Naples, Florida
(Serving Southwest Florida)
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St. Paul History
St Paul History

If the members of the Parish Family of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Naples were asked to describe our church community, an accurate detailing would be easy to come by. All would agree that St. Paul is indeed a parish for the entire Archdiocese located in a spot as close to paradise as we are going to get here on earth: swaying palm trees, brilliant warm sunny days, sparkling water, well manicured landscapes plus the friendliest, most caring parish family one could imagine. St. Paul is a home away from home for those who are seasonal, as well as, a primary parish for permanent Florida residents. Members hail from every area of the United States and Canada and include Antiochian Orthodox as well as our Greek, Romanian, Slavic, Russian and Serbian Orthodox brothers and sisters. In addition, a goodly number of our flock has chosen to come to Orthodoxy. We welcome new faces and trust that the flowing history of our parish will be of interest to all. Please note that for the sake of brevity, in this thumb nail sketch, we will not name many names and we will skip over a multitude of events recognizing that all of our history is exceedingly important but equally, that space is of the essence. Apologies are offered in advance for omissions and heartfelt thanks extended to everyone who has been a part of the creation of St. Paul Orthodox Church in Naples. (Listing of Founders is included in this Souvenir Journal) In the mid-90’s a small group of Antiochian Orthodox Christians from the greater Marco Island/Fort Myers/Naples area clearly recognized the need for an Antiochian Church in Southwest Florida. The Very Reverend Father Elia Shalhoub, Dean of St. George Cathedral in Miami, was contacted and subsequently arranged for The Reverend Basil and Khoureyee Janet Banyasz to help establish a Mission Church. A period of organization was begun by our Founding Members. During the next several years, Father Basil celebrated Divine Liturgy in a number of locations, moving to larger accommodations as word spread that a new Antiochian Orthodox Mission had been established. It became evident that it was necessary to formalize the Mission’s structure within the Antiochian Archdiocese. Parish Council Members were appointed; membership, by-laws, assessments, salaries, etc. were discussed. Our First Annual Founders Day Celebration was held and a name was chosen. St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Mission of Naples, Florida officially came to be when on March 8, 1998 Metropolitan PHILIP awarded the parish its Antimens. With membership steadily growing it became imperative for us to find a permanent home. And find a home we did on a ten acre tract of land with an existing house on Immokalee Road. Father Basil and our Parish Council moved swiftly, negotiated a fair price, and arranged financing backed by gifts from the Founders all within a period of two weeks! Work was begun immediately to transform the existing structure into a church and clean up the land. Pews were purchased from another church, carpet laid, icons, crosses, fans, candle holders, censors, Divine Liturgy Books were donated and an iconostasis was built by members of the Mission. A Liturgical Choir was formed. February of 1999 brought Bishop ANTOUN to our now second annual Founders Day Celebration. He was quite overwhelmed and pleased with the progress of our project. During that year new members were elected to the Parish Council, a Women’s Club was formed. The millennium brought growing numbers to our Divine Liturgy. Space was re-designed to provide additional seating. On January 15, 2000 a milestone was achieved when the Parish Council voted to pay off the mortgage on the land. A Building Committee was formed. In March, our Third Annual Founders Banquet honored Archpriest Joseph Antypas and Archpriest Elia and Khoureyee Odette Shalhoub as guests of honor. During this year we bid farewell to Father Basil and Khoureyee Janet and welcomed Father Joseph Shaheen and Khoureyee Diane who came to us after spending the last thirty-one years in Montreal. A move to paradise! In 2001, in order to make ready for future structures, the race track at the back of the parking lot was torn down. Bishop ANTOUN, during his address at our Founders Day celebration in February, gave us the directive to raise funds so that we might begin to build. Pledges in the amount of $450,000.00 were the immediate result. The Building Committee