Who We Are
Our mission is to draw close to the Holy Trinity in worship and love, to “put on Christ” (Gal 2:27), and in Him to be “the light of the world” (Matt 5:14).
Here at St. Benedict parish, we believe that God comes first in our lives. We gather as a family to worship God with fervor and joy, and to open our hearts to Him, so that He may sanctify and transform us into His likeness. Our family is full of joy, gratitude, and love for one another.
It's important to us to preserve intact the traditions passed down by the Apostles and preserved throughout the history of Christianity ("Brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which were taught, whether by word-of-mouth or by letter from us" ~ II Thessalonians 2:15). The Orthodox Church was around before the Bible was established or any denominations, and has since maintained its faith unbroken. It is through these apostolic traditions that we can best share a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and accomplish His work.
In the Book of Acts we read that "in Antioch they were first called Christians" (11:26). The Orthodox Church has maintained an unbroken communion with these Christians of the first century, preserving the liturgies and doctrines handed down to us.
St. Benedict's is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. In the Book of Acts we read, “in Antioch they were first called Christians” (11:26). The Orthodox Church has maintained an unbroken communion with these Christians of the first century, preserving the liturgies and doctrines handed down to us.
Our parish is part of the Western Rite Vicariate under the authority of our Bishop, His Grace, the Right Reverend John Abdalah. The Vicariate is a collection of parishes and missions within the Archdiocese which worship in the ancient Western [or Latin] Rite. The majority of our members are converts to the Holy Orthodox Church.
Our spiritual head in this country is His Eminence, the Most Reverend Joseph, who is Metropolitan Archbishop of North America. The Archdiocese is also part of the larger body of Orthodox churches under the authority of the Most Reverend Patriarch John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.
The Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian body in the world. Dating back to the first century, we hold unbroken continuity of faith and institution with the Apostles of Jesus Christ. There are some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, with around three million living in North America.
The Orthodox Church is often called by names relating to countries or cities, such as Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox, etc. These appellations refer to what we call ‘jurisdiction.’ The Church is usually referred to by the name of the country in which it resides. There is no official ‘American Orthodox Church’ in the United States, yet, so the churches are called by their old world names and considered missionary extensions of the original jurisdictions. For example, the Greek Orthodox Church sent priests and missionaries to establish the Faith and minister to their people in this country. The parishes formed by those individuals are under the authority of the Greek Orthodox Church. The same is true of the Antiochian Church and the other jurisdictions, yet these are not different churches; they are all part of the one Orthodox Church.
The Orthodox Church of Antioch has a long and famous history. It is first mentioned in the Book of Acts in the Bible. It is here that St. Peter was first bishop, before becoming bishop of Rome. He pastored the Church at Antioch for eight years [45-53 A.D.]. It was in the Church at Antioch that the name ‘Christians’ was first applied to followers of Jesus Christ [Acts 11:26]. The See (the bishop’s realm of authority) of Antioch was one of the original five Patriarchal Sees mentioned in the Ecumenical Councils [325-787 A.D.]. The Bishop of Antioch presided over the first two councils of the undivided Church [325 and 381 A.D.]. At one point in time, all the churches in Palestine [Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon] and Persia [Iran, Iraq], were under the authority of the Patriarchate of Antioch. There has been a Church and a bishop in Antioch for two thousand years, which have held the same Orthodox Faith.