Patron Saint Troparion
Saint John Orthodox Church

The memory of the righteous is celebrated with songs of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner. Thou wast shown indeed to be the most honorable of the prophets, for in the waters thou didst baptize him who had been proclaimed. After suffering in behalf of the truth, thou didst proclaim even to those in Hades the God who appeared in the flesh, who takes away the sin of the world and grants us the Great Mercy.


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Pastor's Message

Welcome to the official website of St. John Orthodox Church of Levittown NY. We intend to make it an educational tool to all who seek to use it. This website can be used for information on our church. We are located on a spacious private property with our own parking lot on 80 Water Lane North in Levittown, NY. Our Sunday Divine Liturgy begins at 10:30 AM. All are welcome.

- Pastor


St. John Orthodox Church, Levittown NY


St John Church

In June 2005, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Levittown, NY, was placed for sale. The property in Levittown, compared to the old church in Uniondale, was large, private, and serene. It included a large parking lot, a huge backyard, a Social Hall, a Day School, and a Rectory. In April 2006, the property was purchased to become the present home of St. John Orthodox Church. This was a huge step in the history of St. John Orthodox Church, “moving up” from a commercial neighborhood in Uniondale to a private and residential one in Levittown. This was a moment of celebration for the faithful of St. John Orthodox Church. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on 7 May 2006.

On Sunday, 22 October 2006, the remodeled and furnished Church Temple in Levittown was consecrated by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba). His Eminence, during the Consecration Festivities, spoke highly of the faithful of St. John Orthodox Church, and remarked: “On this blessed occasion of the consecration of your new church, we express to you our joy in your excellent achievement. This is indeed a milestone in the history of your parish and a great testimony to your perseverance and commitment to the eternal ideals and principles of our Holy Orthodox Church. Over the years, we have watched you struggle and grow. ... We express our gratitude to your pastor, the Very Reverend Father George Makhlouf, and to everyone who has given fruit of their time and talent for the fulfillment of this dream.” Father George Makhlouf remarked: “We have built the church of stones, let us build the church of people.”

The new property was in a nice residential neighborhood, but it was by no means ready for use. Once again, the faithful of St. John Orthodox Church were called upon to gather their fruit of love, by basking in their talents, hard work, and finances. Before the consecration ceremonies took place, the Social Hall and Church Temple were remodeled and furnished, and many took time off from work in order to do the actual work of moving, painting, and reorganizing. Work on the Rectory, which was part of the property purchase, was postponed for two years, until 2008 when it was finally rebuilt from the ground up. The zeal of the people and their love for the Church resulted in the advancement of St. John Orthodox Church, from the attic of Father Richard Tinker’s home to a nice private property in Levittown, NY.

On Sunday, 16 September 2007, Subdeacon Charles Baz was ordained by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba), to the Holy Diaconate at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Bridgeport, CT. For the next three years, Deacon Charles assisted Father George in the Liturgical Ministry of the Church. On Sunday, 26 September 2010, Deacon Charles was ordained by His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN (Khouri), to the Holy Priesthood at St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY.  On Saturday, 16 October 2010, a Retirement Banquet was held for Father George Makhlouf, and successively, on 1 November 2010, Father Charles Baz became the Parish Priest. Both weekends, that of the Ordination in September and of the Retirement Banquet in October, in 2010, witnessed the presence and support of all the faithful of St. John Orthodox Church. For the Ordination, more people were present that Sunday from St. John Orthodox Church than the actual members of St. Nicholas Cathedral, and, the Retirement Banquet for Father George, was hugely successful as well, noting that this was the first time such a festivity was ever planned in our church. Father Charles Baz, the current Parish Priest, and his wife, Khouriyeh Dina, both reside at the Rectory, located on 29 Slate Lane.

At present, St. John Orthodox Church is in the “human” planning phase. In lieu of what Father George remarked, back in 2006, we are in need of expanding our most important element in the church, namely, that of people. Four decades ago, it was the faithful people from Ramallah, Palestine, who envisioned an Orthodox Church in Long Island, NY. In our present day and age, membership of St. John Orthodox Church consists of people from the entire Holy Land, and beyond. We cannot give up certain customs and traditions, for we hold them dear to our heart. We are among the few parishes left in the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America which, in part, still uses Arabic during the Sacred Services. Most of the Sacred Services are done in English, but Arabic is never forgotten or left out. It is an established fact that Orthodox Christians from the Middle East established our Archdiocese (over 265 parishes now, and growing), and our parish is nothing but a reflection of that reality.


