Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church
Metropolis and Chancery
7815 Akron Canfield Road
Canfield, OH 44406
The Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church was established in May of 1892 as the American Orthodox Catholic Archdiocese of America, and was canonized by His Holiness Ignatius Peter III, Patriarch of Antioch. It was this same Patriarch that issued the Bull for the consecration of its first Archbishop Metropolitan, Timotheos Vilathi, as Patriarch Ignatius later named him. The Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church is an Eastern Rite jurisdiction but its Liturgy of St Gregory is one of the Byzantinized forms. It has elements from both the Byzantine and Occidental traditions. In August of 2008 the Synod of Bishops voted unanimopusly to return to the original mandate of the Archdiocese to be an American Orthodox Archdiocese using a Western Liturgy. Since 1892, the Liturgy went through some changes from time-to-time, i.e., Western Rite to Byzantine Rite, to the current Syriac-Greek Antiochene Rite. The current Liturgy used is in English or the vernacular except for a few hymns and chants in Greek. The Liturgy is a successful blend of East and West. However, the faith taught by the Church is one with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Orthodox Faith. The Synod of Bishops is referred to as the "Syriac-Greek Antiochian Synod of Bishops." First parishes of this jurisdiction were established in Wisconsin among Belgians, Italians, Slavs, and other ethnic groups. After Archbishop Timotheos' consecration, parishes were later formed in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and New York, and some missionary work begun in Canada. Today parishes exist throughout the United States and several foreign countries.
After much disagreement with the Syriac Patriarchate concerning administration, especially in the appointing of bishops, and the Christology issue, i.e., Christ's two Natures that surfaced at the Council of Chalcedon, Archbishop Timotheos separated from the Patriarchate. A Consistory was convened on January 1, 1910 concerning the future of the Archdiocese of America. The Bishops agreed upon and decided that, "Our reality as a branch, a part of the true Catholic and Orthodox Church of God, is not dependent upon the recognition of any ecclesiastical authority outside the Councils of our own American Ecclesiastical Consistory and National Synod of Bishops and Clergy. "Archbishop Timotheos believed strongly in the truths of the Council of Chalcedon and all the Ecumenical Councils, and the right of the American Church to name its own bishops, and from then on the Church was known as Autocephalous and severed from the Patriarchate of Antioch. However, after this time several schisms occurred that gave way to some heretical and newly established "churches" that caused the Church to eventually be renamed "Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic." In 1960, the Greek Apostolic Succession of Antioch was added to the Church when Bishop Joseph John Skureth was elevated to Archbishop. This was done at St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Cathedral in New York New York. It was presided over by Archbishop Konstantin (Nikolaevich Wendland) and assisted by Bishop Dositheus (Ivanchenko). His Holiness Patriarch Aleksij of the Russian Orthodox Church, consecrated Archbishop Konstantin in 1958. Although this was done through the Russian Orthodox Church, the Apostolic Succession of Archbishop Konstantin is traced back to His Holiness Gregorios (Haddad) IV, Greek Patriarch of Antioch through Patriarch Aleksij."
In 1980, after the retirement for health reasons of Archbishop John, Archbishop Joseph of Blessed Memory became the newly enthroned Metropolitan Primate of the Church. He possessed Apostolic Succession from both the Syrian and Greek Antiochian Orthodox Churches later giving the Synod the name Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church. In 1987, before the death of Metropolitan Joseph, a meeting was held at St. Paul's Monastery in LaPorte, Indiana and Very Right Reverend Archimandrite Stephen (Thomas) was canonically and duly elected the new Metropolitan Primate. He was consecrated Bishop on October 18th, 1987, by Metropolitan Joseph assisted by Archbishop George of Chicago (IL) and Bishop Norman of Central Indiana at St. Mary's Chapel, LaPorte, Indiana. In the following year Bishop Stephen was enthroned as V Metropolitan Primate. Metropolitan Archbishop Stephen has caused the Church to grow throughout the world. In 1994-96, he endured many sufferings in Colorado as the result of some clergy who went astray and who took part in a conspiracy to ruin the name of the Archbishop and the Church for their own gain. These clergy were since deposed from their faculties and offices. An Old Catholic group in Canada quickly made some of the deposed men, which were not yet ordained deacons or priests, and without having completed seminary studies, instant priests. Some of these, within days, were made bishops, and most left this Old Catholic group to create their own groups. Since that time, the Church has experienced peace, growth, and new viability except in 2010 some other deposed clergy once again tried to damage the good image of the Church using an attentive reporter to join in their smear tactics.
There are two monastic orders, The Community of Saint Basil, which is open to men, and the Sisters of St Basil which is open to women, and both are currently headquartered in Canfield Ohio. The Metropolis and Chancery Center is located in Canfield Ohio at St Sophia Moanstery Inn. The Church has 1 monastery and 4 convents: St Sophia Moanstery, Canfield Ohio; St Mary Mother of God Convent, Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa; Holy Archangels Convent, Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa; St Anne Convent, Lagos Nigeria; and St Barbara Convent, London England.
At the Synod of Bishops meeting in 2008, it was decided to amend the name of the Church from Syro-Russian Orthodox Catholic Church to Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church. This was done to better describe the Church and the sources of its Apostolic Succession, i.e., the Syriac and Greek Patriarchates of Antioch. The original source comes from the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. The Synod of Bishops currently consists of His Beatitude Metropolitan Stephen, His Eminence Archbishop Timothy, His Grace Bishop John (India), His Grace Bishop Joshua (North Carolina), Bishop-elect Samson (Tanzania), and Right Reverend Chorbishop Haralambos (Alaska). His Grace Bishop Andreas, who has been separated from the Metropolis for over five years has petitioned to be accepted back into the canonicity of the Church. Missions and parishes exist in Canada, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the (African) Congo, Cameroon, India, Kenya Africa, Nigeria Africa, Pakistan, Tanzania Africa, Uganda Africa, Zimbabwe, and the United States.