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Antiochian Heritage Foundation News

Reflections on the Holy Priesthood

Economos Antony GabrielEconomos Antony GabrielEconomos Antony Gabriel is Chairman of the Antiochian Heritage Foundation and is recently retired from St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Montreal, Quebec and McGill University, and has authored numerous articles in The Word magazine and elsewhere.

I.  A Brief Reflection on 54 Years in the Holy Priesthood

Today, it is coincidently the 50th Anniversary of the Repose of our late Metropolitan ANTONY.

While it is a long time ago, the event is like yesterday. I remember kneeling before the altar as His Eminence was about to ordain me a Deacon, and before he did, he whispered: "What name did you choose, since Kenneth is not a saints name?" I whispered back: Elias, the name of our parish. When he began the prayers of elevation, he loudly exclaimed Antony as he banged me on my head with his heavy hands. Read more...

II.  My Days at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary

As I stand back, lo these many years, there are incidents that are embedded in our hearts and minds, especially of my time at St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary. 

Honor Wall Project: Update From Economos Antony Gabriel

September 1, 2017

Dear Beloved in Christ,

I listened carefully to Metropolitan Joseph's State of the Archdiocese message at the recent Archdiocesan bi-annual Convention in which he cited the work of his predecessors, Metropolitan's Antony and Philip, citing also the mission of St. Raphael, the first bishop consecrated on American soil and the first bishop to serve the spiritual needs of the Antiochians in North America. Sayidna quite poignantly noted that he is building on the great work of those who came before him and God has appointed him to save "souls" as his most important ministry as the Chief Shepherd of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. This indeed is an awesome task in the context of the secularism of our society. All our prayers are with His Eminence as he presses forward with the Staff entrusted to him by His Beatitude, John X, guiding the spiritual ship of the Archdiocese, in the model of St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians.

With the guiding principles of His Eminence, building on the sacred work of all those who came before, It is of utmost importance that we not forget our forefathers in the faith who layer the foundation of Antiochian Orthodoxy on New shores. During the years that I conducted the research for the book: Ancient Church on New Shores: Antioch in North America, I discovered so many heroes who served the faithful regardless of the vicissitudes of language, climate, material resources and dislocation from their native lands. Many came seeking a better life and because of their love, faith and knowledge of the liturgical services, were ordained to minister in the emerging Church in North America. Saint Raphael utilized all the resources available to him at the time as he crisscrossed the Continent seeking the " lost sheep of Antioch." Just think for a few minutes how arduous was his task, and how easy it is for us with the social media to maintain contact with our friends from all over the globe, let alone here in North America.

Lest We Forget: Economos Antony Gabriel Introduces The Honor Wall

An Open Letter to the Archdiocese
By Economos Antony Gabriel

To The Archdiocese Board of Trustees, Pastors , Parish Council Members and Faithful of our God Protected Archdiocese:


May you be blessed during this Season of Pascha and Pentecost.

I am appealing to you through the vehicle of The Word magazine, to raise your awareness of one of an important projects of the Foundation: An Honor Wall is to be placed in the Antiochian Village Heritage Center commemorating the blessed hierarchs, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and faithful clergy since the inception of the Antiochian Church in North America. Having authored Ancient Church on New Shores: Antioch in North America, it was a blessing to study the lives of the pioneers, commencing with St. Raphael and so many others who literally gave their lives together with their wives to plant the seeds of Antiochian Orthodoxy on this continent.

An Open Letter from the Heritage Foundation Chairman, Economos Antony Gabriel

Dear fellow Antiochian,

Saint John Chrysostom once exclaimed: Glory to Thee, O God, For all things!

"Lest, we forget."

Yes, we give thanks to Almighty God for all of our beloved pioneers who knitted the fabric of our God Protected Archdiocese.

Throughout the years we have witnessed greatness in some of the most simple moments as well as clergy. It is almost unimaginable today how the early clergymen carved out their lives with some of the most difficult of circumstances, both financially as well as spiritually. From the earliest days in North America, our clergy, their wives and families played a pivotal role in the development and maturation of the Antiochian Church on New Shores. They have inspired us by their strenuous sacrifices and their sweet liturgical services which formed us and to this day, and their wisdom enlightened our paths towards the priesthood.

A Pascha of Love: Celebrating the Ministry of Economos Antony Gabriel

Although the date for the retirement of Economos Antony Gabriel and his last day of service at St. George Orthodox Church in Montreal, Quebec, was set for July 19, the celebration of the Paschal love began since the first minute of the announcement, even though it did not cease all the years of his ministry at our parish.

The announcement raised the congregation to a mystical celebration; private calls, events, lunches and dinners, but the most important was the celebration of Fr. Antony’s 75th Birthday. A private dinner was organized by the Parish Council headed by Ms. Diane Nemer and was held at 40 Westt in Pointe-Claire, Montreal. The attendees who were honored and blessed by the presence of His Grace Bishop Alexander and the Rev. Mark Wyatt of our sister parish St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, felt the ambiance of the peace from above; a peace of spirit and mind, tenderness, and grace, mutual love and respect. Joyful laughter mixed with sadness and tears were in the hearts of the attendees and filled their conversations.

Economos Antony Gabriel of Montreal Retires After 54 Years of Parish Ministry

Fr. Antony receives a medal from Queen Elizabeth IIFr. Antony receives a medal from Queen Elizabeth IIEconomos Antony Gabriel, longtime pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Montreal, Quebec, has retired after nearly 54 years of priestly ministry in the Antiochian Archdiocese. In Fr. Antony's farewell address to St. George's Annual General Meeting on Tuesday June 16, 2015, he thanked the many dedicated people who worked alongside him to create a cohesive community in the heart of this vibrant Canadian city. "I may have led the parade, but you were the the life of St. George," he said gratefully.

In September of 2012, Fr. Antony was honored for his dedication and commitment, when His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presided over a weekend of festivities hosted by St. George in commemoration of Father's 50 years of holy priesthood. Although Fr. Antony is retiring from active parish ministry, he will continue to serve as Chairman of the Antiochian Heritage Foundation.


Unity in Antioch

This past June 25 to the 28th, 2014, the North American Archdiocese participated in a conference at the Balamand University entitled: UNITY IN ANTIOCH. On Sunday, June 29th, the conference culminated with a massive Hierarchal Liturgy under a large tent celebrating the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, the Patrons of our Patriarchate.

This worldwide Conference of Antiochians was called by His Beatitude John X to bring together Antiochians to engage in dialogue, exchange ideas, and to unite the Family of Faith. Consistent with the theme "Unity in Antioch," His Beatitude invited all the Patriarchs of Antioch and All the East: the Melkite, Syriac Orthodox, the Maronite and the Syriac Catholic. Each spoke about the need for unity among the Christians of the Middle East, especially in view of the tumult in their region, and as well as the command of Jesus. This was certainly a gracious act on the part of His Beatitude, and most likely the first such event! They also met before the Holy Synod, demonstrating their desire to pursue unity.

In the Synod itself there were interesting presentations, each called an “Axis,” which dealt with the following themes:

Economos Antony Gabriel Attends Antiochian Unity Conference at Balamand

Economos Antony Gabriel and Mr. Khalil Kardous attended the historic Antiochian Unity Conference held at beautiful Balamand, Lebanon, from June 23-30, 2014, to represent the Antiochian Heritage Foundation. The V. Rev. Fr. Gabriel met with His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East at his Balamand residence, representing North American Archdiocese clergy with V. Rev. Fr. Thomas Zain, Vicar General, and V. Rev. Fr. Timothy Ferguson, Protosyngellos (pictured). 

Spotlight: The Ancient Church on New Shores

The Ancient Church on New Shores: Antioch in North America, authored by Economos Antony Gabriel, is a comprehensive history of the Antiochian Archdiocese that emphasizes the virtues of perseverance, struggle, and determination. The book, presented to the Archdiocese by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory and offered by the Department of Publications, is a lucid recounting that relates the struggles of the Antiochian Archdiocese's founders in North America to the strivings of Saints Peter and Paul, the founders of the Holy See of Antioch.

Read a book review of The Ancient Church by the V. Rev. Timothy Ferguson.

Download The Ancient Church on New Shores flyer

Letter from Economos Antony Gabriel to Pope Francis

Recently, Economos Antony Francis Gabriel of the Antiochian Heritage Foundation of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North American wrote a letter to His Holiness Pope Francis, expressing his appreciation for his leadership and ministry:

October 11th, 2013

His Holiness Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

"Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord"

Your Holiness,

Ever since you stepped out on the balcony after your election, I knew you were going to be someone different. So far your actions and your words has validated my initial perception. You indeed are an extraordinary human being.

You've met with our Patriarch, His Beatitude John X, and my dear friend Archbishop Silouan (Musi) from Argentina. His Eminence spoke lovingly about your relationship with him and it warmed my heart quite deeply.

Your comments on the Orthodox Liturgy, your admonition to the Bishops, that they are not "Princes", your acceptance of those of a different orientation, your little car, your shoes, your cross, your living quarters... should I go on? All indicate a man of God whose first love is that not only of our Blessed Lord but of his children, who are in His image. You understand in the depth the common humanity that we all share and even the fact that you proclaimed that you are a sinner, sheds light on the luminosity of your person. Shedding the trappings of your high office, you descend charismatically to touch by grace "even the least of these my brethrens."

As a priest of over 50 years, you have touched my heart deeply as the Bishop of Rome. Since the inauguration of your Archpastoral ministry until this moment, it is evident that you see the urgent need of reformation of archaic rules, regulations and laws. How refreshing to see this coming from the Bishop of Rome.

"Person of the Year" Event, St. George Cathedral, Wichita, KS

"Preserve the past to protect the present so that we can build the future"

The Antiochian Heritage Foundation honored Dr. George J. Farha as the Foundation's “Person of the Year” on Tuesday July 30th, 2013. Following the convention in Houston, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip travelled to Wichita to attend the event; following the celebration of Vespers on Tuesday evening, he presented Dr. George J. Farha the specially designed “Person of the Year” plaque signed by our Primate and Economos Antony Gabriel.

Well over 350 people attended the dinner in honor of Dr. Farha. Archpriest Father Paul O’Callaghan was the Master of Ceremony. Economos Antony Gabriel made a presentation on the Antiochian Heritage Foundation as well as giving remarks about Dr. George Farha. Brenda Farha gave her personal expression of gratitude for this honor. She is certainly a gracious woman.

"Man of the Year" Award Presented to Dr. George J. Farha

The Dr. George J. Farha FamilyThe Dr. George J. Farha FamilyOn Tuesday, July 30, 2013, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presented Dr. George J. Farha with the Antiochian Heritage Foundation’s 2013 “Man of the Year” award.

Born in Merj-Auon, Lebanon, Dr. Farha immigrated to the United States to pursue his baccalaureate degree at West Virginia University, and his doctorate of medicine degree at Tulane University Medical School. After graduating medical school, Dr. Farha came to Wichita where he met his wife Brenda.  Since beginning practice in Wichita, he has always brought Christ into his practice by taking care of the patient first and treating all patients with the best care possible.

Helen Thomas Receives Antonian Gold Medal

On Friday October 12th, 2012, the Antiochian Heritage Foundation hosted its first annual Person of the Year Award Banquet. The purpose of the gathering was to honor renowned journalist Helen Thomas by bestowing on her the Antonian Gold Medal, the highest honor of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. The event took place at Kogok Hall in Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Potomac, Maryland. The following is an account of the evening given by committee member Tammy Ilyas Alvarez:

It was an event to remember for both the honoree, Journalist Helen Thomas, and the many faithful friends, admirers and family members who were there as a testament to this most deserving member of our community. Many present had traveled great distances including from overseas to participate in the tribute. Among the many attendees present were distinguished VIP’S from the White House and the State Department, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps and visiting clergy.

