Fr. James, originally from Oklahoma City, OK, was reared in an Orthodox Christian home. (His grandfather, Economos Nayemtallah Shadid, served as a priest in the village of Mrjeyoun, Lebanon). Fr. James studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of Oklahoma and continued his studies in Boston at Holy Cross Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. He also spent a year studying Arabic at the Balamand Theological Seminary in Lebanon.
On October 5, 2002 he married Gigi (Gizelle) Baba here at St. George. Fr. James possesses significant experience ministering to the youth of our Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America and our Archdiocese of North America, including service to youth at our Antiochian Village Camp. He worked as a counselor at the Antiochian Village (Bolivar, PA) for nine years and served as Camp Director of Camp St. Raphael.
Fr. James was ordained to the Holy Diaconate September 19, 2004 at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on October 17, 2004 at St. Elijah Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, OK. He formerly served as the Assistant Priest and Youth Director at our Cathedral in Wichita, KS. Fr. James was assigned as the pastor of our parish in August 2011.
Fr. James was elevated to the rank and dignity of Archpriest on November 1, 2015 by His Grace Bishop Basil.
Father Symeon Kees
Fr. Symeon orginally from West Virginia, was received into the Orthodox Church at our parish. He received a B.A., summa cum laude, in Basic Humanities with a Religious Studies concentration from Marshall University (WV) and a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary (KY). After becoming Orthodox, Fr. Symeon was sent to St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary (PA), where he received a second Master of Divinity degree, this time graduating with Distinction in Scripture.
Fr. Symeon is married to Jing (Anastasia) Kees. He has served as the second priest at our parish since his ordination to the Holy Priesthood in 2010.
Fr. Symeon also currently serves as Spiritual Director of The Saint Constantine School.
Father Joseph Shahda
Fr. Joseph, a native of Pennsylvania, married Anita Sam at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Bridgeville, PA. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in Philadelphia, PA on July 4, 1976.
Before moving to Houston, he served as a deacon and then pastor of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA from 1976-1983.
Fr. Joseph holds a B.S. in Education from Millersville University (Millersville, PA) in addition to a Bachelor of Theology degree from Christ the Savior Carpatho-Russian Seminary (Johnstown, PA) and a Master of Education degree from Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA).
Fr. Joseph served as the pastor of our parish from 1983 to 1999.
ArchDeacon Joseph originally from Livingston, TN, received a BS degree in Chemistry from Cameron University (Lawton, OK) in 1975 and a MA degree in Chemistry from Princeton University (Princeton, NJ). He was received into the Orthodox Church on March 26, 1978 in the Holy Transfiguration Chapel (OCA) at Princeton University. He married Luba Anne Pacala at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, PA on May 6, 1978.
ArchDeacon Joseph earned a PhD in Chemistry at Princeton University in 1981. He subsequently completed the Late Vocations Program of the Orthodox Church in America and, on September 24, 2000, was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at Holy Transfiguration Chapel at Princeton University. ArchDeacon Joseph served as a Deacon at the Holy Transfiguration Chapel (OCA) at Princeton (2000-2001), Archangel Michael Mission (OCA) in Humble, TX (2001-2004), and St. Cyril of Jerusalem Mission (OCA) in The Woodlands, TX (2004-2007).
Having been received into our Antiochian Archdiocese, He has served as the Deacon of our parish since 2007 to 2015.
Deacon Joseph Carter was elevated to the rank and dignity of Archdeacon on November 1, 2015 by His Grace Bishop Basil.