Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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New Property in the Roanoke, Virginia

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Mor Philoxenus Parish purchases a new property

Syriac Orthodox families lived in the Roanoke, Virginia’s greater area for more than four decades. They worshiped at local parishes, notably at St. Elias Maronite Church. With the grace of God and the faith and enthusiasm of these families, a parish was formally established in December of 2007. Accompanied by some clergy and faithful, I had the opportunity to travel to Roanoke and meet with our spiritual children there. We celebrated the Holy Qurbono according to the ancient tradition of our Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, at the local Maronite Church. The Liturgy was attended by some 70 members. At that visit we were able to set up a Board for the parish, and we made arrangements with Rev. Fr. Claude, of the Maronite church, to allow us to use the church once a month to gather our parishioners. Our priest of St. Aphrem Church in Washington D.C. continued to visit and celebrate the Liturgy. We take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to Fr. Claude and the parishioners of St. Elias Maronite Church, for their hospitality and support.

As the church continued to grow with new members joining, we advised the Board to start looking for a suitable property where we can set up a permanent home for the parish. Several buildings were inspected. Finally, we welcomed the suggestion of Mr. Shabo Karkenny and his brothers to purchase a building owned by them which can be converted to church facilities. The Karkenny Brothers made a generous offer to sell the building for much less than its market price. After agreeing to the proposal, the congregation started to use parts of the building before any formal actions were taken. For the last six months the congregation has been meeting at the building for Holy Qurbono, which increased from once a month to twice.

During our pastoral visit to the parish on the 28th and 29th of May, we officially signed the contract to purchase the building from the Karkenny Brothers. We hope to close on it in the next few weeks.

The building will allow us to set up a church with a capacity of 150 people, a social hall of equal capacity, three class rooms for Sunday School and a two bed room apartment for the clergy.

Mor Philoxenus parish is a small congregation of less than forty families; it is however very strong in faith and determination to have a beautiful church, and facilities to accommodate their spiritual needs. We are very impressed by their hard work and dedication. We, therefore, bless their efforts and pledge our assistance in any way possible to make their dream come true.

We appeal to all our parishioners and friends in our Archdiocese to kindly extend a helping hand to our parishioners in Roanoke, Virginia.

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