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.