FATHER SAVAS CONSTANTINOU MEMORIAL FAMILY MISSION WALK
Each year, Orthodox Christian churches across the country conduct mission pledge walks during September to raise funds to help support Christian missions world-wide. For the 10th consecutive year, the congregations of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Virginia Beach and Annunciation Cathedral in Norfolk will band together to host the Father Savas Constantinou Memorial Family Mission Walk at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. All Orthodox Churches in Southeastern Virginia participate in this annual event.
The Mission Walk has been named the “Father Savas Constantinou Memorial Family Mission Walk” in honor of ‘Father Sav’ (as he was known to all). Father Sav was a Norfolk local who served for years as lay leader and priest at Annunciation Cathedral on Granby Street and then as associate pastor and pastor at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on First Colonial Road.
Father Sav was a strong champion of the annual Orthodox mission walk who, for many years prior to his retirement in 2004, organized mission walks involving all Virginia Orthodox churches and the youth of those churches. He was a tireless and innovative fund-raiser, who raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity over the years. He organized mission walks at various times on the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and at First Landing State Park.
The mission walk languished for a few years after Father Sav’s retirement, but in 2012 a concerted effort was made to revive this wonderful event. The goal was to both to support Christian charities and to foster closer ties between the local Orthodox churches. A limited event on the Boardwalk was held in October 2012 but was rained out. Even though Father Sav was in in retirement and in extremely poor health by then, he enthusiastically supported this revitalized effort. He wrote dozens of letters to friends and parishioners and spoke often in support of this charitable effort. His commitment was unwavering, despite his increasing physical limitations. Sadly, Father Sav passed away in January 2013.
To commemorate his tireless support of the mission walk and what it symbolizes (support for those in need, to further Christian education, to encourage fellowship and community), in 2013 the Mission Walk was re-named in his honor. The Mission Walk has adopted one of Father Sav’s favorite slogans -- FROG (Fully Rely on God) -- as its theme and frog signs mark the path for each year’s walk.
The first annual Father Sav Mission Walk was held at First Landing State Park on September 29, 2013. The event included a Liturgy, a memorial prayer service for Father Sav, a picnic and a 4-mile mission walk. The event was attended and supported by members of Annunciation and St. Nicholas --- the churches at which Father Sav served. Kempsville’s Boy Scout Troop 401 manned First Aid Stations along the walk route. Approximately 220 people attended the Liturgy and picnic, and 111 supporters walked the Cape Henry trail to raise funds and awareness.
These efforts raised $6,000 for Holy Cross Seminary, Orthodox Christian charities and for the Virginia Beach Public Schools “Beach Bags” program --A worthy first step for a revitalized effort. And the sense of ‘one community’ was evident throughout. Father Sav would be proud.
Since then, the Father Sav Mission Walk has raised almost $100,000 for charity and Christian education. The 10th Annual Father Sav Mission Walk will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2022. We will again be joined by our Scouting friends and by the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad (for the 9th year). Again, the Walk will collect pledges and donations for international Christian charities, scholarships for Virginia Seminarians at Holy Cross Seminary and Camp Good Shepherd Virginia, missionaries, for Virginia Beach ‘Beach Bags’ and other worthy local/national/international charities. Details and additional information are posted on the St. Nicholas website (www.stnicksgoc.org) and on our Facebook page (@fathersavmissionwalk). All are invited to attend and encouraged to support this worthy event.
For additional information contact:
Ed Ullom Phone: 757-477-7915 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Stephanitsis Phone: 757-536-1597 e-mail: email@example.com