Geneva, New York
Patriarch JOHN X
Patriarch JOHN X
Patriarch JOHN X
Authority & Structure
His Beatitude JOHN X [the tenth]
His Beatitude JOHN X [the tenth]
His Beatitude JOHN X [the tenth]
Enthronement of Patriarch JOHN X: 02/10/2013
Enthronement of Patriarch JOHN X: 02/10/2013
Enthronement of Patriarch JOHN X: 02/10/2013


Founded by the Holy Apostles Ss Peter & Paul

The most famous scriptural reference concerning Antioch relates that it was in this city that the followers of Christ were first referred to as "Christians" (Acts 11:26 -- "...and the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch."). In the Book of Acts, which offers an account of the first years of the Church, we discover that Antioch is the second most frequently mentioned city. Nicholas, one of the original seven deacons was a convert from Antioch and perhaps the first Christian from that city (Acts 6:5). During the persecution of the disciples, which ruthlessly began with the murder of Saint Stephen the First Martyr, members of the fledgling Christian community in Jerusalem fled to Antioch and other major cities of the Empire, seeking refuge in the long-established Jewish communities.

The records that we have of the founding of the Church in the city of Antioch reach back and corroborate the events recorded in the New Testament (in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the epistles of St. Paul).   Our history shows that the followers of our Lord Jesus Christ in Antioch were gathered together and organized by Saint Peter the Apostle in ~34 A.D.   {see the "timeline" section for detailed chronology}  Shortly thereafter, Peter was joined by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas (one of "the 70"), who added to the number of converts to the Faith by preaching to both Gentiles and to Jews in this bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis.  

It was in Antioch that one of the first conflicts within the Church developed over how the followers of Jesus Christ could maintain continuity with the Jewish traditions (of which our Lord said He was not overthrowing, but fulfilling and perfecting), while also being faithful to the "new covenant" which was established by God in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord.  This conflict coalesced around the question of whether the new Gentile converts would be required to undergo the Mosaic rite of circumcision (Galatians 2:ff); it also, more broadly, brought into question the requirement of all of the Believers (both Jewish and Gentiles who had been baptized into Christ) being required to adhere to all of the Mosaic Laws.  

It was the resolution of this conflict at the Council of Jerusalem (in ~49AD), which was presided over by Saint James the Just (the step-brother of the Lord and leader of the Church in Jerusalem), that determined the direction of the Antiochian mission to the Gentiles.   Paul's teaching was confirmed by the Council -- his teaching was that the New Covenant, which God made effective in the blood-sacrifice of Jesus, brought freedom from the constraints of the Law, and that the new "requirement" was to be found in the faith which a person placed in the saving, sacrificial offering of Jesus on the Cross.  

St. James spoke for the Council:

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and fornication, and things strangled, and blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. (Acts 15:19–21)...For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell. (Acts 15:28–29)

This accounted for the dynamic nature of that Christian community in Antioch, and for its successful efforts at missionary outreach by sponsoring and supporting St. Paul in his journeys to the Gentiles throughout the Empire (Acts 13:1).

Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
Grotto Church of St. Peter
Grotto Church of St. Peter
SsPeter & Paul founding the Antiochian Church
SsPeter & Paul founding the Antiochian Church
SsPeter & Paul founding the Antiochian Church

The Apostles directed a truly universal ministry, each of them travelling throughout the Empire, and far beyond, organizing the scattered communities of Christian believers wherever they found them, and preaching the Gospel where the Good News had not yet reached.   After coming to Antioch in ~34 AD, St. Peter spent the next 7 years in labor, organizing and preaching the Gospel among the inhabitants of that region.  In subesequent years, St. Peter travelled widely, especially among the Jewish-Christian communities, encouraging and teaching the Faithful.  His final journey was to Rome, where he was martyred in the year ~67 under the Emperor Nero.   St. Paul, through a very different set of events, also came to Rome in the same year, and likewise received the Crown of Martyrdom under Nero.

Before he departed Antioch, St. Peter appointed Euodius (~42 AD) to serve as the leader of the Faithful in Antioch.  Euodius is thus counted in earliest episcopal lists as the first successor to the Holy Apostle Peter as Episcopos ("overseer" -- i.e., "bishop") of the Church of Antioch.  The multiple Apostolic foundation of the See of Antioch, the early missions centered there, and the active nature of the community, as recorded in the New Testament, have been a unique heritage to all who trace their spiritual and ecclesiastical roots to the Antiochian Patriarchate.

The Episcopal See of Antioch continued its contributions to the universal Church through the numerous outstanding personalities it nurtured. Saint Ignatius of Antioch for example, is revered as both a victorious martyr during the reign of Emperor Trajan (early second century) and as a reliable historical source for the structure of Church life. Ignatius was the second successor to Peter and may actually have been consecrated by that Apostle or Saint Paul.  Tradition teaches us that St. Ignatius was one of children that our Lord Jesus Christ took upon His lap in the Gospel accounts. (Matt 18:2; Mark 9:36 & Mark 10:16)

The Church of Antioch has maintained a continuous succession in the Apostolic Faith down to the present. The current Bishop/Patriarch of Antioch is His Beatitude JOHN X, who was enthroned on Sunday, February 10, 2013 following the repose of His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV (+December 5, 2012).  

A complete list of the Bishops of the See of Antioch may be found here: 

The biography of Patriarch John may be found here:

The official webpage of the Patriarchate of Antioch may be found here:

While there continues to be a Christian presence in the area that was once "Antioch" (now re-named "Antakya"), the cathedral and offices of the Patriarch have been moved to Damascus, Syria.  During the time of the Apostles, and through the first few centuries after Christ, the city of Antioch remained a vibrant and cosmopolitan center of trade and commerce.  But the pathway of the River Orontes also marked the fault line of an active earthquake zone.  After multiple earthquakes, and the invasion of the Moslems in the latter part of the 7th century, the Church moved from Antioch to Damascus -- another notable city in the history of Christianity (it was on the road to Damascus that the persecutor, Saul of Tarsus, had a vision of the risen Lord Jesus Christ and became Paul, the great evangelist for the Christian faith). 

Antioch (Antakya) in present-day Turkey
Antioch (Antakya) in present-day Turkey
Antioch (Antakya) in present-day Turkey
Patriarchal Compound in Damascus
Patriarchal Compound in Damascus
Patriarchal Compound in Damascus
Authority for Our Ministry
Hierarchy of Authority -- St. Michael's Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church
Hierarchy of Authority -- St. Michael's Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church
Hierarchy of Authority -- St. Michael's Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church
(click on page to enlarge for legibility)
Saints of the Church of Antioch

The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ in Antioch has produced many saintly men and women.  Those who have been recognized by the entire Orthodox Church and who have been given a Feast Day on the Church calendar are listed below.  The Icon of "The Saints Of Antioch Who Have Been Glorified By God" depict those listed below.


First Row: Left to Right

John the Righteous of Damascus (December 4)
Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (November 13)
Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29)
Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29)
Holy Great Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer (April 23)
Saint Thekla the Protomartyr (September 24) 

Second Row: Left to Right

The Martyr and Deacon Habib of Edessa (November 15)
Andrew of Crete Author of the Great Canon (July 4)
Saint Meletios of Antioch (February 12)
Saint Cosmas The Hymnographer, Bishop of Maiuma (October 14)
Saint Victor of Damascus (November 11)
Saints Sergios and Bacchos (October 7)
Saints Sergios and Bacchos (October 7)

Third Row: Left to Right

Saint Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah (January 28)
Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17)
Saint Theodore, Bishop of Edessa (July 19)

Saint Barbara the Great Martyr (December 4)
Saint Raphael of Brooklyn (First Saturday of November)
Saint Joseph of Damascus (July 10)

Forth Row: Left to Right

Saint Kyra of Syria (February 28)

Saint Maron (February 14)
Saint Ephraim the Syrian (January 28)
Saint Julian of Homs (February 06th)
Saint Ananias the Apostle (October 1)
Saint Pelagia of Antioch (October 8)

Fifth Row: Left to Right

Saint Pelagia the Penitent (October 8)

Saint Romanos the Melodist (October 1)
Saint Ignatios of Antioch (December 20)
Saint Christina of Tyre (July 24)
Saint Artemios of Antioch (October 20)

Top Row: Left to Right

Saint Simeon the Stylite (September 1)
Saint Daniel the Stylite (December 11)
Our Lady of Sayidnaya (Located at the centre of the Icon)

The Antiochian Archdiocese of North America

The Holy Orthodox Christian Church has approximately 300 million baptized members worldwide.  The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America is one of the 26 world-wide Archdioceses, which undertake the ministry of the Church under the authority of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.   We trace our roots to first century Antioch, the city in which the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians.  Each of the 26 archdioceses have been established by our Patriarchate to oversee and serve the many faithful Orthodox Christians from the lands of our Mother Church, who have immigrated throughout the world over the past centuries -- especially at the end of the 19th century.  

Follow this link to see the list:  

Today, we (the Antiochian Patriarchate) are in full communion with our brothers and sisters in various other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Orthodox Church in America. Together we work to nurture the Orthodox Christians of this land—whether immigrants or native-born, cradle Orthodox, or converts—and to bring those in North America to a saving belief in our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to a spiritual home in the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith, which we have received from our Holy Fathers, Ss Peter and Paul.

