About Us

Ever wondered where the first-century Church went?

To most of us in the western world, the split between the Roman and Eastern Churches in the 11th Century meant we lost track of one another. The Ottoman empire from 1299 to 1922 (600 years!) further isolated the Orthodox (eastern) Churches from their western brothers and sisters (and vice-versa). Then came 80 years of communism in the Eastern European/Russian lands.

The net result is that most Westerners are not familiar with the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. Perhaps you’ve attended a festival at a Greek Church, or had a friend from Eastern Europe or the Middle East who baptized a child or got married, and you wondered about their Church that was so different, yet strangely familiar.

We can’t explain the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church on one webpage. But you are invited to visit with us, no obligation, and see if in fact you agree with us that First Century Christianity still exists.

In Ames, there has been an Orthodox presence since the fall of the Communists in the early 1990s – through the presence of students at Iowa State University from the Balkans and other countries formerly under Soviet dominion. There have also been American-born Orthodox Christian faculty and staff present in Ames since the 1970s. Some of these found their roots in Greek or Slavic or Arab Christian Culture – and many found their roots in traditional Midwestern life. Peter Frangos, a restaurateur, was in Ames around 1934, and was active in the Ames community and Orthodox Christian life in Des Moines.

Prior to 2005, the only place these Orthodox Christians could attend services was in Des Moines, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. In late 2012 a group of Orthodox Christians, primarily faculty and graduate students at Iowa State University, petitioned His Grace Bishop Alexander (Golitzen), Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America, to establish a church in Ames.

After discussion and a visit in May of 2013, Bishop Alexander agreed. A second-career priest and recent seminary graduate, Rev. Fr. Marty Watt, upon graduation from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological seminary, was assigned to serve the newly-forming Ames community. He and his family (Orthodox priests can be married – most are) arrived in Ames July 1, 2013 and held the first Vespers and Divine Liturgy the following weekend.

After deliberation, prayer and discussion, the parish was identified with the feast of the Holy Transfiguration – and Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Ames, Iowa, was established.

We are from both North America and traditionally Orthodox Christian lands. Our church is part of the Orthodox Church in America, and our mission is to reach out to Central Iowa and the Midwest with the message of Orthodox Christianity. To facilitate that mission, all of our worship is in English, although you may hear four or five different languages being used during our fellowship.

Great EntranceSo what is the message of Orthodox Christianity?

That God loves you, and more than anything, desires your fellowship and communion.
That we have discovered the path to union with God – achievable not just by saints, but by every Christian desiring to know God.
That we will share that path with anyone and everyone who desires to know about it.

The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant.
It is orthodox, but not Jewish.
It is catholic, but not Roman.
It isn’t non-denominational – it is pre-denominational.
It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost 2000 years ago.

Contact us, or feel free to join us in prayer.