Founding Father of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
Very Reverend George Harb was born on July 9, 1913 in Ramallah, Palestine, the son of V. Rev. Yousef and Sara Harb. The Harb family has been blessed with eight generations of Orthodox Priests. Father George received his Elementary and Secondary education at Friends Boys School in Ramallah. Father George attended Saint Athanasius Greek Orthodox Seminary in Egypt for seven years, where all classes were conducted in the Greek language. He graduated from the Seminary with a degree in Theology. While in Egypt Father George also furthered his studies in the Arabic Language at a Cairo University. He was fluent in Arabic, Greek, and English. Upon completion of his studies in Egypt, Father George was a teacher, and later was appointed Director of the United Nations Refugee High School in Jaffa. At that time his Father, Fr. Yousef Harb was the parish priest in Jaffa.
In 1951, Father George like his father and grandfather was ordained to the holy priesthood by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem at the Holy Sepulcher. His first parish was St. Elias Greek Orthodox in Haifa, while in Haifa Father George was Professor at the Orthodox High School where he taught Religion.
In 1960 Father George arrived from Palestine to the U.S, and with the blessing of Metropolitan Antony Bashir, Father George was assigned to Re-establish St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon. When Father George arrived in Portland, St. George did not have a permanent priest and was closed due to a shortage of priests in our Archdiocese. Divine services were held occasionally when a priest would visit and perform the Divine Liturgy for the Faithful, after Father George arrived, St. George in Portland was never closed again. Fr. George became St. George’s full-time pastor. During his tenure in 1965, that a larger building was purchased on Southeast Holgate Blvd.
After serving 10 years in Portland, Oregon, Father George was blessed by Metropolitan Phillip Saliba to establish a new mission in San Diego, California. Father George arrived in San Diego with Khourieh in the early spring of 1970 and established a mission dedicated to Saint George. At the Beginning services were held at St. Paul Episcopal Church in 5th Ave. Shortly after the mission was established, the Community of St. George hosted the Western Region Parish Life conference in July, 1970. The Conference was very successful and helped raise funds for the construction of the present Church. Father George worked tirelessly to strengthen and consolidate the community and is was during his tenure, land was donated by two members of the Parish, and eventually a Church was Built in Poplar Street.
In 1973, with the blessing of Metropolitan Phillip, Father George was called again to establish a mission dedicated to Saint George in Jacksonville Florida. Thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ and the effort of the parishioners, the mission was successful and a church was purchased, and St. George Church of Jacksonville became at that time one of the fastest growing parish in the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Due to health reasons Fr.George retired from active priesthood in 1979, and returned to his home in San Diego, California. Fr. George endured to the very end of his life as a man of service to the Lord. Even after retirement from active ministry, he continued to offer himself to Christ’s Church as a servant. He never missed a Divine Liturgy. He was loved by the Arabic speaking Community, and also by the Greek Community of St. Spyridon where he served on many occasions.
On November 3, 2003, Father George reposed at the age of 90 years. He was blessed by God to leave this earthly life peacefully without pain or suffering, at his home surrounded by his loving wife Khourieh Harbieh who was at his side for 65 years, and the rest of his family. His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Joseph, Bishop of Los Angeles and the west, presided the funeral Services along with many priests from Southern California. The Funeral services were attended by hundreds of people. Father George most profound qualities were his humility and his love for all people, without regard to faith or creed.
+++ MEMORY ETERNAL +++