About Us, Mar Elias Community
Mar Elias Community used to be the core parish of Saint Elias Melkite-Greek Catholic Church of San Jose. Our Coomunity sprung out as a result of some unfortunate events. It is important to remember our past and our culture and thus the information below about our beloved church.
About us will have more details about our community soon.
About St Elias Church:
Founded in January 1984; held services at Santa Teresa Roman Catholic Church in San Jose.
St Elias Melkite-Greek Catholic Church is the Melkite Greek Catholic parish for Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo counties, as well as parts of Solano county, in the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California. It encompasses the Roman Catholic Dioceses of San Jose, Oakland, and Monterey, and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The majority of the congregation live in the San Jose and Fremont urban area, within a 20-mile radius of the church.
The congregation of St Elias Church is mainly Greek Catholics from various parts of the Middle East--Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria. But parish membership is not limited to Arabic-speaking Christians; St Elias parish welcomes everyone interested in the Bible-based, family-oriented Christian tradition given to the Apostles and handed down by them in the lands of the Byzantine Empire.
In 1989, the mission found a new home at the chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Fremont.
In 1992, St Elias bought a church and house in Fremont.
The Fremont property was sold and vacated in January 1998.
From February 1998 until September 1999, services were held at St Basil the Great Byzantine Catholic Church in Los Gatos, and the pastor lived at Our Lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic Church in San Francisco.
In August 1999, after a successful “New Home” fund-raising campaign, St Elias purchased a former Protestant church at 4411 Hyland Avenue in East San Jose, a location central to the congregation’s centers of population.
In October 2000, St Elias hosted the National Melkite Clergy Conference and unveiled a new custom-built iconostasis and solea and other interior improvements.
In November 2006, St Elias welcomed Archbishop Cyril Bustros, Eparch of Newton, to San Jose. Archbishop Cyril celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St John Vianney Roman Catholic church, introducing Byzantine worship and spirituality to many people. Following Archbishop Cyril’s visit to the parish, St Elias again hosted the National Melkite Clergy Conference.
In the spring of 2007, parishioners and friends of St Elias raised $51,000 in donations and $59,500 in zero-interest loans, which, combined with a low-interest loan from the diocese, enabled us to pay off our high-interest bank loan and substantially reduce not only our debt but also our monthly expenses.
On September 23 2012, after nearly 17 years as Pastor, Fr. James Graham celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Elias for the last time. Fr. James was assigned to St Ignatios of Antioch Melkite parish in Augusta, Georgia.
No full-time priest was appointed to serve St Elias, owing to the diocesan shortage of priests and the inability of the community to take financial responsibility for a full-time priest.
Starting December 2012, Bishop Nicholas has arranged with Fr George Khoury to supply liturgical and other sacramental services (baptisms, weddings, funerals, anointing of the sick) for the community.
For many reasons and circumstances, Fr. Geoge Khoury is no longer servicing our commumity. Instead, starting June of 2013, Fr. Fady Chidiac who is preparing for his doctorate at UC Berkley took over the services.
Ever since, and since Fr. Fady has many commitments, Reverend Dennis Smolarski is jointly or separatly giving Sunday's liturgy.
Starting March 15, 2015 services were held at the Church of the Transfiguration of San Jose.
On August 30,2015, Bishop Nicholas ordained deacon Sebastian Carnazzo into priesthood. The ordination took place at the Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek Catholic Church, McLean, Verginia.
The newly ordained Fr. Sebastian Carnazzo was appointed by the bishop as the new pastor of St. Elias church and his first liturgy services were held on the 6th of Septemeber, 2015. Under his leadership and bad management, the church broke down and the congregation split into two. Very few hanging on to the remains of the old church followed him, and the majority went on united, looking for a new identity without ever losing their faith, on the hope that one day they go back under the same dome.