THE HOLY LAND

The Holy Land, also known as Bilad Ash'Sham in Arabic, is a term which refers to the geographical region of the Levant of the Eastern Mediterranean which historically had no definite borders. Nowadays, it comprises roughly the territory of Palestine, Israel, and parts of Jordan and Lebanon. It is called “holy” because of its significance in the Sacred Scriptures: It is the land of the Old Testament Patriarchs and Prophets. In the New Testament, it is the land of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His Mother, and His Apostles. The Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. As an infant, He was taken to Egypt to flee persecution, and thus fulfilled the Scriptures in saying: “Out of Egypt have I called my Son” (Matthew 2:15 & Hosea 11:1). He was raised in the town of His Mother Mary, in Nazareth, thus He was called “Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23). As an adult, our Lord Jesus travelled throughout the Holy Land, crossing the Jordan after His Baptism, and reaching even Lebanon in the district of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21-28). It is no wonder that the Holy Evangelist Matthew proclaims that the fame of Jesus “spread throughout all Syria” (Matthew 4:24). In the last days of His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus entered the Holy City, Jerusalem, where he was crucified, buried, and risen. He ascended into heaven from the Holy Land, and we await His return when He will judge the living and the dead. Finally, Pentecost, the Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, also known as the Feast of the Birth of the Church, took place in the Holy City.

In the Twentieth Century, many Orthodox Christians from the Holy Land left the Middle East and migrated to different lands. Palestinians, in specific, mostly left against their will due to their displacement as a result of the establishment of Israel in 1948. Others, from the Middle East, left due to civil unrest in the region or hardship in the years following. Many migrated to the United States, hoping to establish a better future for themselves and for their progeny.

Regardless of where they are found, whether in the Holy Land or in the United States, Orthodox Christians of the Levant have always treasured and cherished their faith. Whether they left the Holy Land willingly or not, whether they left with possessions or not, they always held on to that “precious pearl” which cannot be purchased or sold, namely, the Holy Orthodox Faith. In general, this is the story of the establishment of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in 1895, and in specific, this is the story of the establishment of St. John Antiochian Orthodox Church, now in Levittown, New York. This is the “seed” of faith which encouraged the people, distressed by life’s misfortunes, and helped them build churches and better hope in the New Land.

The vision of St. John Orthodox Church was realized in 1965, when Father Richard Tinker was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. Father Richard, whose wife is from the Holy Land, became aware of our community in Long Island through friends such as Richard and Yvonne Colabella. Upon knowing that Father Anthony Bucci was about to move to Long Island, Father Richard secured permission from His Eminence, Metropolitan ILYAS (Kurban), to have Father Anthony be the Mission Priest. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in August 1966 in a space rented from the Hempstead Reformed Church. Unfortunately, in 1968, due to the lack of a church building for worship, the Mission was dissolved.

Late in 1972, hope ushered in as Father Richard Tinker and his wife Laurice moved to West Hempstead from the Bronx. In 1973, the Mission restarted, and the first Divine Liturgy was held in Father Richard’s attic, which was furnished as a Chapel. In this decade, the faithful of St. John Orthodox Church, eager to maintain their faith and hold their worship services, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in several places, renting churches in different locations in Long Island, including Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in East Meadow. It was finally decided that a church property needed to be purchased in order to serve the needs of the growing community.

In 1979, pious individual parishioners and the Ramallah Club of Hempstead succeeded in raising funds for the church building, and a property was purchased at 560 Uniondale Avenue in Uniondale, NY. The building, which was a furniture store, was remodeled and furnished as St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church. In January 1980, the Church Temple was consecrated by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba), and this church building, lasted for 26 years as the spiritual home of the faithful.

In 1980, Father Richard Tinker was transferred to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. His assistant, Father Richard Simmons, became the Parish Priest. In 1981, Father Paul Tarazi became the Parish Priest, and served the church in that capacity until 2001. In that same year, for the first time, and with the financial help of the Ramallah Club of New York, St. John Orthodox Church purchased a Parish House (Rectory) in East Meadow, NY. In October 2001, Father George Makhlouf became the Parish Priest, and moved into the newly purchased Rectory.

In April 2006 we purchased the property in Levittown, NY. The first Liturgy was celebrated on May 7, 2016. Consecration Ceremony was held on October 21, 2006.

On October 16, 2010 Father George Makhlouf retired and moved to Georgia. Father Charles Baz became the Parish Priest until July 2012.

On July 15, 2012 we welcomed Father Boulos E. Moussa and his family to St. John Antiochian Orthodox Church...

 

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