Antiochian Women Celebrate Their 35th Anniversary


by Cindy Nimey

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, consisting of seven Dioceses, is proud to be celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary since its founding by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP in 1973. The purposes of the organization:


  1. To develop among women through the Antiochian Archdiocese a spirit of Christian leadership, awareness and commitment as taught in the Holy Orthodox Church;
  2. To foster among women throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese a genuine expression of love and service through works of charity;
  3. To instill among women throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese and the community at large a sense of fellowship and a deeper understanding of the heritage and traditions of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Orthodox Church.

The first president of the Antiochian Women of North America, Pauline Maloof, (1974-1976), was appointed by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP. Pauline was instrumental in developing the constitution and by-laws that are presently being used with some minor updates and changes. She set an example of fine leadership and commitment to our Holy Orthodox Church for the next fifteen presidents to follow. Many thanks to all of the past presidents, who have served unselfishly and provided dynamic leadership to guide the Antiochian Women for the past thirty-five years.

Elsie Kaleel (Memory Eternal) 1976-1978
Gladys Laham 1978-1980
Esther Samara 1980-1983
Mary Dibs 1983-1985
Nadia Habib Zed 1985-1987
Isabel Elac 1987-1989
Elinor Bourjaily (Memory Eternal) 1989-1991
Laraine Mahshie 1991-1993
Marlene Mamary 1993-1995
Elinor Kinan 1995-1997
Joanne Abdalah 1997-1999
Susu Morrow (Memory Eternal) 1999-2001
Marilyn Robbat 2001-2003
Laila Ferris 2003-2007

The charitable works of the Antiochian Women have touched the lives of many people around the world through the many projects that have been entrusted to them by His Eminence. Over two million dollars have been distributed since the founding of this organization thirty-five years ago. The first project was Pastoral Education in 1975, followed by projects benefitting Balamand University; Missions; Antiochian Village, camp expansion, dining hall; Pastoral Education; Married Seminarians; St. George Hospital, Lebanon; IOCC; Orphanages around the world, and currently the Retired Clergy and Widowed Clergy Wives housing allowance. Another yearly tradition is the Antiochian Women Scholarships; every year scholarships are given to as many as seven applicants, aged twenty-five years and older, who have returned to the world of academia in order to better their future and consequently better their communities. We are also honored to be able to give our seminarians a gift of five hundred dollars during the Nativity season as an expression of our love for all they are sacrificing.

The Antiochian Women meet twice a year on the Archdiocesan level, to foster unity and strengthen the fellowship among the women from each diocese. The time spent together is one of education, sharing and great spiritual growth. Through these meetings, we continue to pass on the living traditions and heritage of this blessed sisterhood.

As March is Antiochian Women’s month, let us remember and honor all of the women who serve in their ministry in the life of the Church, most especially our most Holy and all Virgin Theotokos, the Mother of God. As She said “yes” to the Archangel Gabriel and showed obedience, we try to follow Her example. We pattern our lives after Her by saying “yes” to God each day in our duties. We gear our activities to the Church and our God, to be pleasing in His sight; to be humble as the Theotokos was humble toward God, so we as Antiochian Women strive to be obedient to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We ask that you support your local women’s group as they serve your parish and your communities as handmaidens of the Lord. We thank God for allowing us to work in His vineyard and strive to make the next thirty-five years as productive as the past thirty-five years have been, remembering, “The most important thing is to have our hearts directed and attuned to Thee.” Many thanks to Metropolitan PHILIP for his confidence that we would fulfill the vision he had for us, when he founded the Antiochian Women in 1973. Many Years, Master!

Courtesy of the

issue of The Word magazine.

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