Bay Ridge

St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church celebrates the Very Rev. Michael Ellias

May 24, 2016 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Eagle photos by John Alexander

On Sunday, May 22, St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church celebrated the Very Rev. Michael Ellias’ 60th birthday and the 30th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.  The event was held in St. Mary’s newly renovated hall and was attended by over 150 guests and parishioners.  

Ellias will have been pastor at St. Mary’s for 14 years this coming August, and he was surrounded by his wife Laila, his son Matthew, his daughter Marie and his father-in-law Dr. John Dalack at the celebration.

Ellias studied Greek and Latin at Dickinson College in Carlise, Pennsylvania, and graduated magna cum laude before attending Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he received his master’s degree in 1982. He enrolled at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y. in 1982 and graduated cum laude with a Master of Divinity degree in 1985.

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In 1986, the Metropolitan Archbishop assigned Ellias as the pastor of St. Elias Church in Sylvania, Ohio. Then he was transferred to St. George Church of Boston, the largest church of the Antiochian Archdiocese.  When the Very Rev. Paul Schneirla retired as pastor of St. Mary’s in 2002, Ellias was transferred to take over.  

St. Mary’s Parish Council President Anthony Zrake said, “It’s hard to imagine a job more daunting than being responsible for shepherding a bunch of sinners like us into heaven. But Father Michael carries out that task, every day.  And he does it with grace, dignity and with honor.  We are fortunate to have him as our pastor, and we pray that God will grant him many more years to serve our beloved parish of St. Mary’s.”

Longtime parishioner Charlie Sahadi, of Sahadi’s Market on Atlantic Avenue, added, “It’s been a pleasure having Father Michael and Laila with us at St. Mary’s these last 14 years. We wish them ‘many years.’”

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Ellias was genuinely moved by the celebration and thanked everyone for attending.  He said, “Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for the privilege of serving in the priesthood in Bay Ridge. This 30th ordination belongs as much to me as it does to my wife, Laila. She shares every ounce of this ministry with me.”

He ended his remarks on a lighter note, admitting, “People may like me, but they love Laila.”

 


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