Word Magazine January 1978 Page 10/18


By George Ghiz


It need not take those of us of the second generation here in North America too long to remember back to the days when our dear parents, relatives, and friends, who came from Lebanon and Syria, were mostly uneducated, ignorant of the language, lacked financial security, but the struggle and determination to bond themselves together and locate in many parts of their new found land.

The great need and desire to retain their Orthodox Heritage was foremost in their minds, and with sheer courage, determination, fortitude and handwork they set about establishing places of Worship, whatever it be, pooling their small menial funds and slowly but gradually these great wonderful people of strong belief in their reli­gious faith, started us on the path of the future. The wonderful life we have today is a great tribute to these wonderful people.

When we look back, it is so easy to remember the struggling efforts of our people, the great need for Priests, and the Archbishop’s diligent efforts to fill the needs of the new Parishes. The innovative ideas that were created to supply the demands are incredible. If you were there, you remember. We all surely share in these beautiful memories that we shall cherish forever.

We must not forget however, that most of the start of the growth survived the depression era. There was not an abundance of money and affluence, but the faith was there, and with the divine guidance of the Lord, these dedicated men and women persevered, working diligently together with their eyes on the “Captain of Their Souls” our beloved Jesus Christ, and through this all things came to pass. Here we are at this point in time in Orthodoxy in the year 1978.


What we have today now in Orthodoxy is the result of what our ancestors started over a half a century ago.

The Lord has blessed us all with many new edifices, and places of Worship, great spiritual leadership, educated priests, much more sophistication in reading material, music, seminaries and an abundance of the good life to enjoy with our families and friends our religious heritage.

The great concern is, have we so easily forgotten the past! Are we taking too much for granted! Are we becoming too complacent! Are we not concerned with the future of Orthodoxy?

Remember, we have the obligation and responsibility to carry on the same as our ancestors, so that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, at the end of the next half century, these people, the people of Orthodoxy can look back and have the same beautiful memories as we now have and cherish.

We must always remember that what we now have did not come easily. It was a difficult, long, long, hard struggle, but with faith and the Lord’s help we are here.

We must all unite together now — not tomorrow but NOW!

We must soon set sound growth plans for the future. Implement all new sophisticated, organizational proce­dures, concentrate heavily on the youth programs, and so much more. At present we have the fundamental ba­sis for unlimited growth. We have the great leadership of our beloved Metropolitan who has demonstrated his desires and beliefs in the future. We have intelligent, educated men and women who perform duties both at the Archdiocese level and the local Church level.

Comparatively speaking, if we put forth the same effort that our ancestors did in the past, in the same proportion, Orthodoxy will have a most profound future. Think about it, our ancestors started with only faith and perseverance, we have everything to start with.

The foundation has been prepared and if we unite and dedicate ourselves in the same manner as in the past, God will lead us to the highest realms of faith and strengthen Orthodoxy to the highest levels.


I’m sure you will all agree that there will be no great tomorrow unless we start moving forward now.

We must apply all the energy possible, sacrifice our time and money and whatever is necessary to move ahead. “In Unity there is Strength”, we all know this. Let’s unite now!

We are blessed with an abundance of a new beautiful life of affluence and happiness. We are blessed with so many things too many to mention, that were certainly not there at the beginning for our ancestors in their struggle to retain their Orthodox Heritage.

Let’s not allow one more day to pass without making up our minds as to how to commence the march forward. Let’s make this our new year’s resolution!

A phrase so well put by our late president, John F. Kennedy, converted to our challenge, “It is not what the Church and Archdiocese can do for you, it is what you can do for the Church and the Archdiocese.

Like every other type of institution or religion that succeeds, money is required. I’m sorry to say, there is no substitute.

As we all know our ancestors did not have much money, but they gave what they could and look what they accomplished.

We can accomplish so much more now if we do sacrifice our time, energy and money. This is real stewardship.

Our Church and our Archdiocese require so much to accomplish the new goals, inflation is on all of us, but imagine when we all unite, and every Orthodox member contributes just a little more, then the Archdiocese will have the strength to flex their muscles and in return, offer better music, more priests, better education, better Theological Schools and just better everything.

Time rapidly moves on, and we really do not have the time — Now we must commence.

If we want to mention our beautiful precious Ortho­doxy, and leave eternal memories for our children, grand­children and great grandchildren, now is the time to act.

I sincerely hope that with God’s Blessings, this message will reach all of you and allow you the time to digest this article, and that God will open all of your minds to the Past, the Present and the Future and unite with us in this work for God. Orthodoxy will be strong forever.


Mr. George Ghiz is a member of St. George Church in Phoenix, Arizona, a member of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch and a successful businessman.