At the All American Council in July of 2005, His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri, archbishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South, gave his blessing for the start of a mission in Tampa, Florida. Fr. Joseph Ciarciaglino, chaplain to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the University of South Florida, was designated as the priest in charge.The purpose of this endeavor was to seek out Orthodox who had fallen away from the practice of their faith as well as to bring the true faith of Orthodoxy to Tampa in a parish where all services are in English.
With an original band of five, joined shortly by one other, and with the blessing of the Archbishop to invoke St. Philip as its patron, the mission began the task of finding a suitable place for worship. Several sites were located but none was satisfactory. Then by the grace of God a small protestant church was located that was for sale. Through the aid of a benefactor, financing was arranged and the closing occurred in early October.
The members cleaned, painted, repaired and refurbished the building. With the aid of Tom Johnson of Tom Johnson Construction, a parishioner of Fr. Joseph at another parish, 1,800 square feet of the building was renovated into a proper Orthodox temple. An iconostasis using state of the art reproductions from Orthodox Images was constructed (see "Photo Album" at left). On November 6, 2005 the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated.