About St. Mary Parish
WELCOME TO SAINT MARY ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
ST. MARY ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
St. Mary is a parish of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic.
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church is located in the Wyoming Valley among the beautiful Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania. St. Mary is one of the oldest Antiochian Orthodox parishes in America, founded by Saint Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn, in 1904. It is sixth in his list of parishes. Its first pastor, Father Michael Saba, began his work in March 1904, the same month St. Raphael was consecrated Bishop of Brooklyn.
We Orthodox Christians of St. Mary’s trace our roots trace directly back to first century Antioch, the city in which the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26) to the original Church established by Saints Peter and Paul. The Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian group in the world. It is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ and his Twelve Apostles to which all the Churches of East and West belonged until the Roman Church, the Patriarchate of the West, broke off communion in the mid-eleventh century from the four Patriarchs of the East who remained faithful to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As Orthodox we are called by God our creator to worship and follow Him, and to proclaim to the world His message of love, peace, salvation and Theosis.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARISH FAMILY
At the present time St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church has some 250 parishioners, and the parish is noted for the active involvement of its people. The parish has an active Parish Council, Church Sunday School and Teen SOYO group, Women’s Group—the Ladies of St. Mary’s, Senior Citizens Group—Father Nahas Senior Citizens, and the Fellowship Group. All of these organizations work for the growth and welfare of the parish. By their commitment the parish of St. Mary continues to grow and prosper in its Orthodox faith. There are 21 members of the Order of St. Ignatius who come from St. Mary Orthodox Church. These members are involved in all activities of the parish. They see the Order as an opportunity to serve the needs of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
A WELCOMING COMMUNITY
Of the parishioners about two-thirds are Arab-Americans from Syrian and Lebanese families. The other third of the parishioners are from a great mix of ethnic backgrounds. The parish is noted for its hospitality to all who come to it. The language used for worship is English, with some parts of the Liturgy occasionally sung in Arabic. The Parish hosts some of the Antiochian Seminarians who attend St. Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, who come to St. Mary’s for part of their Antiochian Orthodox Pastoral training.
The Parishioners of St. Mary Parish welcome you and are pleased you have visited our Parish Web Page. We hope you will decide to visit our Parish and worship Almighty God with our Parish Family. Our Worship goes back to the first century and has grown over the succeeding centuries in the form that we serve at every Divine Liturgy. It is the worship of heaven brought to earth. We encourage you to learn about our Orthodox Faith and Worship, and our Antiochian Orthodox Parish, if you are not yet Orthodox. We are ready to answer any questions you have about Orthodoxy. It is our hope that through visiting our web page you will come to share in the life of Saint Mary’s, and some day will come to visit us and worship with us in our Church Temple dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the Theotokos.
Among the clergy there is the Pastor, the Archpriest George Alberts, and three Subdeacons, William Obeid, Norman Namey and John Moses. We are also blessed to have with us as Pastor Emeritus the Archpriest David Hester who retired in 2017.
Parish Office: 570-824-5016; Parish Hall: 570-824-1674.
ABOUT THE AREA
Located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, St. Mary’s is found in the Wyoming Valley in northeast Pennsylvania. Surrounded by mountains, the area has a natural beauty that reflects the beauty of God’s creation. The area has a large tourist industry, with winter ski resorts and summer water resorts, and area shopping centers and outlets. The area hosts multiple entertainment opportunities and theaters for everyone’s interests. The hospitality industry is served by many hotels and restaurants., including a wide variety of ethnic eateries. In the immediate area there are over a dozen different Orthodox parishes, and an hour north is the oldest Orthodox Monastery in America, St. Tikhon Monastery, where the Orthodox Seminary of St. Tikhon is also found. The area is noted for many beautiful housing communities, particularly in the mountains, but even with this attractive setting the area has reasonably priced housing, which in recent years has attracted many people to move to the area from New Jersey and New York. This is especially true because of the several interstates which quickly join the area to New York City and Philadelphia, both within two hours, as well as other surrounding cities.
Wilkes-Barre is also a town with two colleges in the city and several others both private and public in the surrounding areas. For people who are able to work at home, it is a particularly attractive area because of all the beauty and amenities.