Five years had past until a nice, useful facility was available for purchase in the Laurel Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. Camp Fairfield, a 280 acre campground, had cabin accommodations for 160 campers and counselors, and needed only cosmetic enhancements for its initial use. The existing structures included 20 cabins, administrative offices, a dining hall with kitchen, nursing lodge and infirmary. The maintenance building, caretaker’s residence, and staff house were judged to be “appropriate camp style.” Key to the recreational area was a nice size swimming pool, with attached bath house, a softball field, and volleyball, basketball, and a tennis court. The land and its structures were perfect for the time and needs of the Archdiocese; while providing plenty of additional land for expansion.
On March 31, 1978, the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America signed the final sales agreements to take ownership of what is now The Antiochian Village. The Metropolitan immediately established two primary councils. The first was the Administrative Council for daily operations, co-chaired by
Father George M. Corry and Mr. George S. Koury. The second council was the Programming Council, chaired and organized by Father John Namie, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church, Houston, TX. Father John was assisted by the then Youth Director of the Archdiocese, Mr. Bill Essey (Right Reverend Bishop BASIL).
The 280-acre grounds were purchased from Camp Fairfield, a Presbyterian camp, in 1978, and the first camping season was the summer of 1979. The Conference and Retreat Center was built in 1985 and doubled in size in 1990. Fr. John Namie was the first camp director from 1979 to 1988. Under his directorship, the camping program grew from a two-camper session to an ACA accredited camping program that served hundreds of Orthodox Youth each summer.