St. Nicholas Orthodox Church


The History of

St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church

Beckley, West Virginia 


Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church of Beckley, WV came about in response to the needs of many individuals who came to Beckley to become part of the economy that was built around the local coal mines.  Organized in 1943, with the late Metropolitan ANTONY (Bashir) of blessed memory presiding at the first meeting, the church grew quickly.  A year later a lot for the church was purchased at the present site on South Heber Street.  Despite the shortages generated by World War II, then still raging, the community began to build a church, first with the lower portion, which now serves as the Church Hall.  After the War ended, the post-war boom led to economic improvement and by 1957 the second story, the church proper, was completed.  The church was dedicated by Metropolitan Anthony on June 23 of the same year.  In 1965 the current rectory was purchased. 

In October of 1967, Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba) of blessed memory, who succeeded the late Metropolitan ANTONY in 1966, consecrated the church, placing into the Holy Table the relics of St. Sebastian the Martyr.  Two years later the mortgage was burned, and in 1970 the church hall was remodeled. 

During the intervening years the decline of the coal industry around the nation took its toll on Beckley as well.  The resulting economic short-fall was felt by everyone, including the parish.  Many young people left West Virginia after completing their education.  In some cases whole families chose to move out of state rather than see their businesses dissolve in front of them.  As a result the community slowly decreased in size.  Since 1993 the community has begun to recover.  St. Nicholas Church, the only Orthodox Church in Beckley, has opened its arms to all who wish to embrace the faith of the apostles, who were “first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26 ). 

Several pastors served the spiritual needs of the community in the intervening years.  Chief among them were the founding pastor Fr. Michael Hubak, Archimandrite Basil Kazan, and the late Very Reverend Economos Zacharia Nasr who was appointed pastor in 1970.  He was followed by Frs. Thomas Galloway, Vladimir Demschuk, Paul Nemr, Archimandrite Denis Lajoie, and Reverend Michael Tassos.  On September 1, 2002 the Very Reverend Father Samuel Haddad was assigned as the current pastor.

Today, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church is a growing and vibrant parish community.  Although the vast majority of the founding Lebanese families are no longer present, many have joined our parish family from very diverse backgrounds.  A large portion of our current growth comes from individuals and families have converted to the Orthodox Faith.  Also, Orthodox Christians who have moved to the Beckley area in the last decade have found a spiritual home at St. Nicholas. Therefore, we now have members who are American converts, a small number of founding Lebanese families and their children, and families from Russia, Ethiopia, India, Ukraine, Croatia, Egypt, and Romania. All services are celebrated in English.


Some Important Dates

October 23, 1943 - The first meeting with Metropolitan Anthony Bashir presiding

February 1944 - Lot purchased on Heber Street for $8500.

1948 - Church hall was completed (basement) at a cost of $37,500. Permanent priest being assigned by the Archdiocese. 

1956 - Under the spiritual guidance of Father Michael Hoback, construction of the new church commenced. 

March 1957 - Church completed at the cost of approximately $50,000. 

June 23, 1957 - New church consecrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony Bashir. 

Early 1965 - Meeting room and office were donated by a parishioner and dedicated by His Eminence Anthony Bashir. 

September 1965 - Brick house on 105 Lilly Street was purchased as a parish house at a cost of $21,000. 

October 8, 1967 - His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba blessed the 12 beautiful, newly installed stained glass windows. At this time the holy Altar table containing the Holy Relics of Saint Sebastian, an early martyr of the Church, was consecrated. 

August 31, 1969 - Final mortgage was burned in the church. This was the first time that the church was free of debt since 1956. 

Spring, 1970 - The interior of the church was completely remodeled at a cost of $7,000. 

Summer, 2006 - Newly completed addition is dedicated by His Grace Bishop THOMAS.

December 22, 2010 – The Kursk Root Icon visits St. Nicholas Orthodox Church


The Priests Who Served Our Parish

Fr. Samuel Haddad 

2002 - present

Fr. Michael Tassos

1997 – 2002

Fr. Michael Clancy 


Fr. Denis Lajoie 

1993 – 1997

Fr. Olof Scott (Acting Priest)


Fr. Paul Nimmer 

1989 – 1992

Fr. Vladimir Demchuck 

1988 – 1989

Fr. Tom Gallaway  

1982 – 1988

Fr. Zacharia Nasr 

1972- 1982

Fr. Basil Sedaka 


Fr. John Corey 


Fr. Constantine Massoud   

1965 – 1970

Fr. Massabni  


Fr. Elias J. Armistead 

1964 – 1965

Fr. Athanasius Emmert 

1963 – 1964

Fr. Basil Kazan 

1962 – 1963

Fr. John Sakab  


Fr. John Newcombe

1958 – 1960

Fr. Michael Huback   

1956 – 1958

Fr. John Khourey 


Fr. Mahfooth 


Fr. Habib



HomeClergyAbout OrthodoxyParish HistoryOur Patron SaintContact InformationDriving DirectionsService ScheduleLinks
  Home Back Top Powered by Orthodox Web Solutions