Archpriest Fr. Maximos Saikali
Fr. Maximos Saikali is a graduate of the famed Balamand University-Monastery, where he encountered his classmate and future wife Rita Addoul. Balamand Monastery has existed in Northern Lebanon for nearly a millenium, as monks built Balamand Abbey in 1157 AD. In concert with a life of prayer, the monks cultivated the soil, wrote and copied manuscripts, and hosted guests who sought refuge. Today, Balamand is a distinguished seminary. Fr. Saikali was ordained to the priesthood over 30 years ago by the highly esteemed Metropolitan Constantine (Papastephanou). In 1991, Father and Khouriyee Saikali answered the call to shepherd the flock of Saint Antonios. They arrived with two young children, Milad and Maria (Dr. Maria Haddad), and established their family in our midst. They would have three more children: Anthony, Stephanie, and Elianna, all of whom set an example by their deeds.
Fr. Saikali has also played a role in mentoring the next generation of clergy. Fr. Mark-Arsenios Wyatt sought guidance from Fr. Saikali, who received him into the Orthodox Church. Fr. Saikali encouraged Mark to consider pursuing his education overseas. Fr. Wyatt attended the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology, at Balamand Monastery. In September 2007, Fr. Mark-Arsenios Wyatt was appointed Pastor of Saint Nicholas Church in Montreal, Quebec.
Bishop Alexander was born in north Lebanon. He was ordained a Priest in 2000, and was elevated to Archimandrite and consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy in 2004. His consecrating Bishops included His Beatitude Ignatius IV. In 2005 he was enthroned as the first Diocesan Bishop of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York.
Bishop Alexander kindly visited our Church on numerous occaisions, including the January 17th feast to celebrate Saint Antonios. His appearance is always a joyous occaision, and he is beloved because of his steadfast support.
Metropolitan Ephraim Kyriakos was born in Beirut, Lebanon (1943). His initial studies focused on telecommunications, and he later taught at St. Joseph University. In 1972, Ephraim left his secular career and entered the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at the University of Balamand. He was ordained a deacon in 1974, and then a priest in 1978. Ephraim joined the Monastery of St. Paul on Mount Athos in 1983. There he received the name “Ephraim”, in honor of Ephraim the Syrian. He subsequently established a monastery in Lebanon named the Holy Archangel Michael Monastery. Ephraim was elevated to an Archimandrite in 1991, and became a Metropolitan Archbishop in 2009. Metropolitan Ephraim has been a fervent supporter of Saint Antonios, and travelled from Lebanon to celebrate the new Church’s official opening ceremony.
Metropolitan Constantine (1924 – 2016)
It was with great sadness that we learned of the falling asleep in our Lord Jesus Christ of His Eminence Metropolitan Constantine (Papastephanou) in April, 2016. It can truly be said that he was a man of God. This is the bishop who ordained Fr. Maximos Sakaili to the priesthood over 30 years ago. Metropolitan Constantine was born in 1924 in Damascus, where he was educated in the city’s parochial schools. His Eminence was blessed to study in Greece before he was ordained to the holy priesthood in 1951, by Patriarch Alexander III (Tahan) of Antioch. He then served as a priest in Damascus and its vicinity for eighteen years. During the late 1950s he was appointed as the director of the Balamand Clerical School in north Lebanon, and in 1964 was assigned by Patriarch Theodosios VI (Abourjaily) as abbot of the Holy Patriarchal Monastery of the Great-martyr George al-Humayra, in the “Valley of the Christians” in Syria. In 1967 he was given additional responsibilities as general steward for the Archdiocese of Hama. In 1969 he was elected to the sacred episcopacy by the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch for the Archdiocese of Baghdad, Kuwait, and the Arabian Peninsula, and was consecrated at the Holy Patriarchal Monastery of the Glorious Prophet Elias in Dhour al-Shweir. In 1984 Metropolitan Constantine was named to the Synodal Commission, and charged with overseeing the St. John of Damascus Patriarchal Institute of Theology at Balamand. We pray for the repose of the soul of the servant of God Metropolitan Constantine, and we exclaim “May His Thrice Blessed Memory be Eternal!”
Archpriest Fr. Ron Parsons
As a young man he participated in the Second World War overseas with the Canadian Army. After leaving the military, he served as a priest in the Anglican Church for 35 years. In 1990 he was ordained as a Christian Orthodox Priest, serving in this capacity until his death (2005). He was a much-loved spiritual leader of Saint Antonios Antiochian Parish and his presence is sorely missed. He was an active supporter of worker rights, and his commitment to social justice remained throughout his lifetime.
Metropolitan Joseph & Patriarch John X
Saint Antonios belongs to the self-ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and Metropolitan Joseph is its leader. His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, was born in Damascus in 1950. He is fluent in English, Arabic. Greek, and is conversant in other European languages. In 2011, Patriarch Ignatius IV elevated Bishop Joseph to the rank of Archbishop, in honor of his many years of service as a bishop both in our Archdiocese and in the Patriarchate of Antioch. In 2014, Archbishop Joseph was elected to become the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America is an Archdiocese of the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and Patriarch John X is its leader. His Beatitude John X was born in 1955 in the city of Lattakia, Syria. His Beatitude is the author of several books on theology, education, music, and liturgy. In 2012, Patriarch John X was elected by the Holy Synod meeting at Balamand Monastery as Patriarch of Antioch, and all the East.
Metropolitan Elia Saliba
Metropolitan Elia Saliba played an important role in the establishment of Saint Antonios Antiochian Parish. He visited the community in 1980 before a Church was purchased, and then returned several months later to officiate the first sunday service and wedding (Linda & Bassam Nahas). Born in Lebanon (1924), Metropolitan Elia Saliba holds a Bachelor of Theology from the famed Halki Seminary and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Damascus. He was ordained a priest in 1950, a Bishop in 1966, and a Metropolitan in 1984.
Archpriest Father Elia Shalhoub
Fr. Elia Shalhoub was born in Douma, Lebanon. He was ordained a priest by Metropolitan Philip Saliba in 1980. Shortly thereafter, he was assigned to Saint Antonios Church, where he served for eleven years together with Khouriyee Odette Shalhoub. While in Halifax he also established the Mission of St. Peter & Paul in Prince Edward Island. In 1991, Fr. Elia was assigned to St. George Church in Toronto, where he served for 4 years. Fr. Elia is at St. Philip Church in Florida since 2012.
Metropolitan Philip Saliba (1931-2014)
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, with great sadness, announced the passing unto life eternal of Metropolitan Philip Saliba, on March 19, 2014. May his memory be eternal. Metropolitan Saliba was a long-time supporter of Saint Antonios. In 1980, he designated our then infant Church an Antiochian Orthodox mission under the patronage of Saint Antonios (May 20, 1980). He was also present in Halifax during the mortgage burning ceremony.
Famed Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos defied death threats and fought racism alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (shown together below during the Selma march). Visit http://civilrights.goarch.org/ to learn more about the remarkable story. Iakovos also became the first Orthodox Archbishop to meet with the Pope in 350 years (1959), and helped drive the reconciliation between the Orthodox and Catholic Christian faiths, which is continued to this day by Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Archbishop Iakovos is certainly an inspiration to Saint Antonios Parishioners, and the broader Orthodox community.