of the Russian Church's Typicon.   Truly the past hospitality of Archbishop Seraphim to the GOC is being reciprocated today by Metropolitan Pavlos' reception of our parish, and that of other ex-ROCA clergy Fr Thomas Maretta (released by Metropolitan Laurus) and Fr Steven Allen (who left ROCA many years ago when the winds of change first became dominant).

St James is the westernmost community of the GOC. The next closest will eventually be St Matthew's in Jonesboro, Arkansas (see on-site photo below), a church being constructed by a man who in his youth was an Altar Boy for Archbishop Seraphim.  

Bishop Christodoulos and Priest Mark at the Blessing of Land for a new Church (2007) 

Having not yet attained a critical mass sufficient to fund monthly expenses in a separate facility, services of the community of Saint James are still being hosted in the priest's chapel of the Holy Transfiguration located near Owasso, 1/2 mile east of the Tulsa-Rogers County line.  It is 14 miles W of the county seat of Claremore, and about 7 miles NE of the city limits of Tulsa. Maps to St James

No, this isn't the view from our hilltop Chapel in NE Oklahoma!   This is a few hours away in SW Oklahoma.   More pictures from beautiful Oklahoma  here    

A long needed space-doubling addition to the building may, God-willing, be finished in the next year - but only with help.  At present the edifice presents "somewhat" of a rustic character,  but interior and exterior completion awaits only a few weeks of vacation time-off during good weather (not likely until 2010), or else, an affordable contractor (lol).

see Building Fund below

Fr Mark's employment situation has changed again.  After being laid off from Delphi in 2007, and spending a pretty long year at the Lafarge Cement Plant, he now manages three Research Labs at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. 

The stress is dramatically reduced, but time is now at a premium.  To drive home to Owasso for the night adds an additional 3 hours to the day and subtracts quite a few dollars.   Alternate accommodations in a 1971 travel trailer at a campsite on a nearby lake helps with the time and money,  but the isolation also handicaps the True Orthodox clerical presence in the Tulsa area.  Weekday services are rare. 


 Agape Vespers - Pascha 2008 ( 400 square feet - 42 people! )

About Fr Mark

    Fr Mark was tonsured a Reader (1987), and then ordained Deacon (1992) by Archbishop Alypy, to serve St John Chrysostom parish in House Springs, Mo.

In 1996 Archbishop Alypy ordained Fr Mark as a priest in order to establish a parish in Tulsa, OK.  

Fr Mark was born in Tulsa 58 years ago and grew up in Tulsa and Independence, Mo.  He and  Matushka Tatiana, (married 38 years)  grew up a mile apart, on opposite sides of the Tulsa State Fairgrounds.   An immediate bond of love was ignited when their eyes met for the first time one day in 1970 across the "SCAC" (anti-war) table in the Student Union at the University of Tulsa. 

Together with their infant daughter, they discovered Orthodoxy in Indiana where they had moved to attend graduate school, and lived for 20 years. 

Their first parishes were Christ the Saviour in Indianapolis, and St John Climacus in Bloomington, which were both served by their godfather, Fr Chad Williams.   The first Liturgy at St John's (1985) was served in their front room, on an old sewing table still used by acolytes at St James today.  

In 1988 the Gilstraps were present at a 'founding' meeting at Fr John Boylan's home in Cincinnati where they voted to support the re-establishment of the parish of St George the Great Martyr which had closed only a few years earlier  (below: Theotokos icon w/ riza from the older St George's parish which, after 40 years, closed in 1984)  


Icons which shared our path to Oklahoma

The Priest's Cross was a gift from Fr Wladimir Strelnizki of Bloomington, Indiana who was given this cross at his ordination in the early '40s at the camp in Germany where the brotherhood of of St Job of Pochaev sought refuge.  Also at the camp were the young men Nicholas (Archbp Alypy) and Vasili (+ Met Laurus). This is one of the original Tsar Nicholas commemorative crosses, so often duplicated.


After Fr Kallistos reposed in St Louis (Nov 11, 1992),  and Abbot Gabriel (Loynes, of St Seraphim's Skete) left both Cincinnati and the Church, Fr Paul Bassett arrived to serve St George's,   Archbishop Alypy reassigned (in 1994 link to travelogue) deacon Mark to St George's where he served with Fr Paul as deacon, and 2nd priest until 1997.  

After ordination, priest Mark and protopriest Paul planned to 'tag-team' serve in Cincinnati OH, Louisville and Lexington, KY and Wayne, W. Va. (and elsewhere), but those plans were cut short by the extraordinarily rapid finding of a rare "perfect match" job as a catalyst chemist in Oklahoma, where the archbishop had blessed the establishment of the parish for which Fr Mark had been ordained.     

Pascha 2006 family photo













e-mail:  Priest Mark Gilstrap  (Facebook ID = Priest Mark)

Life of St Mark the Anchorite

Holy Week and Pascha

Glory to Thy Holy Cross and Resurrection O Lord!





