St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church
Saint Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys began serving Orthodox Christians in the San Fernando Valley on January 12, 1969. It started with a small group of people who decided there was a need for a church in the Valley.
With the goal of celebrating our first liturgy on January 12, 1969, enough space was located at the Mid-Valley Y.M.C.A. to hold liturgy and church school. Families were enrolled, the church school was staffed, a choir was formed, arrangements were made for a priest, and His Eminence, Archbishop PHILIP (Saliba), gave his blessing. Valuable assistance and advice was provided by Fr. Paul Romley, Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, Fr. Gabriel Ashie of St. Luke’s Orthodox Church in Garden Grove, and Fr. James Meena, then Director of Sacred Music and Religious Education for the Archdiocese.
During the planning for the first liturgy, a Methodist church, which would suit our needs, was located through the efforts of Dr. Edward Deeb. On January 12, 1969, as originally scheduled, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated, not at the Y.M.C.A., but in our current church building with Fr. Paul Romley officiating. Subsequently, the church property consisting of 1.25 acres of land, an “A” frame church, and a fellowship center was purchased.
St. Michael grew from mission status to a church in a very short time. In the ensuing years, it was recognized that a new church, classroom building, and hall would be needed to accommodate the growth of the community, making it necessary to acquire additional property. This was accomplished by purchasing two parcels of land located to the east of the church, which increased the church property to 3.1 acres. Through direct donations, bake sales, rummage sales, socials, and numerous other fundraisers, the properties were paid off and the last mortgage was burned in 1984.
A master plan was then drawn up for a new church complex, consisting of a church, fellowship center and parking structure. The project was completed in three phases, starting with the fellowship center. Michael Malouf negotiated a unique financial plan with Bank Audi, California, which made it possible to move ahead with the hall and classroom building. Through the efforts of Michael and Jack Malouf, who have assumed responsibility for the construction of the building, the new St. Michael Fellowship Center was completed and in operation by the spring of 1995.
As a community we are grateful for God’s guidance, and for the dedication, love, hard work, and unyielding spirit of those who served St. Michael Church, and thus made it possible for the parish to grow spiritually and to prosper.