Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America is the sole jurisdiction of the Church of Antioch in the USA and Canada with exclusive jurisdiction over the Antiochian Orthodox faithful in those countries, though these faithful were originally cared for by the Church of Russia in America.
History of the Archdiocese
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. Through his efforts, what is known today as the Antiochian Archdiocese came into being.
However, after the Bolshevik Revolution threw the Russian Orthodox Church and its faithful abroad into chaos, the Orthodox Arab faithful in North America, simultaneously shaken by the death of their beloved bishop St. Raphael, 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 and Metropolitan Michael became an auxiliary archbishop. Since then the Archdiocese has experienced rapid and significant growth through the conversion of a number of Evangelical Protestants (both individually and as congregations) and also through ongoing evangelization and the immigration of Orthodox Arabs from the Middle East.
The Archdiocese Today
Its current primate is Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), who has six other diocesan bishops assisting him in caring for the nine dioceses of the growing Archdiocese, which is the third largest Orthodox Christian jurisdiction in North America, having about 250 parishes and missions and approximately 500,000 faithful. It also includes the Western Rite Vicariate, a group of about 20 parishes who follow the Western Rite.
On October 9, 2003 the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch granted the Archdiocese's request to be granted self-rule (as distinct from autonomy, though the words have the same literal meaning) to allow it to better govern itself, improve and increase its outreach efforts, internally organize itself into several dioceses, and progress further on the road to the administrative unity of the Orthodox Church in the Americas.
The Archdiocese also includes one monastic community, St. Paul Skete (Grand Junction, Tennessee), a community for women.
The Antiochian Archdiocese is also a member of SCOBA.
- Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) of New York and Washington, D.C. (Locum Tenens of the Diocese of New England)
- Bishop Antoun (Khouri) of Miami and the Southeast
- Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita and Mid-America
- Bishop Joseph (Al-Zehlaoui) of Los Angeles and the West (Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Eagle River, Alaska)
- Bishop Thomas (Joseph) of Pittsburgh and the East
- Bishop Mark (Maymon) of Toledo and the Midwest
- Bishop Alexander (Mufarrij) of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York
Former hierarchs of the Archdiocese:
- Metropolitan Antony (Bashir) of New York (1936-1966), deceased
- Archbishop Michael (Shaheen) of Toledo (1958-1975), deceased
- Bishop Demetri (Khoury), auxiliary bishop for Toledo, retired