conducted a search for, and found a suitable architect, engineer and a construction firm. We then submitted a total site plan to the county to rezone our property. Experience has taught that this process could be a lengthy one. In the mean time, the Building Committee, working with the architect, began to design the new church building. Fundraising shifted into high gear. We received our final zoning permit in December of 2003 and planning intensified. Bishop ANTOUN presided over the Marking of the Foundation of the new church in February 2004. Metropolitan PHILIP has blessed us with his generous presence for the Groundbreaking Celebration this weekend. The permanent edifice of St. Paul Church has evolved from being a dream in the hearts and souls of our Founders to becoming, by the grace of God, a parish for the entire Archdiocese to call home. Let’s Make It Happen! And it continued: Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop ANTOUN and Bishop JOSEPH turned the earth to begin the building of the Church on Sunday, October 31, 2004. But it didn’t start right away/ Although the zoning had been completed, the architect’s drawings were submitted to the County for Building Permits in late July of 2004. Approval was not received until late March of 2005, when site work began. Construction began in May when the footings for the foundation of the church were laid, and on Sunday, June 19, 2005, a silver cross was buried in the earth in the space where the future altar would be placed. As we worshipped in our original church, we could watch the new church take form as the building grew. God was gracious and the one hurricane that had landfall in our area did damage to our original church, but it was still used for services. On December 30, 2005, approximately 40 people gathered to watch the dome of the church be lifted into place. We began with prayer and watched, as the dome - like a flying saucer went from the ground to complete the roof of the church - adding a crowning touch. Work went quickly as we approached Founders’ Day Number 9, we received permission from the county to use the yet to be finished church for services on Sunday while the old church was to be torn down. On Friday, February 24, 2006, Vesper Service on the eve of the Saturday of the Dead, the last service was held in our original church. We prayed for our departed loved ones, we removed all the religious articles from the church, led by Bishop ANTOUN, and we placed them in the yet unfinished church. Sunday, February 26, 2006, Bishop ANTOUN blessed the church and our first liturgy was held in the new building. Now we worshipped in our new church as we watched our old church being demolished. Although it had been our home for a short while, it was sad to see it go. On March 26, 2006, we received our Certificate of Occupancy. The county had declared the church completed, but it was only a building - not yet recognized as an Orthodox Church. In February 2007, Metropolitan PHILIP was present for our 10th Anniversary, but the church still did not have an iconostasis. It was completed for Easter of that year. The Archdiocese informed us that we did not have a Constitution and By-Laws on file. The Council prepared and approved a Constitution on November 17, 2006 / adopted by the Parish on February 18, 2007 and approved by the Metropolitan on March 6, 2007. The task of decorating the church began in earnest: -the iconostasis, church furnishings and icons. An appeal was made to the people for contributions and quickly all the items were donated. The parishioners responded to every appeal and a limited note was required to complete the funding of the church and this was the “Mortgage.” St. Paul has been greatly blessed with people who liked the vision and the dream that was projected. With gratitude for the past and an effort to create for the future, these people who are not members of St. Paul, have greatly helped to advance the Burning of the Mortgage. Through their love and generosity, they have given $750,000 to our parish - much of which was used for the church construction and the most recent grant was used to complete the payment of the mortgage. Although the history of the parish is brief, the future depends on the vision and purpose that is to be determined. We are grateful that Metropolitan PHILIP has accepted to be with us and he, along with Bishop ANTOUN, will expect us not to simply bask in this glory - but to reach from glory to glory. This is not the official history of the parish, but simply a review of major events from our past. February 22, 2009

