In 1978,as part of its convention theme of that year, the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America published a list of six cities with mission potential. Lexington, Kentucky was on that list, and two years later, six local families with Orthodox backgrounds accepted the challenge and formed St. Andrew Mission Parish. The six families–Farha, Krieger, Lengal, Mann, Metry and Skaff–began with little more than a strong commitment to Orthodoxy. These pioneering families celebrated the first Liturgies in their homes, and occasionally in rented rooms, with the generous support of visiting priests from St. George Church in Charleston, West Virginia; Holy Spirit Church in Huntington, West Virginia; and St. Michael the Archangel Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
In April 1981, the tiny mission was assigned its first pastor, Father George York. The Episcopal Seminary on Sayre Avenue allowed the mission to use a small chapel on its Lexington campus. During this time, the community began to attract many local Orthodox families and a steady stream of converts. In 1984 it became necessary to leave the Seminary location, and a new pastor, Father Barnabas Van Alstine, was assigned to the Parish. Then began a period of wandering from one facility to another. For a time St. Andrew Mission rented hotel space for liturgies. Then it became a “storefront church” in a shopping center. Eventually, the congregation settled in a building that had once been a dance studio and was owned by a parishioner, who generously allowed its use. By 1985, the Lexington faithful had raised sufficient funds to purchase land in southwest Lexington.
In the spring of 1987, Father Basil Essey was assigned as Interim Pastor. Under his guidance, the Parish broke ground and planted the Cross on the Higbee Mill Road property. In the summer of 1987, Father Denis Lajoie was assigned to St. Andrew Orthodox Church. By winter 1987, the Parish erected a two-story structure on the two-and-half acre plot and the parish began meeting in the Church Hall on the ground floor. In December of 1987, His Grace, Bishop Antoun presided over the dedication blessing of the new facility.
In August of 1988, Father Thomas Gallaway was assigned as pastor of St. Andrew’s. Father Thomas has overseen the completion and beautification of the church interior. The twelve-foot iconostasis made of solid mahogany was completed in 1993 and icons, hand painted in egg-tempera by the famous Russian iconographer, Xenia Pokrovsky, were fully installed by the Feast of Nativity that same year. On the Feast of Pentecost, 1995, former pastor of St. Andrew Church, now His Grace, Bishop Basil Essey, returned to St. Andrew Orthodox Church to consecrate the completed church and to ordain Benjamin Mann to the Holy Deaconate. On March 17, 1996, His Grace Bishop Demitri elevated Fr. Thomas to the dignity of Archpriest.. St. Andrew Orthodox Church completely retired its mortgage in the early 2000s, and is now pursuing plans for expansion to accommodate a rapidly growing congregation.