What Does “Antiochian” Mean?
You may have heard different labels used for Orthodox Churches, such as Greek Orthodox, or Russian Orthodox, or Antiochian Orthodox. These national labels reflect the administrative structure of the Church, but not the Church’s faith, which is common to all. There are no divisions or denominations in the Orthodox Church, for the real, visible, “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”—the Body of Christ—cannot be divided against itself.
In the West, due to immigration, we presently have multiple Orthodox jurisdictions (national churches) in the same country. It would be ideal to have one single “Orthodox Church of America” to reflect the real unity we already share, but that dream has not yet been realized. We pray that in the near future this will change and that our Lord will lead our bishops in making that a reality.
The Church of Antioch
Saint George’s parish is part of the Church of Antioch, one of the five original major Christian Churches, and one of the sister Churches of the Orthodox communion.
The Church of Antioch was founded about AD 37 by the Apostles Peter and Paul when the Christians of Judea fled persecution and joined with Cyprian and Cyrenian Christians in that city. As Acts 11 notes, we were first called Christians in Antioch. In the 15th century, after the Ottoman persecution began, the seat of the Church of Antioch was moved to Damascus, to the Straight Street also mentioned in the Book of Acts.
The present head of the Church of Antioch, Patriarch Ignatius IV, is the 163rd direct successor to Saint Peter the Apostle, the first Bishop of Antioch. The head of the Antiochian Church of North America is Metropolitan Philip Saliba. Our Diocese of Toledo is presently between bishops, but we look forward to the election of a bishop later this year.
For more information, please see the page What We Believe About the Church.