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Metropolitan Joseph Appoints Bishop Nicholas to Lead the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Is 40:8 Dear Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and Christ-loving Faithful, Blessing and greetings to you in the Name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus! With profound sadness, yet hope in the Resurrection, I announce the passing into eternal life of my beloved brother, Bishop ANTOUN. Words cannot begin to describe our debt of gratitude to His Grace nor our sense of loss at his falling asleep. As our senior, and for many years our only, auxiliary bishop, he traveled the width and breadth of our God-protected Archdiocese. He was sincerely loved by all – young and old – and he will be greatly missed. All of us who were blessed to witness his retirement banquet this past July in Miami were greatly moved by the effort he made to be with his people one last time. Now we are comforted and assured that he will eternally pray for his people at the throne of God.




Fr. Paul will conduct a class for those who are already serving and also those who are interested in becoming a server on the altar. We encourge all young men to request a meeting so you can learn the duties and the purpose of those who serve on the Altar. Thank you and please attend.

Parents please bring your interested boys so they may grow to love serving Christ’s Church. Next class will be announced.

Petition to Free Kidnapped His Eminence Metropolitan Paul and Archbishop John

His Eminence sends warm Greetings and Love. He would like to inform you about a petition (link below) that will be presented to the White House and the United Nations. Please sign it and encourage parishioners to do the same. Also, please keep His Eminence Metropolitan Paul and Archbishop John in your prayers.

Please click on the link below in order to upload Petition for you to Sign. Thank you for your help.

Wish List

REQUEST:  for Prosphora or Altar Bread Bakers Needed - Please assist Fr. Paul. 

St. Paul Book Shop & Unique Boutique

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"The Book Shop and the Unique Boutique are OPEN every Sunday during the season. Featured in the beginning of February will be small standing crosses of various designs which can be used at home or placed on the dashboards of your cars. Prayer Cards will also be available. Perfect for including with greeting cards as a special blessing. Please come and take a look!"

For those who are "Out Of Town", you may purchase any of our beautiful items by contacting Barbara Hebeka at . A form of payment available to you is the system "Paypal" located towards the bottom of our website.


It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of a series of 7 DVDs which celebrates the history of our St. Paul Naples Parish and our beloved Pastor, Father Joe. The series is composed of disks containing: +”St. Paul Old and New” – One disk of historical pictorial mementos which was shown during our 2017 Founders’ Celebration +”Father Joe’s Life in Photos”- A one disk collection + “Sermons by Father Joe” - 5 DVDs containing various sermons The entire collection is now available for purchase at The St. Paul Book Shop at a donation of $5.00 per DVD. DVDs were recorded, produced and donated by Dr. Mace and Joan Shaheen. May God grant them many years!

Flea Market

Back by popular demand, St. Paul AOC will again have its first fall Flea Market on Nov. 18th. Please contact Anna Castley to reserve your spot. Again let us thank Ann as she continues her hard work for this function.

Coffee Hour

Please join us for COFFEE-AND Fellowship immediately following Liturgy each Sunday. If you would like to host a Coffee Hour, please add your name to the sign-up sheet in the foyer. COFFEE HOUR offers our parish family the opportunity to welcome new faces as well as catch up with those members of our parish family whom we already know.

Until our pavillion has been repaired, stop by the kitchen, grab a coffee and something tasty, and wander into the conference room for some conversation.

Prayers for the Memory of:

Rosa Marie Johnson (Luciano) by the Benfatti Family



Pancake Breakfast - Sunday, Jan. 21, after Liturgy - come and enjoy!

“Laces of Love” - Don’t forget! Bring your sneaker donation(s) to the conference room this week (Jan. 14-21)!

Founders' Weekend Welcome to His Grace Bishop Nicholas - February 11 - See Event Flyer!

2018 Stewardship Campaign & Pledge Drive - Commit to godly stewardship by responding to this pledge drive. It is the most effective way for you to be part of the growth at St. Paul Church. We are simply tenants in the world. By being faithful with all these things God has given us, we are expressing our gratitude, for all things, to Him.

Fellowship Hour - sponsors needed - Sign up sheet on board in hallway!

House Blessing - To schedule your house blessing and establish a “bond of holiness” between The Church and your home, contact Fr. Paul (; 509.845.4540) or simply call the parish office (239.348.0828)




Sunday School

Come join us for a valuable lesson in Christianity

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Plans are underway for the Fall season


If you do not receive THE WORD MAGAZINE from the Archdiocese, and are interested in doing so, please inform Fr. Paul or visit to simply view it online. 

Order Of St. Ignatius Of Antioch

First, Click on Box Above For Slideshow. Next, Click on the following listed areas for more pertinent information.

