St. Elias was founded by early Syrian immigrants to Atlanta. It has been the center of Orthodox faith in Atlanta for 100 years. Its rich history can be seen in its worship, people, and building. When you attend St. Elias, you can expect ancient liturgical worship, a diverse community, and a welcoming culture. The liturgy is predominantly in English but occasionally Arabic is used. St. Elias has many different ways to get involved with the parish including their young adult ministry, St. Elias’ Men’s Organization, St. Mary’s Ladies Society, and Society of Orthodox Youth Organization.
Skip to: Church Size | Leadership | Goals & Objectives | Dress Code | Worship & Music Style | What to Expect | Doctrine | Messages | Demographics | Atmosphere | Find Your Community | Local Outreach | Other Fun Facts | Contact & Social Accounts
St. Elias is an excellent place for families. There’s a huge age range from young families with children to young adults and older adults. This is a great place to grow as an individual and as a family. There are 400 families that attend St. Elias. Around 150 of those families attend each service.
St. Elias is led by Reverend Fr. Gabriel Tannous who graduated from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY, and has pastored the parish since 2015. Fr. Gabriel’s family roots originate in the Holy Land, which is still home to many Palestinians of the Orthodox Christian faith today. He is beloved by the St. Elias parishioners because of his genuine faith, deep knowledge of the Orthodox Faith, and friendly demeanor.
Leadership also includes:
- Very Reverend Fr. George Makhlouf, retired
- Reverend Fr. Habib Ghantous, attached
- Dn. Simeon Spencer
- Dn. Daniel Velez
Goals & Objectives
St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church is a canonical Eastern Orthodox Church under the Patriarchate of Antioch in Damascus, Syria, founded by the apostles, Peter and Paul. Consequently, St. Elias holds the doctrines of the One Orthodox Faith and shares them with Atlanta at large. St. Elias has witnessed many American converts to the Orthodox Faith.
Dress on the conservative side when attending St. Elias. Shorts are inappropriate to wear for either men or women. Men should wear dress pants with a collared short sleeve or long sleeve collared/dress shirt. Women should preferably wear dresses of appropriate length or pants and a blouse. While not required, it’s recommended (in all Orthodox churches) that women wear headscarves as a veil.
Worship & Music Style
The Eastern Orthodox Church uses liturgical worship, which is characterized by a hymn of prayer and responses chanted in various tones and cadences. Like many other orthodox churches, the Antiochian Church uses the Byzantine rite. Hymns are very traditional and are either chanted by the psalters or sung in unison by the church choir depending on the service and point in the liturgy.
What to Expect
Upon walking into the church, expect to be greeted by one of the ushers who will hand you a bulletin. You will see parishioners venerating (kissing) the icons of Christ and the Mother of God as you come in. You will also see an area to light and place candles. You will continue walking straight into the temple where you can find an open pew to stand/sit. Expect parishioners to be standing the majority of the time, however, if you struggle to stand the entire time, it is appropriate to sit.
Our Mother Church is the patriarch church of Antioch in Syria canonical eastern orthodox. You can expect a few differences from a Catholic parish. The head of the church is more than one patriarch rather than just one Pope. Unlike St. Augustine’s belief, we believe man does not partake in Adam’s guilt because of the Fall. Byzantine iconography is shown throughout the parish.
Fr. Gabriel’s homilies tend to focus on the understanding of scripture and its application to our lives today in Atlanta. Other homilies will focus on the life of a particular saint or a piece of church history relevant to the liturgical calendar.
St. Elias is extremely demographically diverse. The church is approximately 50% people of Middle Eastern descent (mostly Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria) and 50% American converts. Additionally, St. Elias has a large number of young adults and younger families that are involved in parish life. Many St. Elias parishioners represent many different occupations including doctors, engineers, software developers, lawyers, nurses, teachers, executives, and entrepreneurs to name a few.
The atmosphere of St. Elias is solemn and reverent without being somber. You will notice a certain peacefulness when you walk into St. Elias. Worship in the Orthodox engages all five senses so the atmosphere is created from the chanting, the smell of the incense, the visual beauty of iconography, etc.
Find Your Community
It’s normal for members to be involved in parish life in various capacities. This could include ushering on Sundays, hosting coffee hours, teaching Sunday school, etc. St. Elias, in particular, provides a lot of opportunities for parishioners to be involved in the liturgical services through helping with preparation, serving as an acolyte, ushering, and the churching of children.
St. Elias focuses its local outreach on individuals in need who live in the immediate Atlanta area through events such as blood and food drives. St. Elias is blessed to have a wonderful church building with many additional spaces and rooms that can be used for outreach. St. Elias has also continued to support in prayer and financially the struggling people in Lebanon and the Middle East through the Patriarchate.
Other Fun Facts
Fr. Gabriel and St. Elias have many YouTube videos that teach the basics of the Orthodox Faith.
Contact & Social Accounts
- Website: stelias.church
- Address: 2045 Ponce de Leon Ave
- Phone: 404-378-8191
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