A History of our Archdiocese

More on the Patriarchate of Antioch

St. Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn

Constitution of the Archdiocese

List of the Officers of the Archdiocese

His Beatitude John X

Metropolitan Joseph


Our North American Archdiocese currently includes nine dioceses in the United States and Canada (Mexico and Central America form their own Archdiocese).  Our Archdiocese is overseen by one Metropolitan Archbishop (His Eminence Metropolitan SABA), with several Auxilary (assistant) Bishops.  Each of our bishops works in concert with our Metropolitan to guide and grow our parishes.

Metropolitan SABA (Isper), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America (biography of His Eminence: )

The Antiochian Archdiocese was led for over forty years by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba), prior to his falling asleep in the Lord on March 19, 2014.  Following his repose, His Beatitude JOHN X appointed Metropolitan SILOUAN of Buenos Aires and all Argentina as the Patriarchal Vicar, to oversee the period of transition of Episcopal oversight.  After a gathering of representatives and clergy from all of our parishes, an election for a new Metropolitan was held in Chicago.  Three names were sent to Patriarch JOHN X, and after prayer and deliberation among the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch (a gathering of all the Metropolitans from around the world), which met in Balamand, Lebanon on Thursday, July 3, 2014, Archbishop JOSEPH was elected to serve as the Metropolitan of all North America. Then, with the retirement of Metropolitan JOSEPH, the process was repeated in January 2023.  The Holy Synod elected His Eminence Metropolitan SABA (Isper) to be our new Metropolitan.  His enthronement took place at the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Brooklyn, NY, on Saturday, May13, 2023.  Here is a list of resources about His Eminence:

Learn more about our bishops.


Much work of our Archdiocese is accomplished by dedicated ministry staff and volunteers laboring in a wide range of departments and organizations seeing to the needs of our communities. From sacred music to Christian education, from care for aging priests to missionary work, and beyond, our Archdiocese benefits from the work of those who choose to serve.

See descriptions and links for all our departments and organizations.


The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America includes over 275 cathedrals, churches, and missions throughout the United States and Canada.  A list may be found here: 


Our Diocese in Upstate New York
His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER (Mufarrij)
His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER (Mufarrij)
His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER (Mufarrij)

The hierarch of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York is His Grace, the Right Reverend Bishop ALEXANDER (Mufarrij)  ( ), whose Episcopal Cathedra is located at St. Elias' Cathedral in Ottawa, and whose Chancery is in Montreal at the parish of St. Mary.

Our Diocese is divided into geographic areas called Deaneries.  The Deanery of Eastern Canada is composed of the areas of the Maritime Provinces in the east, Quebec, and Ontario as far as the Toronto region.  The Ontario Deanery is composed of the Toronto metro area and west to the border of Manitoba.  The Upstate New York Deanery is composed of the area from the Albany metro area north and west to the Canadian border.


Our Parish of St. Michael the Archangel
Fr. Gregory on Holy Friday 2016
Fr. Gregory on Holy Friday 2016
Fr. Gregory on Holy Friday 2016
Our church building in winter
Our church building in winter
Our church building in winter
The interior of our church with Bishop ALEXANDER
The interior of our church with Bishop ALEXANDER
The interior of our church with Bishop ALEXANDER

Our parish had its origins with the immigration of refugees from Syria in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.  They left their Syrian homeland due to severe persecution of Christians from the Moslem government of Turkey in the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War.  The immigration to the Geneva area (and the rest of upstate NY) came as our forebearers sought to find work in the agricultural regions of the state.  After coming through Ellis Island, rather than stay in the metropolitan area of New York City, they looked to find employment with the skills they had developed over generations in the agricultural region surrounding Tartus, Syria.  By 1912, our Syrian population in the Geneva area was large enough that Bishop (now Saint) RAPHAEL (Hawaweeny) traveled from Brooklyn to organize the people into a parish and to formally place us under the heavenly patronage of the great Archangel, Michael.  {see the "ABOUT OUR PARISH" section of this website for more details}

Currently, our parish is under the spiritual leadership of The Very Reverend Father Gregory-Lazarus Murphy, who has been our Priest and pastor since 2002.   

He is assisted in the administration of the parish by the Parish Council of St. Michael's, which is a Board consisting of 12 men and women members of the congregation, 9 of whom are elected by the parish voting membership, and 3 of whom are appointed by Fr. Gregory.  


