Founded by a Saint
The parish of St. George of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has a long and rich history. Started in 1914 by a group of 25 Syrian and Lebanese immigrant families, St. George has evolved over the years into a multi-ethnic parish serving close to 200 families. The founding families had gathered in Cedar Rapids from several nearby farms and small towns and sought to build a church in order to help them raise their children in the Faith. Under the spiritual guidance of our Father among the Saints, RAPHAEL of Brooklyn, who presided at the first Divine Liturgy, those founding families managed to collect $4,000 in donations and borrow an additional $6,000 to finance the construction of their beloved St. George Church. Today, a shrine housing the icon of St. RAPHAEL, along with his Holy relic, stands along the north wall of the church sanctuary in recognition of his role in the founding of our parish.
St. Luke the Evangelist Mission began in 2002 under the guidance of Archpriest Elias Meena to provide an Orthodox Christian witness to the East side of the greater Cleveland metropolitan area. There are over two dozen Orthodox parishes in the region, but most of them are located either in central Cleveland or on the West side. The mission’s initial efforts under Fr. Meena included founding a community in the greater Solon area, the purchase of property for a permanent location, and the preparation of architectural plans for a church temple and hall.
Sadly, Fr. Meena’s untimely death in the summer of 2005 significantly curtailed the momentum of St. Luke’s. After Fr. Meena’s repose, the mission was served by two more priests on a part-time basis.
Archpriest James Kenna, 74, of St. Sophia in Dripping Springs, TX, was fatally injured in an automobile accident on Sunday, July 26th 2009. Services for Fr. James will be held at St. Sophia on Tuesday July 28 and Wednesday July 29th; see below for further details, or visit St. Sophia's web site.
From the Austin American Statesman:
The Rev. James Kenna was an energetic Dripping Springs pastor who founded several Orthodox Christian parishes in Central Texas and, even in retirement, was looking to establish more.
"He never wanted to quit," said the Rev. David Barr, the pastor of St. Elias Orthodox Church in Austin. Kenna, 74, died Sunday afternoon in a car wreck on his way home from lunch with a parishioner after attending church in Dripping Springs. Austin police officials said Kenna's PT Cruiser left Texas 45 for an unknown reason, crashed into a fence and flipped over into a retention pond.
The Great Feast of Pentecost was a momentous weekend for The Holy Spirit Antiochian Orthodox Church in Huntington, WV. Pentecost is the church's feast, and they just completed construction of their new social hall and Sunday School annex. To celebrate, a banquet and hafli was conducted on Saturday, June 6. The following morning, Bishop THOMAS conducted hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Included was the installation of Abraham Saad to Subdeacon and the elevation of pastor Fr. John Dixon to Archpriest.
Holy Week services at St. George Church in El Paso, Texas were featured in a news segment on local station ABC Channel 7 in April 2009. ABC Channel 7 received awards and drew excellent reviews for this feature.
Alyce Samen Hamatie was born in 1912 in Manhattan, N.Y. to the late Usta Samen and Alia Hatem Samen, both originally of Lebanon. In her early years Alyce owned and operated her own independant salon in New York City. During her younger years Alyce worked dilligently always helping her family and siblings. She was one of five children; her eldest sister Mary Samen passed away at a young age, as did her sister Najla Samen. Alyce had an older brother, John Samen, who besides being a World War II veteran also owned and operated many successful restaurants and venues. Alyce also had a younger sister, the late Virginia Samen Khouri, who passed away in 2004. In November of 1942, Alyce married the late Edgar D. Hamatie, who himself was a success story in business. They had two sons. The first, was the late Douglas Alexander Hamatie, who was in the U.S. military and was tragically killed in 1962 at 19 years of age while visiting the Pocono Mountains with his family at their summer home. The second was John Edgar Hamatie, who for over 35 years has been the Very Rev. Fr. John E. Hamatie of Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando, Florida.
On a beautiful Palm Sunday, April 12, 2009, the parish of St. George in Little Falls, NJ was blessed to have Metropolitan PHILIP to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. Stephen DeYoung from St. Tikhon's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.
On Sunday, March 8, 2009, Eastern Orthodox Christians from a dozen parishes in San Diego and Riverside counties filled St. George Serbian Orthodox Church—one of San Diego’s architectural and iconographic jewels—to celebrate “The Triumph of Orthodoxy” in a Vesper service.
“I’ve dreamed of this day for fifteen years!” exclaimed Fr. Jon Braun, priest Emeritus of St. Anthony Antiochian parish in La Jolla. While the Orthodox parishes in San Diego have been celebrating this feast day together for many years, it has been sparsely attended in the past and this was the first time in several decades that a Pan-Orthodox choir sang the responses for the city-wide Vesper service. The chorus of 40 singers from nine different parishes was organized and conducted by Valerie Yova, Music Director of St. Anthony's Antiochian Orthodox Church. Ms. Yova is a Founder and former Artistic Director of the Orthodox Christian Chorale of Detroit, Past President of the Pan-Orthodox Society for the Advancement of Liturgical Music and graduate of New England Conservatory. “For a number of reasons, the timing seemed right to begin a pan-Orthodox music ministry here in San Diego, and I’m very grateful to the clergy here for giving us their enthusiastic blessing! We have so much to gain from coming together to share our knowledge and traditions! Not just the musicians, but ALL of us.” stated Yova.