Our Mission and Vision
Why: The world is a battlefield. Society is harshly divided. We struggle with broken morality, health, jobs, relationships, and ultimately, death.
The voice of culture tells us that the way to combat these fears is through self-focus and political-correctness. But this only perpetuates brokenness, fear, anger, and loneliness. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ shows us a different Way. A better Way. At St. George we call that The Way of the Warrior Saint.
How: St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church trains Warrior Saints® to follow Christ’s Way. We teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that we are educated, strong, and independent leaders. We build a solid community, so that our lives are enriched through worship and fellowship. And we serve others, so that we are empowered to be selfless and outward looking.
What: Engaging and relevant bible studies, powerful worship and fellowship, and opportunities to minister to those in need.
Training Warrior Saints® to be strong and independent leaders.
What We Believe
We believe in one God, the Holy Trinity. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the unbegotten creator of everything. He is three distinct persons who maintain one essence of nature.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the LORD, the Savior of mankind. He is the only begotten Son of the Father, begotten before all time. The Son of God came down from Heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and made man in the person of Jesus Christ. He was crucified for our salvation, conquering Death by His own death on the Cross. He was raised by the glory of the Father on the third day and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead.
About The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is LORD and giver of life and proceeds from the Father. The prophets spoke words given them by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that transforms us through our faith into true disciples of Christ.
The Church is the Body of Christ, His faithful disciples, active in the world today. We believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Church is ONE because she is the same in faith throughout the ages and throughout the world. She is HOLY because she is directly founded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through His Apostles on Pentecost. She is CATHOLIC because she is universal in the world. And she is APOSTOLIC because she continues, in an unbroken line throughout history, directly connected to the Apostles themselves.
There is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is done through triple immersion in water in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Jesus will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. When He does so those who have lived a life of faith will be resurrected from the dead and be granted life eternal in the world to come.
About The Virgin Mary
The Virgin Mary is highly revered in the Orthodox Faith. While we worship God alone, Mary is honored as the highest of all of God’s saints because she gave birth in the flesh to the very Son of God. That is why you may hear the Orthodox call her ‘Theotokos’, which means ‘the birth-giver of God’. Mary is honored not only because of her relationship to Jesus, but also because of her faith and willingness to do God’s will, deny herself and remain chaste throughout her life.
About The Bible
The Bible, Old and New Testament, is the inspired Word of God. Mankind received the Holy Scriptures in order that we hear the Word of God, hearkening to His commandments of life, thus growing closer to union with Him. Scripture is the reference of our Faith and is read aloud in every one of our divine services. In fact, during the Divine Liturgy the Orthodox faithful hear 212 verbatim quotes directly from Holy Scripture.
St. Vincent of Lerins said that ‘Tradition is the Word of God correctly understood.’ That means that Holy Tradition does not refer to the pious customs of humanity, but rather specifically to the transmission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Prophets and Apostles. Holy Tradition refers specifically to The Apostolic Tradition, the teachings of the LORD’s chosen Apostles sent out in to the world to proclaim to the Truth of Salvation in Jesus Christ. That same Apostolic teaching, as sedimented in the Holy Scriptures continues to be shared to this very day in the teachings, dogma and practices of the Holy Orthodox Church.
Ordination to the Holy Priesthood is one of the Seven Sacraments of the Orthodox Church. Our priests function as teachers of The Word of God, ministers of the sacramental life of the Church and as spiritual fathers to the Orthodox faithful under their care. They teach the Gospel, serve the divine services and guide our spiritual lives. Priests in the Orthodox Church are permitted to marry and maintain a family life just as the parishioners do.
Icons adorn every Orthodox Church throughout the world. They serve as didactic tools to live a life in Christ. Icons are reminders of a saint or an important event within the life of the church which inspire us to emulate those who loved Christ in ages past. Icons are not worshipped, only God is. We venerate icons to honor the LORD, His mother and His saints.
Over 60 years ago, a group of Orthodox Christians united to form an Orthodox Church, here in Phoenix, Arizona. The original incorporation took place on June 23, 1949 by H. Fattaleh, George Ghiz, N.A. Romley, David Saba, James Saliba, N.E. Schaded, Fred Shaheen, and George F. Tibshraeny. After many meetings and much correspondence with Bishop SAMUEL (David), the decision was made to begin at the 45th Street and Indian School site in Phoenix and Father Malatios Sweity helped local men collect funds to buy 5 acres of land. People from all over Arizona, who had Orthodox backgrounds, were contacted.