The V. Rev'd Fr. Gregory-Lazarus Murphy
Priest & Pastor
PO Box 185
Geneva, NY 14456
315.789.3060 (office) (Phone)

Sometimes called the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church is the Church founded by our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ, which was given life by God the Father and the descent of God the Holy Spirit upon the Disciples on the Day of Pentecost.  The origins and early years of our Church is described in the pages of the New Testament, in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Epistles.  Our history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles. For twenty centuries, she has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ. Read our Discover Orthodox Christianity section, and the Nicene Creed, to learn more about our Faith. 

For the first thousand years after Christ, the Christian Church was united worldwide.  Then in the year 1054 A.D., the Patriarch ("Pope") of Rome (who was one of five co-equal leaders of the Church), who had leadership of the churches in the western part of the Roman Empire, broke away from the rest of the Church.  This "Great Schism" is the origin of what today we call the Roman Catholic Church.  The churches in the eastern part of the Roman Empire remained unified, and continued in the traditions and teaching of the Church as it had done from its very origin on the Day of Pentecost.  These "eastern" churches formed what today we call the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Over the past 1000 years, the Orthodox Church has grown and spread so that the number of Patriarchates has expanded from the original 5 (minus the Patriarch of Rome), to 21  {see graphic below}.

The First Ecumenical Council of the Church was called by the Emperor Constantine in the year 325 AD.  It addressed several pressing theological questions, but it also took steps to organize, regularize, and systemitize the liturgical practices and theological exposition of the Faith across the vast Roman Empire (and beyond).  The world was divided into four sections (north, south, east, and west), and one bishop was placed in charge of all missionary activity and oversight of all local churches in their respective quarter.  These bishops received the title "Patriarch" ("father-overseer") of the Church.  The oversight of the 4 quarters of the world were given to the bishops of the 4 most prominent cities of the Roman world, the city of Jerusalem also received a Patriarch.  The four cities (in order of their precedence) were: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.  The "precedence" -- functionally speaking -- meant that whenever the whole Church gathered together in a council, the Patriarch of Precedence would hold the gavel.  This "precedence" -- theologically speaking -- is of no consequence in spiritual authority, since each and every bishop has equal Sacramental authority, and full authority of oversight in his own diocese.  Unfortunately, as the Church moved through the centuries, the worldly-minded understanding of "precedence" crept into the minds of some bishops.  On Christmas Day in the year 800, the Bishop of Rome ("Pope") crowned the Goth, Charlemagne, as the Holy Roman Emperor, citing his own authority as the "First among equals" and without regard to the conciliar nature of the Church.  Consequentially, there was already an Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who had his throne in Constantinople (Constantine the Great had moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople in the year 323).  This crowning of a rival Emperor was the opening of a schism which fully breached the unity of the Church in the year 1054.  In this year, the Bishop of Rome insisted that all of the other Patriarchs, and indeed all bishops everywhere in the Church, received their authority from him (rather than from Christ and through the Holy Councils of the Church).  This insistence on Universal Jurisdiction, which had been expressly rejected by our Lord when James and John had sought the same priority among the Apostles (See Mark 10:35), became the excuse that the Pope of Rome used to excommunicate the Patriarch of Constantinople, and to abrogate the Episcopal authority of all of his fellow bishops (after which he named new bishops to sit in the Episcopal Sees across the Christian world).

The Church of Antioch was formally established by the the efforts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and Barnabas (one of "the 70"), sometime soon following the beginning of the persecution of the Believers by the leaders of the Jews in Jerusalem (the date is postulated to be around 34 A.D.).   St. Peter served as a point of unity for the many Believers in the city of Antioch and its surrounding area.  These Believers were, at the early stages Jewish believers, many of whom had fled persecution in Jerusalem.  Some, however, had been Jews from Antioch who had been in Jerusalem to witness the events of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord, and who received the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.  Upon returning home to Antioch, they preached the resurrection to those who would hear.  Thus, the Believers in Antioch were loosly joined together by their common Faith in Jesus Christ, but they had no means of gathering as an organized congregation.  It was the presence of St. Peter that drew these Believers together to form an "ecclesia" -- a congregation of the Faithful.  St. Peter lived and worked among them for the next eight years as the "overseeer" ("episcopus" -- i.e., bishop) of the Faithful.  The growth and organization of the Church of Jesus Christ at Antioch is emblematic of the way the Church grew all across the Roman Empire, and beyond.  The assemblies which coalesced around the presence of one of the Apostles (or in Antioch's case, two of the Apostles) became prominent in the leadership of the widely dispersed Body of Christ.  Thus, Antioch was one of the five ancient "Patriarchates" of the Christian Church, along with Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Rome.


"...and the disciples were first called 'Christians' at Antioch." (Acts 11:26)