A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13: 34-35.)
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church is located in Berkley, MI. We are a small community known for welcoming others. We are a family, and as a family care about each other, and are very supportive of one another. For the past fifteen years St. Mary's has been blessed with the ministry of Father George Baalbaki and his wonderful wife, Khouriye Iman. During their ministry the church has grown and been energized.
The History of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of West St. Paul, Minnesota
Adapted from our history compiled by Dr. George Droubie
The first Syrian and Lebanese immigrants arrived in Minnesota in the 1890's. In the St. Paul area they settled primarily on St. Paul's West Side. Dating from the arrival of the first Orthodox immigrants in St. Paul, they were informally organized as a religious group. Visiting priests held services in private homes. St. George Syrian Orthodox Church was formally organized and founded in 1913 on St. Paul's West Side. An Episcopal Church located at Clinton and Isabel streets was purchased and adapted for Orthodox liturgical needs. The church was officially dedicated in 1915 by Metropolitan Germanos Shehadi, at which time our first parish priest was ordained. Since then eighteen priests have served our parish, among them, V. Rev. Essa Kanavati and V. Rev. John G. Khoury. As the church building on the West Side began to deteriorate and parishioners moved out of the area surrounding the church, five acres of land in our current location were purchased in 1968 for a future complex. A multi-purpose hall was constructed during 1973 and our first service was held in February 1974.
St. Nicholas Church traces its history back to the early 1900’s, when Orthodox immigrants from the part of the Ottoman Empire then known as “Syria” began to come to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many of these immigrants made their living initially as “peddlers,” selling their wares door-to-door as the city grew into a center of commerce and industry. As they became more prosperous, they opened stores of their own. Others found employment in the city’s well-known furniture industry.
As early as 1906, the community was visited by traveling priests who served the recently arrived Orthodox immigrants scattered around the Midwest and concentrated in growing cities like Toledo and Fort Wayne. At least twice, Grand Rapids was visited by St. Raphael Hawaweeny, who encouraged the faithful to establish a church and who ordained and trained St. Nicholas’s first pastor, Father Philipous Abu-Assaley. Father Philipous was ordained in 1908. His youngest daughter, Rosemary Sears, still faithfully attends St. Nicholas.
By early 1989, an Episcopalian priest named Father Bill Olnhausen and about twenty of his parishioners had discovered the wonders of Orthodoxy. They left their former church and, guided by Fr. Peter Gillquist, began preparations for a new Orthodox mission in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee. In September 1989, when His Grace Bishop Antoun came to chrismate us and ordain Father Bill, he looked at our little group and whispered to Father Peter, “Is this all?” But we were quickly joined by about fifteen “cradle” Orthodox, and so our Orthodox Mission began.
For five years we rented space: first at a women’s club which was sold giving us only three weeks notice to move out, then since nothing else was available, in a dingy basement in a former schoolhouse out in the country. We had to set up and take down everything each weekend; even drinking water had to be carried in. Our first thought was that we must get out of here quickly; we’ll never grow here. But we did grow. One of our members said, “This basement is more ‘church’ to me than anywhere I’ve ever attended.” During those five years, all of us learned what the Church really is - the people, not the building.
In December 1994 we purchased a spacious old former Lutheran church building in downtown Cedarburg. Saint Nicholas of Myra had been intimately involved in our founding, and as it turned out our first services in the new building were on Saint Nicholas Day. Then, to our delight, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip named us Saint Nicholas Church.
Fr. Thomas Begley offers this account of the community of St. Mary Church in Iron Mountain, MI.
Recently, I traveled to Iron Mountain, Michigan for the deanery meeting with the clergy. Our Father in Christ, Bishop MARK, was there as well. His Grace has been with us for at least one of the two deanery meetings we have each year. Having the bishop present was an honor. His wisdom helped guide our discussions giving support to our clergy and our churches. What stood out, however, was His Grace and the clergy came for an additional purpose, which was to bless the soccer field the church built for the community.
St. Mary’s is a small parish in the western part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is an economically depressed area with city and county budgets stressed to the limit. Their priest, Fr. Mark Hagan, saw their parish losing members and unknown in the community. His answer to their dire situation was to reach out in Christ’s love to their community. Fr. Mark looked for a serious need that his church could help address in their community.
Fr. Mark discovered that there were 2,500 kids in and around Iron Mountain who were signed up for soccer. However, there were not enough soccer fields. The fields they used were in poor condition. Some of the kids played on a field given by a local company that had to have toxic gas vented out from beneath the field. Other fields were filled with rocks and had little or no grass. The church’s solution was to give property owned by the church to be leased by the soccer foundation for one dollar!
St. George is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The mission of St. George Church is to serve God and the Greater Detroit Area by commitment to the Gospel Command and to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ through faith, hope, and love. St. George Church follows the faith and practice of the Apostles and Disciples of Christ handed down by the ancient Christian fathers and twenty centuries of Church tradition. Genuine Christian life nurtures and stimulates our spiritual and moral development.
St. George Orthodox Church of Indianapolis was established and a church building erected and consecrated in 1926.
As a charter member, St. George Progressives contributed greatly to the SOYO movement. St. George parishioners Nick Coba and John Daniluck, who had been founders of the Federation of Russian Orthodox Clubs (FROC), were instrumental in guiding the SOYO movement of their adopted parish and Archdiocese. In the fall of 1947, the newly organized group met in Indianapolis to complete a draft of the constitution and by-laws.
St. George Orthodox Church of Terre Haute, Indiana, was founded by a few immigrants from Syria, more especially from Ein el Charra, a small village which nestles at the foot of Mount Hermon, southwest of Damascus. A constitution was drawn up and notarized on May 6, 1927 under the guidance of our first pastor, Metropolitan ANTONY (Bashir) of Thrice-Blessed Memory. Located seventy miles from any other Orthodox community, the years have allowed for the diversification of our Church. We are a warm and welcoming community made up of many of the original ancestors from Ein el Charra as well as others from Romanian, Greek, Russian ancestry as well as a formidable representation of those who have converted to the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Our Church family is loved and recognized throughout our community as being a place where people are welcomed and treated as family. Striving as we are commanded by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'...and to 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Should you ever find yourself visiting the "High Ground" (Terre Haute) come and worship with us!
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)
St. Mary’s Church was founded in Iron Mountain, Michigan in the mid 1930’s by immigrants of many nationalities. It is a jewel of the north, in what the Archdiocese could call “America’s Midwest Alaska.” It was visited by St. Raphael himself on regular occasions. It has deep snowy winters, scenic wilderness, unlimited wildlife and short picturesque summers. Our church serves people of all backgrounds and nationalities in a 48,000-square-mile area. Michigan's Upper Peninsula contains almost one-third of the state's land area, but just three percent of its total population. Parishioners travel as far as 100 miles on any given Sunday (even in deep snow) to attend Liturgy.
St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Lexington, KY had its beginnings with 5 pioneering families meeting at a members home on the Feast of St. Andrew Nov. 30, 1979. Later the community asked the Archdiocese for the patronage of St. Andrew due its founding significance. From the beginning St. Andrew has been a Pan Orthodox, multi ethnic, English speaking, and mission minded community desiring to share the Orthodox faith with the greater Lexington area. From its humble origins of 5 families it has grown to serve a community of more than 100 familles with origins in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Greece, and converts from many Western European roots. Its diversity in ethnicity's are united by its Christ centered allegiance and the mission to both live out and spread the teachings of the Gospel.