Before the hall was built, church services were held in homes, the Greek Orthodox Hall on Virginia, and the Episcopal Church on Roosevelt in Phoenix. The first dedication of the Indian School site Church was on October 8, 1950. A few years later, around 1952, a hall was added and the original building was converted to a church. A bell tower was later added to the hall to give it a more church-like appearance. A church school building was desperately needed because the hall was serving as a Sunday School with partitions for classrooms. In 1964, the parish was elated to dedicate the new Church School building and office.
In October of 1980, St. George Parish purchased land on Gold Dust Avenue, but before dawn on Christmas morning 1980, St. George Church suffered a devastating electrical fire destroying the entire church and most of its contents. Services were moved to the church hall. In May of 1981, the Indian School property was sold and in August of 1982, ground was broken on Gold Dust Avenue for the present The Legacy Ballroom, office complex and school buildings. This facility was completed and the first church services were held in April 1983.
In December of 1984, a ceremonial groundbreaking service was held at the present site. This beautiful new edifice was dedicated on December 7, 1986 and consecrated on November 1, 1987.
Because of their dedication, hard work, and love for God and each other, our founders were able to establish a strong, viable church. With that on-going devotion, love, and perseverance as a foundation, our parish family is carrying on that challenge in today’s world.
Life of St. George
The Holy and Great Martyr George, the Trophy-Bearer, lived in the latter part of the third century A.D. during Diocletian’s rule of the Roman Empire. St. George came from Cappadocia and was raised by very pious parents. His father was martyred for the faith when St. George was young. After his father’s death, his mother took him to Palestine, where she had farmland. At a young age, he served in the Roman army under the Emperor Diocletian and was commended many times for his service to the Empire. During the year 303 A.D., Diocletian summoned his aides to meet in Caesarea, a city of the Eastern Roman Empire. Since paganism was the state religion, Diocletian focused his efforts toward the suppression of Christianity. He held three general meetings with his aides, instructing them to persecute the Christians. St. George, since he had shown excellence while serving in the army, was among these aides. Diocletian asked them to pledge their allegiance to this cause by making pagan sacrifices as proof of their loyalty. All the aides pledged their loyalty except St. George. He stood in front of Diocletian and admitted his belief in Christianity, telling the monarch of the Christian teachings and the Godliness of the crucified Nazarene. The emperor ordered this Christian be taken to prison and that a boulder be placed on his chest as a form of torture. The next morning Diocletian ordered that the prisoner be brought before him for questioning. St. George stood steadfast. He again confessed himself a Christian, and appealed to all to acknowledge Christ: “I am a servant of Christ, my God, and trusting in Him, I have come among you voluntarily, to bear witness concerning the Truth.” Echoing the question of Pontius Pilate, the great saint was asked, “What is Truth?” St. George replied, “Christ Himself, Whom you persecuted, is Truth.”
Enraged, the emperor summoned the executioners to have St. George bound to the rim of a wheel set with sharp spikes. Diocletian admired the courage of the saint and asked him to sacrifice to the gods to save himself. He refused Diocletian’s request and welcomed the chance to be martyred for Christ, as his father had done. After praying to God, he heard a voice from heaven say, “Do not fear, George, I am with you.” With the help of Christ, the spiked wheel had no effect on St. George. When the saint appeared before Diocletian not only was he unharmed, but an angelic aura had settled about him. St. George was beset by many other tortures – including various beatings and poisoning – unharmed by all. Many sick and infirm visited St. George in prison and were healed by his intercessions. Witnessing his great faith and steadfastness before Diocletian, two officers of the Roman army, Anatolios and Protoeon, appeared before Diocletian with two thousand soldiers. They admitted their belief in Christ and Diocletian had them all executed with St. George.
St. George gave thanks to God and prayed that he would also end his life in a worthy manner. At the place of execution the saint prayed that the Lord would forgive the torturers who acted in ignorance, and that He would lead them to the knowledge of Truth. Calmly and bravely, the holy Great Martyr George bent his neck beneath the sword, receiving the crown of martyrdom on April 23, 303. By the intercessions of the Holy and Great Martyr George, the Trophy-Bearer, Lord, Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
Troparion of St. George (Tone 4)
As deliverer of captives and defender of the poor, healer of the infirm, champion of kings, victorious great Martyr George: intercede with Christ, our God, for our souls salvation.
