In the late 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, a small group if immigrants from Syria and Lebanon settled here in the Washington, DC area. Th was in 1908 they met together and decided to have a Church of their own under the leadership of Mr. Elias Joseph. So in December of 1908, Fr. Dumaney of Tripoli, Syria came to Washington and resided with Mr. George Hillow and held the first Service at his house, at which time about 20 people attended the service every Sunday. He served here for about 6 months, and after which he was transferred to Texas.
From 1909 to 1912, a few Priests came to visit and hold Services for the people here at various times. In 1912, Rev. Job Salloom of Philadelphia was ordained Priest and was sent here by Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny to be the permanent Priest of St. George of Washington DC, at which time the community rented a room on the 3rd floor of a 3 story building at 7th and Louisiana Avenue, N.W. This was the first permanent Church residence for our group here.
In 1913 the first Church Charter was received. The community was continually growing. Thus, in 1920 a property was purchased at 1009 8th Street, N.W., which was the home of St. George Church for approximately 34 years.
In 1921 the ladies Myrrh Bearing Society was officially formed and drafted its first constitution and elected Mrs. Thomas Abdo as its first President. Also the Sunday School was established under the Directorship of Mrs. Bahia Scordos.
In 1936 Fr. Salloom passed away and a new Metropolitan Archbishop of New Your was appointed (Metropolitan Anthony Bashir) and a new Priest, the Rev. Benjamin Hoffiz was transferred out and Fr. John Khoury became the new Pastor until 1947
In 1940 the first choir was formed under the directorship of Mr. Harry Hier and in 1945, under the leadership of Mr. William Dora, the present lot on the corner of 16th and Webster was purchased. In 1947 Fr. John Khoury left and Fr. John Nicholas was appointed as the new Pastor until 1963.
From September 1954 to December 1955 we had no Church Building and the congregation worshipped at eh Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea as the Washington National Cathedral. Also in 1954 Mr. George Amouri became the new Choir Director of St. George
On December 4, 1955 and under the leadershop of His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony Bashir, officiating, and Mr. Jack Kogok, Chairman of the new building, the new Church was constructed and the cornerstone was laid. Also in 1955, the Syrian Orthodox Youth Organization (SOYO) of Washington DC was formed.
In 1959 our Church of St. George hosted the first Eastern Region SOYO Convention. In 1960, the building adjacent to the Church (where the custodian presently resides) was purchased and the mortgage of $60,000 was paid in 1963. During the same year, we hosted the 18th Annual Archdiocesan Convention. In 1963, Fr. John Nicholas was transferred out and Fr. Michael Abraham served here for one month, after which Fr. Lou Mahshie was assigned to the Church in November 1963.
During Fr. Lou Mahshie's watch, Fr Gregory Rowley and Fr. Elias Dacy assisted him at various times until 1975 when he was transferred out of our Parish. During the same year Fr. Anthony Gabriel was assigned as the permanent Pastor here until July of 1979 when Fr. Rados left and a new Priest, Fr. Paul Saliba, was assigned as teh Pastor of St. George.
In 1990 we purchased the house that presently is home to our Sunday School. In 1999 Fr. Paul was elected Metropolitan of Austrailia and New Zealand and Fr. Joseph Rahal was appointed as our new permanent Pastor.
In 2005-2006, Fr. Joseph and the Parish Council erected a multi-million dollar project building a Parish Hall, eight Sunday School rooms, new Church offices and state of the art commercial kitchen.
Rare photos. The photo at the Wash. National Cathedral was taken when 16th & Webster was being built, but the 8th St. church had been sold. I remember going there to that chapel. In another photo, the Episcopal Bishop was kind enough to attend the laying of the corner stone.
SAINT GEORGE ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH
كنيسة القديس جاورجيوس الأنطاكية الأرثوذكسية المسيحية
Father Joseph Rahal
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