The Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate is one of the original five patriarchates (church centers) that comprised the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church before and after the Great Schism. Today, it is one of the most prominent autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches. It was in the city of Antioch (modern day Antakya in southeast Turkey) that Christians were first so called (Acts 11:26). Saint Peter established the Church in Antioch, and was the first to preside over the city of Antioch. Antioch was the center from which the Christian faith was propagated all over the world (Acts 13:1-9). Antioch continued its essential contributions to the universal Church by its nurturing of the most influential and beloved Saints in Christendom. The Antiochian church became a center of Christian learning and was famous for its theological school where many well-known fathers were educated, such as St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. John Chrysostom, and many others. By the fourth century, the bishop of Antioch had become the Patriarch (senior Bishop) in a region covering modern-day eastern Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, the Arabian peninsula and all the East. The Holy See also extends to the Diaspora in North and South America, Australia and Europe.
The patriarchate is currently represented in North America by the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and in the western United States and Canada by the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. The Archdiocese has experienced significant growth through the conversion of a number of evangelical Protestants (both individually and as congregations), and also through the immigration of Orthodox Christian Arabs from the Middle East. Recently, the Holy Synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Church established several dioceses throughout America and Canada in order to improve and increase its outreach efforts. On September 12, 2004, His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH was enthroned at the hands of His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP as the first Bishop of the Holy Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. His Grace shepherds a diverse flock consisting of numerous multi-lingual and multi-cultural parishes.