The electrifying evening was both emotional and exciting. More than 300 guests greeted Helen as she maneuvered her way through the crowd of well wishers gathered to congratulate her on receiving an honor, which has only been bestowed on a very select, deserving few.

The Very Reverend Father George Rados, Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul gave the invocation. Throughout the evening, a professionally produced video gave us a glimpse of the life and work of the famous Helen Thomas. The speakers paid tribute to Helen Thomas and her remarkable accomplishments as a pacesetter for women during an era when women’s qualifications and talents were not recognized as equal to those of their male counterparts. Helen defied the odds without allowing adversity to stand in her way.

Economos Antony Gabriel Celebrates 50 Years in the Holy Priesthood

By Fr. Michael Shaheen 

On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the community of St. George Antiochian Church of Montreal, Quebec, hosted a celebration of 50 years of holy priesthood for their pastor, Economos Antony Gabriel. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presided over an entire weekend of festivities which culminated in the banquet held at Le Westin in Montreal on Saturday evening.

The weekend began with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip’s arrival to the Montreal airport on Friday, September 14, 2012. Joining His Eminence were His Grace Bishop Antoun, His Grace Bishop Nicholas, and Archdeacon Hans Elhayek. His Grace Bishop Alexander and the priests of Montreal and Ottawa greeted the bishops upon their arrival in a special VIP room at the airport. After we sat, relaxed and enjoyed good conversation with our beloved bishops, the hierarchs were taken to the Westin Hotel via limousine, where they would stay while in Montreal.

Banquet in Honor of Journalist Helen Thomas + Potomac, MD

Download event brochure (PDF)

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has bestowed the Antonian Gold Medal upon renowned journalist Helen Thomas. For the occasion, a banquet will be held in her honor at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church Hall in Potomac, Maryland on Friday, October 12, 2012. The event will commence with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30.

The evening will feature an invocation by Very Rev. Fr. George Rados of Ss. Peter and Paul, an introduction by Economos Antony Gabriel of St. George, Montreal; remarks by friends of Helen Thomas; the presentation of the Award; and a benediction by Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Rahal of St. George, Washington D.C. Other special guests will include Ambassador Ted Kattouf, Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, Hon. George Salem, Warren David (President of ADC), and former White House Interpreter Camille Nowfel.

Proceeds from the dinner will go to the Antiochian Heritage Foundation in Helen Thomas' honor. For reservations please contact either the Law Offices of Albert Mokhiber at 703-391-9898; or Mona at Ss. Peter and Paul Church at 301-765-9188.

Antiochian Heritage Foundation Launches Project in Naples, FL

Start Spreading the News — Exciting Project Is Launched in Naples

In Naples, Florida on February 17 and 18, the Department of Planning and Development met to continue discussions regarding the mission and goals of the Department. It was suggested and discussed that in order for us to adequately define whom we are, which is to save our history, the history of our Archdiocese, we would rename our organization. Thus, with the blessing of His Eminence PHILIP Saliba, we changed the name of the Department to the Antiochian Heritage Foundation. It was unanimously agreed that the name would best identify and describe us and what we are setting out to accomplish: to preserve our heritage.

Our Mission Statement is:

“The mission of Antiochian Heritage Foundation is to preserve the Antiochian heritage, which is to be passed on to future generations, by supporting our Hierarchs, Clergy, Churches and our programs, by encouraging the spiritual and financial commitment by the faithful.”

Our Goals are:

  1. Assist in the development and building of major and vital projects needed at the Antiochian Village
  2. Assist in securing a viable retirement fund for our Clergy.
  3. Assist in educating, motivating and inspiring our churches and their flock to develop programs and support existing programs which benefit and will benefit our Parishes and our Archdiocese.

Also, we intend to actively and immediately begin a search to contact the descendants/families of our deceased priests in order to honor them. Along with the Antiochian Orthodox Communities, we seek to achieve this aggressive, exciting effort which will ensure that their memories in this Archdiocese will never be forgotten. Please help us…

Preserving the Future of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Legacy of Metropolitan Philip

The Archdiocese has another department?
How much does it cost?
What is it for?
What’s in it for me?