Our Clergy & Staff
V. Rev. Fr. Dr. Christopher Salamy, Pastor
Fr. Chris Salamy was born in 1972 to Lebanese-American parents in the small rural town of Whitesville, West Virginia. Fr. Salamy was baptized in the Holy Orthodox Church and was raised in Charleston, West Virginia until 1985 when his family relocated to Los Angeles, California. His passion is the study of the Holy Scriptures and foreign language. He was married in August, 1998 to Allyson Marie (Raya) Salamy in Los Angeles, CA and has two daughters, Sophia Renee and Amelia Claire. He was assigned as the Youth Director of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, OK in October of 1998 where he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate in February 1999 and to the Holy Priesthood in March 1999. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University, a Master’s of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and a Doctorate of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Fr. Salamy was assigned to the pastorate of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ in December 1999 and he remains as pastor to this day.
Contact Fr. Chris
Greg Abdalah, Pastoral Assistant
Greg Abdalah, a native of the Pittsburgh area, graduated from Upper St. Clair High School in 2000 where he was very active in a variety of music groups. Following high school, he pursued a music degree at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Throughout college, he worked at the Antiochian Village as Counselor, Challenge Course Director and Administrative Director. Following study at Duquesne, Greg worked as the Deanery Coordinator for the Western Pennsylvania Deanery before enrolling in St. Vladimir’s Seminary. While there, Greg gained practical experience in youth ministry through his parish assignments and participation in numerous retreats. He also furthered his musical studies, focusing on hymnography, liturgics, and various forms of Orthodox musical expression. He graduated in 2008 with a Master of Divinity with a thesis topic “The Role of Youth Choirs in the Orthodox Church” and is the immediate past President of the SVS Alumni Association.
Valerie Haddad, Director of Ministry, Growth and Development
Valerie Haddad was born and raised in Glendale, California. Upon graduating high school, Valerie pursued and obtained her professional pilot’s licenses and certifications and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2003. Her intent was to fly professionally, however, due to the unfortunate events of 9/11/2001, open pilot positions were limited and Valerie joined Vanguard as a Client Services Representative in 2004. While at Vanguard, Valerie held several leadership positions where she had the opportunity to lead large operations departments through strategic projects and business planning cycles. In 2013, Valerie obtained her MBA from the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Valerie is passionate about building strong Christian leaders so that they are well equipped to do God’s work. Valerie is married to Subdeacon Michael and they have two children, Georgina and Gabriel.
Tricia Urbano Voltz, Executive Assistant to the Pastor
Tricia was born on St. Patrick’s Day in New York, NY to Filipino parents and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. She lived in the Pittsburgh suburb of Jefferson Hills with her parents and four siblings until attending college at West Virginia University. At WVU, she studied journalism and eventually settled on marketing. After college she relocated to the Washington, D.C. area with her now husband, Bill. Her first work experience was for a D.C. based sports marketing/agency where she discovered and developed her skill of graphic design. That passion for graphic design eventually led her to St. Coletta, a school for children with disabilities, where she created marketing materials to help raise funds for school programs. While working at St. Coletta, Tricia became an advocate for people with disabilities. Today, she is an advocate for her own daughter, Calie, who was born in 2011 with the birth defect, Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, and suffers from developmental disabilities. After living in Washington, D.C. for six years, Tricia and Bill headed west for the beaches of California and married in Redondo Beach in 2004. It was in Manhattan Beach, CA where they started their family and their daughter, Chloë, was born. Shortly after Chloë was born in 2007, Bill’s work relocated the family to Phoenix where Tricia and her family currently reside.
Matthew Peters, Ministry Lead
Matthew Peters has spent a majority of his life living in the southwest where he graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Matthew attended Wheaton College in Chicago, where he received a master’s degree in Archaeology. He has spent considerable time living, traveling, studying, working, eating, and sweating in the Middle East. During his free-time, Matthew enjoys working on and riding motorcycles, building furniture, completing art projects, and harvesting figs and limes to share with the St. George Community. His joy is sharing Christ with others and working side by side on service projects. His bride is Laura, and they have two great kids, Isaac and Helena.
Matthew Peters serves as the Ministry Lead at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Matthew is responsible for providing strategic direction in ministry outreach at St. George, by working alongside our clergy and project coordinators, leading to the spiritual transformation and health of volunteers and betterment of those being served, accomplished through Christ and by his love. For a detailed list of our current efforts, click here.