1.Home 2.St. Ignatius of Antioch 3.What is The Order 4.Governing Council 5.Finances 6.Articles 7.Video 8.Contact


 Of all of the saints particularly loved by Antiochian Orthodox, St. Ignatius ranks somewhere near the top of the list. Of Syrian origin, St. Ignatius, otherwise known as Theophorus, which in Greek means "God-­‐Bearer," led the Christian Church during a critical period of her history. Pious tradition has always maintained that he was the little child that Christ held on His lap when he uttered the immortal words, “Let the children come unto me.” What is known for certain is that he grew up to be a disciple of the Apostles, St. Peter personally ordained him a Bishop, and his name is mentioned in the book of Romans.

Antiochian Women Of St. Paul

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Antiochian Women presenting flowers to the two

Pastors and their families


Antiochian Women Announce 2017 Project Theme

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Facts of Interests

Lighting Candles & Entering the Church

Lighting candles is an important expression in Orthodox worship services. We light them as we prayerfully enter the Church. When lighting a candle, the worshiper prays that his or her life will shine forth full of faith. Lighting a candle symbolically honors Christ and affirms one as His follower. The burning candle symbolizes the warmth and sincerity of our prayers. It is also a common practice to light a candle for someone in need, to honor a saint, or to commemorate a deceased loved one. When we enter. Paul, we should light a candle and then reverence the icons by making the sign of the Cross and kissing the icon (this is a sign of spiritual love and respect, not the worship of an object). After paying reverence to the icon and lighting our candle in the Narthex, parishioners should immediately and quietly enter the Nave of the church, in order to actively participate in the worship of the Lord our God.

We do not enter or leave the Church when:

  • The Priest is facing the congregation.
  • The Priest censes the congregation.
  • During a Procession, the Small Entrance, when the Priest carries the Holy Gospel;
  • Or during the Great Entrance, when the Priest carries the Holy Gifts.
  • During the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel.
  • During the Sermon.

Handling the Blessed Bread

Upon receiving Holy Communion and/or at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, it is customary for all those who participated in the prayer of the Church to come forward to receive a piece of “blessed bread” as a sign of thanksgiving. While the bread that is distributed is not consecrated, it is blessed and as such, it should be consumed carefully and respectfully. Everyone that attends Divine Liturgy, Orthodox and non-­‐Orthodox alike, may receive the blessed bread as an expression of love and Christian fellowship.



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CREDIT CARD DONATION IS NOW AVAILABLE For more information: e-mail:,

or visit


Reminder: "Amazon" via St. Paul Website
AMAZON SMILE located bottom left

This is a great opportunity to increase funds for St Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church through AmazonSmile donations by reminding our supporters to shop at Spread the word to our parishioners and friends. Support us when you shop. "StartWithaSmile" at and Amazon donates to St Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church. Thank you.

Church Finder Reviews

Request to all Parishioners

As you may already know, there is a website labeled Church Finder.

Please write a review of our Church to enhance the attraction to our beautiful Church and family.

The steps are as follows:

  • Google "Church Finder"
  • Click on Church Finder (Find a Church)
  • Write Naples inside the oval box - wait for "Naples, Fl" in drop box then click on it and press enter.
  • Scroll down to the listing St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church and click on it.
  • To the right of our Church's picture click on "Write A Review"
  • Please fill in the areas and then click on the right Star. That will give us a 5-star rating.
  • Click on the small square "I'm not a robot"
  • Click on Submit.

St. Paul Church appreciates all your efforts.

Ancient Faith Podcasts

Ancient Faith Podcasts Selected Ancient Faith Radio audio podcasts. Full Collection. Daily Faith Encouraged Daily: “What Is It?”

See bottom of website for direct connection to Podcast.

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Ancient Faith Ministries/Radio
Ancient Faith Ministries/Radio
Monthly Calendar
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We now have a direct link

via our website.

If you would like to join our Mailing List, please fill out the following form.

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