In January 1975, Metropolitan Philip saw the need to study the possibilities of a new organization that would challenge the laity of the Archdiocese to a new dimension of service.
A small committee was organized under the chairmanship of Albert Joseph and was composed of Ernest Saykaly, Robert Andrews, Robert Laham, Theodore Mackoul, Archpriest Paul Schneirla and Archpriest Antony Gabriel. During the Archdiocese Convention held in Louisville, KY, in July 1975, a preliminary report was filed at the General Assembly. The Metropolitan accepted the findings of the report and by the Archdiocese Convention held in 1976 in San Francisco, CA, the provisional chairman, Albert Joseph, was installed and the first inductions to The Order took place.
It was during the Patriarch’s historic trip that the newest Archdiocesan organization was called into being and was given his Apostolic blessings. The first officers and chaplain were formally installed and many new members were inducted at the Washington Archdiocesan conclave in 1977. Ever since his Beatitude, Patriarch Elias IV, of Thrice Blessed Memory, and our beloved primate, Metropolitan Philip, formally blessed and inaugurated The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, an unprecedented number of lay persons were awakened to their global Archdiocesan responsibilities and scores of earnest women and men have come forward to join The Order.
From a handful of dedicated and devoted women and men, since inception The Order has grown to over 4,800 members and continues to grow steadily. There are currently nearly 3,000 active members. The projects of The Order continue to attract Antiochian Orthodox Christians from all over North America to join this productive ministry. Today members of The Order come from all walks of life: secretaries, executives, factory workers, hospital personnel, home managers. Some members are young, some are senior citizens, some have young families and some have grandchildren. All share a common love for Christ and his Church and a common belief that through The Order they can collectively assist our Archdiocese in performing Christ’s work.
By the Grace of God, the growth of The Order has contributed, since its inception, over $16 million to many worthwhile projects. The annual budget now exceeds over $1,500,000! The Order has contributed to Archdiocesan departments and projects such as: Missions and evangelism, Youth Ministry, Campus Ministry, Camp Scholarships, the Antiochian Village Camp, aid to married seminarians, the Antiochian Village Heritage Museum and Learning Center, Prison Ministry, Retired Clergy Housing Allowance, the College Conference, Christian Education and many, many more. Equally important The Order has responded to special needs outside our Archdiocese such as: the Special Olympics, Project Mexico, the Chinese Translation project, Mexico earthquake relief, Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Montreal Ladies Aid Society, flood and earthquake relief, and the International Orthodox Christian Charities to name a few. Please see a complete listing of Order projects on another page.