History of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch
Metropolitan Philip saw the need to study the possibilities of a new organization that would challenge the laity of our Archdiocese to be true disciples of Christ and enter a new dimension of service.
A small committee was organized under the chairmanship of Albert Joseph. The committee was composed of Ernest Saykaly, Robert Andrews, Robert Laham, Theodore Mackoul, Archpriest Paul Schneirla and Archpriest Antony Gabriel. During the Archdiocese Convention held in Louisville in July 1975, a preliminary report was filed at the General Assembly.
The Metropolitan Primate accepted the findings of the report and, by the Archdiocese Convention held in 1976 in San Francisco, the provisional chairman was installed and the first induction to the Order took place. It was during the Patriarch's historic trip that the newest Archdiocesan organization was called into being and given his apostolic blessings. The first officers and chaplain were formally installed and many new members were inducted at the Washington Archdiocesan conclave in 1977.
Ever since His Beatitude, Patriarch ELIAS IV, of Thrice Blessed Memory, and our beloved Primate, Metropolitan PHILIP, formally blessed and inaugurated the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, an unprecedented number of lay persons were awakened to their local Archdiocesan responsibilities and scores of earnest men and women have come forward to join the Order.
An event that marked a turning point for the Order was its First Grand Assembly held in October 1978 in Florida. The business of the Order that was conducted, the religious and educational experience and the fellowship shared firmly knitted together the members of the Order.
Today, members of the Order come from all walks of life. Some are secretaries, some are executives, some work in the shop, some in the hospital, some in the factories, some in the home. Some are young, some are seniors, some have young children, some have old grandchildren!
All share a common love for Christ and His Church. All share a common belief that through the Order, we collectively assist our Archdiocese in performing Christ's work. In doing this work and being guided by our beloved Primate Metropolitan PHILIP, we follow the words of St. Ignatius when we “do nothing apart from the Bishop.”
By the Grace of God the growth of the Order has enabled the Order to contribute over sixteen million dollars, since its inception, to projects of our Archdiocese and the annual budget now exceeds $1,500,000. The Order has contributed to Archdiocesan departments and projects such as Missions and Evangelism, Youth Ministry, Campus Ministry, Camp Scholarships, Antiochian Village, Heritage Museum and Learning Center, Prison Ministry, Education, and the Clergy Benefits Fund.
Equally important, the Order, guided by our Metropolitan, has responded to special needs outside our Archdiocese such as Special Olympics, Project Mexico, Lebanon Relief, Mexico Earthquake Relief, Montreal Ladies Aid Society, Holy Trinity Orthodox Nursing Home, the Task Force on Jerusalem and International Orthodox Christian Charities to name a few.
Thanks be to God for His continued blessings upon this Order. May we always serve His holy Church in a way well pleasing to Him.
The Goals of The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch
- To promote and propagate the teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the welfare of the Orthodox faith.
- To strengthen the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese as a spiritual, administrative and functional entity.
- To financially support the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese through a lifetime commitment.
- To enhance the spiritual commitment of its members.
Many times, members of the Order are asked, “Why should I join The Order? What does The Order do for my local parish? Here are some of the many reasons how the Order makes an impact on the local parish and why everyone should consider membership in this wonderful ministry. Currently, The Order donates 26% of the Archdiocese budget.
The Clergy Retirement Fund receives an annual donation from The Order. The parishes do not have to contribute to their pastors' retirement as the Archdiocese, funded by the Order, handles this. Currently, The Order has undertaken a special project to help raise the monthly stipend to the Priest or Priest wife from $700 to $1000. The Order has pledged to raise the necessary funds to help offset this increase.
The Camp St. Nicholas as well as the Antiochian Village Camp Scholarships are provided by The Order; two one week sessions for each parish for children to attend. This is an expense the parish does not have to incur for two of its Church School children.
Improvements to the Antiochian Village Camp and Heritage & Learning Center as well as Camp St. Nicholas are partially funded by The Order for the upkeep of these facilities. These facilities are available for use by all members of the Archdiocese. The parishes, on their own, simply would not be able to do this.
The annual College Conference is subsidized by The Order so that our college students can meet in a spiritual and social atmosphere at Antiochian Village as well as on the West Coast.
The Department of Christian Education is partially funded by the Order. This department works with our parishes and missions to insure that the proper Orthodox curriculum and teaching methods and tools are used for our children.
The Youth Workers Ministry is subsidized by the Order so that regional youth workers can attend an annual conference to dialogue with other Orthodox youth workers. They bring this information back to the parish youth workers who work with our Teen SOYO groups.
The Deparment of Missions & Evangelism is a recipient of the Order's philanthropy. This department oversees the formation of new missions and small parishes; in essence, it helps to grow the Archdiocese.
The Clergy Counseling Center is funded by the Order. This center helps our clergy when certain dilemmas arise that require professional attention. Before this center was established, clergy would have to seek outside help on their own.
Won't you come along?
The Order of St. Ignatius welcomes all those who are faithful to the Orthodox Church and her teachings that are at least 18 years old.
Membership in The Order is available for life at three different ranks:
- Knight or Dame is granted with a minimum annual gift of $500*.
- Knight Commander or Dame Commander is granted with a minimum annual gift of $1,000*.
- Life Member - one who wishes to make a gift of at least $15,000. This gift can be donated in full or in three equal and consecutive annual donations of $5,000 each. This is a one time gift to The Order and the principal is invested and the interest is used for our philanthropy*.
* There is also a one-time induction fee of $60 to cover the costs of the handbook, pin, certificate and other related materials.
New members are inducted at their local parish, Parish Life Conferences, and the Archdiocesan Convention by a bishop.
Donations are made directly to The Order of St. Ignatius which does not include, nor should it take the place of, contributions to the local church or to the Archdiocese.
An Associate Membership can be conferred on an Orthodox Christian who meets the financial and spiritual criteria but who is not a member of the Antiochian Archdiocese. In all the above categories, donations of stock are also accepted in lieu of the monetary donation.
Honorary Membership can be conferred on individuals outside the Archdiocese for distinguished service to the Archdiocese or to society in general.
If you're ready to join, or would like more information, talk to your priest, another parishioner who is a member or call the Administrator at the Archdiocese.
The Order: Our challenge in the next century
You've heard that membership has its privileges. Well, the Order of St. Ignatius prefers to think that serving Christ is our privilege. As members of the Order, we're simply doing what the Scriptures refer to as “a reasonable service.” Giving doesn't make us special, it makes us Christ-like.
But that's just half of it. Giving also changes lives. It builds homes for the homeless, clothes and feeds the poor, keeps kids off of troubled streets and gives unwed women an alternative to terminate pregnancy. Sounds like there's more than just a few benefits to membership…don't you think? In the coming years, the goal of the Order is simply to increase its giving and to expand the possibilities.
The Order has donated over $16 million since it’s inception!
"Come, be a part of our vision for the future and find a new and deeper expression of your faith." -- Metropolitan PHILIP
For more information or a membership application, e-mail us at TheOrder@antiochian.org, or write: The Order of St. Ignatius, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, PO Box 5238, Englewood, NJ 07631-5238. You may also contact one of the members of the local governing council.