Growing Orthodoxy in Central Texas: A New Noah’s Ark


Shammassey Geri Priscilla Farman – 3/2/15


St. Elias Orthodox Church is at an important milestone on the path of expanding Orthodox Christianity in Central Texas. We have found a beautiful piece of land on a ridge overlooking one of the most important intersections in the Austin area. The church that will be built here will be located near the center of population growth in the nation’s fastest-growing suburbs. This particular area is projected to be a new “downtown.”

The actual legal description of this land includes the name “Noah’s Ark!”  This isn’t the main reason to choose this site—but, it certainly is a reminder that the Christian Church is the “Ark of Salvation.” Like the original Noah’s Ark—this one will be on a high hill. When the church is built, people will be able to see it from at least 8 miles north of the site—a very visible landmark and testimony to Christianity.

Founding a New Orthodox Christian Church in Austin: why should I help?

For those who have already discovered Orthodoxy, here is an opportunity to witness to the Orthodox Church in the fastest growing city in the United States! So many people in this region are frustrated that there are few churches to attend! At present, people are coming to Saint Elias from as far away as 50 miles. The need for a larger network of churches throughout the region is becoming more and more apparent. In response to that need, the community of Saint Elias chose to found a second campus to add space for our current church family now and for years to come.

Through this project, all Orthodox Christians everywhere can help found a church!

For those who haven’t discovered the “Original Christian church” but who believe in Christ and want to help others hear the Good News—here is a chance to help. As you know, there are many people who have lost interest in the church options that are common in the United States. The visibility of this new church may spark a new or renewed interest in the Christian faith as people explore what is unique about Orthodox Christianity. In fact, this church is directly connected to the Original one founded in Antioch: “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” Acts 11: 26.

For more information on this ancient faith, check out:

When will this happen?

We hope to “close” on this land this spring—but, need help to have sufficient funds. Once the land is purchased, we will start to collect funds for the actual construction of the new church buildings. We hope to start construction in 2016. Preliminary drawings show how beautiful this new church will be.

How can I help?

The cost of the 7 acres of land is $800,000. We have raised $441,000 already and your donations will help bring us closer to bridging the gap before the “Closing.” Here are some things you can do:

Donate! Every dollar helps. Jesus was very clear in the Parable of the Widow’s Mite that a “meaningful gift” to God is not about the size of the gift—it is about the size of the heart. Her “two mites” were small monetarily—but represented all that she had. Truly, every dollar will help.

Spread the word! Please “share” this project with everyone you know!

Join in our “Eastern” Events! St. Elias Orthodox Church is a pan-Orthodox church (meaning our parishioners come from all over the world and all Orthodox flavors (Greek, Russian, Texan, Eritrean, Romanian…). BUT, our church was founded by Middle Eastern Orthodox Christians. Because of that, we have two “Eastern” events you may want to take part in:

* * Mediterranean Festival (MedFest) October 16-17, 2015—come enjoy Middle Eastern food, Eritrean food, Greek and Arabic Dancing: 408 E. 11th in downtown Austin. It’s the oldest food festival in Austin!!

* * Grand Hafli—late spring. Date and place will be announced soon. What is a Hafli? Arabic partying at its best. Come and see.

To keep informed about these events, check out: Facebook ; and/or visit our webpage: .

Corporate Donations

St. Elias Orthodox Church is a 5013C organization that accepts charitable donations from individuals and corporations.