St. Benedict Orthodox Church is a Traditional Orthodox parish, which means that it does not incorporate elements of the western Christian environment or Protestant and Roman Catholic religious practices. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the resulting social, political, and religious upheaval which accompanied it had a positive side effect, particularly on those Russian Orthodox in the diaspora: they tended to cling firmly to their religious traditions in spite of the temptation around them to "modernize" or "Americanize" their practices. The Russian Orthodox Church and her associated Churches are often referred to as the "fundamentalists" of the Orthodox because of their strict adherence to the ancient practices of the Church.
While most of the Orthodox world was being crushed under the heel of the Moslem Ottoman Empire, the Russian Church was flourishing under the patronage of the Christian Czars. Orthodox monasticism for both men and women flourished. The Czars built and staffed missionary schools throughout the Middle East and sent missionaries into unchurched lands, including North America. Everywhere the Russian merchant seamen and traders traveled, they took their Priests and their Church. And although the spiritual state of many of the people of Russia degenerated in the last days of the Nineteenth Century and the beginning of the Twentieth Century (largely as a result of close contacts with the spiritually searching west), the Revolution acted as a catalyst to revitalize the faith and spirit of the people.
Whereas the Russian lands were Christianized without the widespread bloodshed of martyrdom which occurred in other lands, when her time came the Russian Church offered up the blood of countless martyrs at the hands of the Bolsheviks – more than all that perished for the love of Jesus Christ and His Church in the entire Christian Age.
And so it happened, by the grace of God, that the Russian Church in the diaspora continued to hold to the traditions of her Faith with a particular tenacity even to the present time. In 1983, a small group of Orthodox Christians in Central Oklahoma, desiring a parish in that tradition, petitioned the Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago, Detroit, and Middle America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia for the establishment of a mission parish. His Grace, the Right Reverend Alypy, in an Ukaze (official Church proclamation) dated February 26, 1983, gave his Archpastoral blessing for the establishment of St. Benedict Orthodox Church in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area.
East and West Meet—Again
The new parish in Oklahoma City chose as its patron and protector St. Benedict of Nursia. This was because St. Benedict is in every way an Orthodox Saint who taught and defended the Orthodox Faith during his lifetime and, having lived in the west, made such an impact upon the Church that even today he is widely venerated in the west where thousands follow his Holy Rule for monasteries. Thus we all are reminded that the Christian West was Orthodox before it was heterodox and that the Holy Orthodox Christian Church in the Americas and the entire Western Hemisphere represents the full expression of the Holy Church of Christ and opens her arms in love to all who would embrace her.