St James Antiochian Orthodox Church

A brief History of St. James Antiochian Orthodox Church 

Saint James parish is composed of several Arabic nationalities. Prior to 1993 the Arabic Christian Orthodox community in Greater Cincinnati attended services at different churches in the area. The urge to have their own church, the community sought the aid of the Antiochian Archdiocese. In turn the Archdiocese provided Father George Shaheen as a temporary priest.

With the commitment and dedication of the parishioners, the former Branch Hill elementary school was bought in 1995. The gym was converted to house the new church and Father Shaheen performed the dedication service in the presence of the parishioners and the media.

Since 1995 several priests served Saint James Church. The Church land has experienced several renovations and upgrades, last of which was the new Church hall and paved parking lot.

In 2009 St. James hosted its first Midwest Parish Life Conference.

Brief History of The Antiochian Church in America

The first Orthodox bishop consecrated in North America, St. Raphael Hawaweeny, was consecrated by the Russian Orthodox Church in America to care for the Orthodox Arab faithful in the USA and Canada. The Antiochian Archdiocese in North America traces its genesis to his ministry. He thus came to the US and was canonically received under the omophorion of Bishop Nicholas (Ziorov) of the Aleutians, the Church of Russia’s exarch in America at the time. Not long after, he founded Al-Kalimat (The Word) magazine. St. Raphael fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 54 on February 27, 1915.

However, after the Bolshevik Revolution threw the Russian Orthodox Church and its faithful abroad into chaos, the Orthodox Arab faithful in North America, chose to come under the direct care of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Due to internal conflicts, however, the Antiochian Orthodox faithful in North America were divided between two archdioceses, those of New York and Toledo, generally representing those who were loyal to the Church of Antioch and the Church of Russia, respectively.

With the signing of the Articles of Reunification by Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) and Metropolitan Michael (Shaheen) in 1975, the two Antiochian Orthodox archdioceses were united as one Archdiocese of North America (now with its headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey). Metropolitan Philip became the primate of the newly reunified archdiocese.

Since then the Archdiocese has experienced rapid and significant growth through the conversion of a number of Evangelical Protestants—both individually and as congregations, especially with the reception of the majority of the Evangelical Orthodox Church in the 1980s—and also through ongoing evangelization and the immigration of Orthodox Arabs from the Middle East.

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