Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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Families who emigrated from Middle Eastern countries to the United States a great wave that began in the late nineteenth century found their way to Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory between 1890 and 1900. One group gravitated to both Tulsa in the early 1900s. Most, if not all of these families adhered to the Eastern or Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, and for several decades a growing religious community in Tulsa maintained their faith with the help of traveling priests and bishops who held services in private homes. Antiochian Orthodox parishes did much to ease the transition from the cultures of the old countries to life in America.

An Antiochian parish was officially established in Tulsa 1959 with the assignment of Father Secabe as a permanent priest, and the congregation raised funds to buy property for a church building. Ground was broken in 1960, and a church was built. In 1976 a new building was acquired. Father Michael Keiser and Father George Eber led these efforts. At the beginning of the twenty-first century the congregation continued to worship at St. Antony Church at 2645 E. Sixth in Tulsa. St. Antony Church is affiliated with the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Southwest Region, headquartered at St. George Cathedral, Wichita, Kansas. In addition to Middle Easterners, many of whom are of Syrian-Lebanese descent, the congregation also includes Russians of Orthodox religious background.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Tom Caldwell, "From the Hills of Lebanon: The Syrian-Lebanese in Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 64 (Summer 1986). Antony Gabriel, "A Retrospective: One Hundred Years of Antiochian Orthodox Christianity in North America," in The First One Hundred Years: A Centennial Anthology Celebrating Antiochian Orthodoxy in North America (Englewood, N.J.: Antakya Press, 1995). "History, Saint Antony Church," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Tulsa (Oklahoma) Tribune, 2 January 1988 and 3 March 2001.

Dianna Everett

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