Even before these questions, maybe you asked, “Why do we need an Archdiocese? Our church is doing just fine on its own.” This is the very reason and purpose for this Department – to “re-energize” the Laity of our Archdiocese regarding the Hierarchal nature of our faith and its relevance to our future viability in this country.

V. Reverend Economos Antony Gabriel, Chair of the Department offers the following:

“What is so unique about the Antiochian Archdiocese is that it was established by the Laity. In 1885 St. Raphael came to the United States, consecrated in 1904 in Brooklyn, and then proceeded to establish 30 parishes. He died young as did other Bishops that succeeded him. Metropolitan Philip is the longest serving Bishop in the history of the Archdiocese. The legacy of this Archdiocese will be that we have embraced the spirit of going forward; standing still is death. We must continue to do everything in our power which comes from God to continue our forward progress not for our own glory or the glory of the Metropolitan, but for the glory of God and in honor of our founders who came to this country penniless. When Metropolitan Anthony died in 1966 the Archdiocese consisted of 66 parishes. Now we have 265 parishes. If the Church is not a missionary Church then it is dead. The ministry of the Laity is more important than that of the Priests. The Priests are confined to the parish, but the Laity has the whole world as its parish.”

On October 6, 2011 members of the Department of Planning and Development met with Metropolitan Philip at the Archdiocese to discuss the strategy behind the Department’s exciting plans to re-energize the visions and legacy of the Metropolitan Philip and our God-protected Archdiocese.

Support the Antiochian Village through the Department of Planning

“…And we may know the depth of the valley only when we look at it from the peak of the mountain.”

-Metropolitan Philip Saliba

Currently the Department of Planning and Development is focusing on the Holy Mountain of the Antiochian Village. Examples of projects in need of support at the Village include an infirmary, the Convent of St. Thekla, the Cultural Center, church expansion, an arts and crafts building and sponsorship for needy children and college students.

We are striving to accomplish the dreams of Metropolitan Philip and his visions of the growing needs of our North American Archdiocese.  More than ever, we need to build and protect our future, to ensure our children’s ability to express their faith and live a spiritual life.

This informational pamphlet will give you an insight in the work we are trying to accomplish.  You may email us directly at to receive our personalized package or you may choose to print and fill out the Donor Card and mail it directly with your donation to the address indicated.

Through your participation and generosity, we will go forth, build and be strong for all generations to come. 

“To those who much has been given, much is required.”  Luke 12:48

Department of Planning and Development Meets at Archdiocese Headquarters

On October 28th the Department of Planning and Development met under the guidance of Metropolitan Philip and Economos Antony Gabriel in order to map out the future strategies. Metropolitan Philip opened the meeting with remarks regarding the spiritual value of money in context of the Scripture and the up building of God’s Holy Church. Those who were in attendance came from all over the country. Present were: Kh. Lynn Gabriel, Stephen Adams, Peter Dacales, Khalil Kardous, Michael Karolle, Sameh Khouzam, Paul Mokhiber, Philip Saliba and Archdeacon Emile Sayegh. Unable to attend were David Ghiz, Robert Laham, Albert Mokhiber and Justin Sayfie.

The following subjects were addressed:

  • Grants and Foundations for the Village
  • Future Trusts to perpetuate the financial stability of the Archdiocese.
  • Outreach out to former Antiochian Village Campers
  • Set up a fundraiser (Person of the Year) to benefit the Village

Why do we have the Department of Planning and Development?... for the simple reason to spread the word of the “one, holy and apostolic church”. In this present day society it takes prayer, faith and monetary resources to spread the work of the church. The rich and the poor together can join hands to expand the vision of the church which has been handed down to us from those who were “first called Christians in Antioch”. We do not want to hand down to our children a dusty museum piece but rather the dynamic and life transforming faith. The reality is that it takes us, our talents and our monetary resources to make this happen, that is, a vision for the future.