 Summer Service Schedule 

 Winter Service Schedule:  

(begins a few weeks after Pokrov (Покровъ, "protection"), and in Greek as Skepê (Σκέπη)

  Saturday Evening and Eves of Feasts

        6:00 pm    Vespers or Night Vigil (Vespers, Matins and 1st Hour)

WINTER CONFESSIONS are heard 5:15 - 5:45 pm before evening services, or at other times by appointment (see above regarding confession after a lengthy absence))

   Sunday and Feastdays

        9:10 am    3rd and 6th Hours

        9:30 am    Divine Liturgy begins immediately after the Hours (Trapeza meal is served immediately after Liturgy)







Winter Schedule begins after Pokrov.  (typically begins in Nov the weekend after St James Day)

("On Pokrov, before dinner it is autumn; after dinner, winter."   People carefully watched the weather on Pokrov. If it was cold and snowy on this day, it was believed that the whole winter would be very cold. Winds blowing from the south meant the coming winter would be warm; winds from the west meant a snowy winter.)  In Tulsa in 2007 there was a warm south wind on Pokrov - until evening, when a fairly mild cold front blew in from the northwest.   The entire winter was mild, punctuated by the worst ice storm in anyone's memory (see photos).  Such storms occur when the temperature is below freezing at ground levels and above freezing aloft.. 

2008:  Pokrov started out warm and ended mild.  The next day it was blustery and quite cool.



There are now 3 motels open in Owasso.   The new Candlewood Suites is nice but they will not give us a a discount agreement. The Holiday Inn Express offers a discounted church rate ($69) available only through the Church.  The Best Western is not recommended.  A new Hampton Inn is now open and a Marriott is close to completion (by Fall 09)       

The following motels in Tulsa are also recommended:

Comfort Suites Central / I44 (OK109) is 100% non-smoking and Sleep Inn & Suites Central / I44 (OK093) allows smoking and pets, but is still highly rated (by smokers and pet owners no doubt).    Both motels have received commendable awards and are next to each other near 33rd and Memorial - which is 15 miles, an easy 20 minute drive to Church.

La Quinta on I-244

the La Quinta in Tulsa at 41st and US-169 is also only a short drive away and can be very nice, and as low as $49 a night for 2 night weekend stays. 

Flying into Tulsa International Airport?

Learn a little about Owasso  an Osage word meaning "the end [of the trail]" which is what Owasso was for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1906 (before a bridge over Bird Creek into Tulsa was constructed).  After Statehood a bridge was built and Santa Fe passenger service between Kansas City and Tulsa ran up until the late 1960s.  The Tulsan was a milk train that left Union Station in KC at midnight and arrived in Tulsa at 7:00 am - stopping very frequently to literally pick up milk cans along the way.  Some of Fr Mark's fondest memories are from riding that particular train to and from his brother's house. 

Current building fund balance =  (as of October 2008)  $510  

Please help us if you are able.  Please send Building Fund donations to St James - notated "Building Fund."  

But first consider whether you have tithed to your own parish.   Everything comes from God,  but He does not demand that you give everything back to him.  We owe God's Church 10% of that which He has granted us, but you owe your own community that first 10% of any increase.  We choose a particular community and then we should support it.  If, after you make your tithe to your own local church, if you have additional resources, please do consider donating to St James from your discretionary giving.  

Be sure to send a list of names of the living and departed that you would like to have commemorated at Proskomedi.      We will try to update the fund balance with each donation.    This is not meant to be a general maintenance or support fund, but the beginning of a nest-egg to be set aside towards the eventual purchase of property.

This "Building" fund is a reserve amount within the General Fund, not a separate account.  It is not used for current construction (e.g. the current reserve would not even represent 10% of the cost so far for the currently languishing addition). This fund is simply that part of the General Fund  ear-marked (as it says above, "notated") as a reserve intended for acquiring and/or building a parish-owned structure in the future.   

This thermometer acts as an indication of the level of readiness for this mission to grow and thrive.   Earmarked funds are a double-edged sword.   What point is reserving funds in a Building Fund when the cost of operating  a Mission is not covered by tithes?   There have been two fairly recent instances when the General Fund balance consisted of nothing more than the Building Find reserve (once we fell well below and had to pay bank charges for not meeting the minimum balance).   Recent unemployment situations means there is no longer someone to cover for these lean times.  If you are a parishioner, please help support your community.    We would like to be in a situation like the small parish of St Nicholas  in Dallas, where there are excess general funds each month to reserve for a Building Fund.   See St Nicholas Newsletter excerpt below:

"Please give to the building fund as often as you can, but abide by THIS ONE CONDITION. DO NOT decrease your tithe to the general fund of the church in order to give to the building fund. This would be, as they say, "robbing Peter to pay Paul". Those who do not tithe already SHOULD, because they are neglecting not the church only, but themselves.

"Our money truly IS where our heart is, as the Lord said: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt 6:21)

"Please remember that your tithe is given to God, and should not be "used" to garner support for any opinion, influence people, or "make a statement". It should not be given, nor taken away,  because we agree or disagree with some event or community direction or opinion, or anything else in the community. To do these things is to follow the way of the world. We must be able to give to God because it is the right thing to do, and not for any other reason."

The above exhortations were apparently heeded.  St Nicholas (ROCOR/MP) is completing Phase 1 of construction in September 2008 - a $221,000 "Chapel" -  to be followed by Phase 2, consisting of construction of a permanent Temple, and conversion of the Chapel to a Church Hall and Offices.

  New Documents 

Kursk Visitation 2004



This site originally published 12/27/04 - last update 05/11/2009

Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
9612 N 151st East Avenue
Owasso, Oklahoma  74055

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