FR. MICHEL NAJIM
V. Rev. Fr. Michel Najim, Dean & Great Economos The Very Reverend Fr. Michel Najim is our leader and shepherd. He felt a calling to serve God as a young child. In 1962 at age 13 he entered Balamand Seminary to begin his religious studies. He graduated from Balamand in 1974, one year ahead of schedule. He met Kh. Eva in 1975 and they were married in 1977. He is the father of 3 wonderful children. In the same year as his marriage he was ordained Deacon, and then shortly after was elevated to the Priesthood. He is fluent in Arabic, English, modern and classical Greek, Latin, Ancient Hebrew, and French. He also can read Spanish and German. From 1979 to 1985 he was Dean of St. John of Damascus school of Theology at Balamand University In 1987 while at St. Athanasius Academy he began assisting Fr. Paul Romley at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles. In 1989 he became Archpriest and now serves us as Dean and Great Eccnomus of our Cathedral and was instrumental in getting our Spanish Mission started. He calls all to a lifetime of commitment to God.
Rev. Fr. CALINIC BERGER
Father Calinic was born in Detroit, Michigan and baptized by his maternal grandfather at the St. Simion Romanian Orthodox Church. In 1969 his family moved to California. As a child and as a teen he attended the Orthodox Church of the Redeemer in Los Altos Hills, California where he formed the desire to serve God as a priest. Having graduated from Santa Clara University in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, he later enrolled in the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, graduating in 1994. Following seminary, he enrolled in the doctoral program in Patristics and historical theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, completing his PhD in 2003. In between and during his theological studies, he worked as an electrical engineer in the semiconductor industry. Feeling called to serve the Church, he decided to leave his job and was ordained to the holy diaconate in 2005 and to the holy priesthood in 2006. Father Calinic has served as Visiting Professor of Dogmatic Theology at St. Vladimir’s Seminary has taught and published on Orthodox theology and spiritual life in a variety of venues. Prior to coming to St. Nicholas, he was the pastor of Holy Cross Romanian Orthodox Church in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, from 2006 to 2015. He was appointed assistant pastor at St Nicholas on December 6, 2015.
FR. GEORGE TAWEEL
George Taweel Rev. Fr. George Taweel is an Assistant Pastor at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. Fr. Georges ministry spans 11 years as a Subdeacon, 10 years as a Deacon and in July 2008 he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. His undergraduate degree is in Music Education with a Masters Degree in Applied Orthodox Theology from the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, Balamand University. He is also a graduate of the St. Stephens and the Antiochian House of Studies programs. Along with his wife Kh. Kimberly they have raised two wonderful children. Their son serves as an officer in the United States Navy Submarine service. Their daughter is an accomplished musician in the entertainment business. As an altar boy in the Russian Church Fr. George felt a calling to serve God. Eventually he came into this service at St. Michaels Van Nuys and then joined us here to St. Nicholas. In addition to the activities mentioned below he frequently serves as a substitute Priest in various around Southern California. During his time at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Fr. Taweel has been a Sunday School Teacher, Spiritual Adviser to the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Cathedral Choir Director, Parish Council member, Chairman of the Charitable Ministries and Stewardship Committees, and founding member of the Friday Morning Mens Fellowship. At St. Michael, Van Nuys, Fr. Taweel has served as a sub-deacon, VP of Parish Council, Stewardship Chairman, and Sunday school teacher. Regionally, Fr. Taweel has been Western Region Choir Director, Founding member of the Diocese Committee on Marriage and Family Counseling. Nationally, Fr. George along with his wife Khr. Kimberly wrote, produced, and directed FROM ANTIOCH TO LA a gala musical event created and presented for the visit of His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV. Fr. Taweel has been a featured speaker and lecturer at regional and national conferences and conventions for our Archdiocese and other Orthodox jurisdictions. The WELCOME HOME documentary chronicles the journey of the former Evangelical Orthodox Church into canonical Orthodoxy and is a landmark evangelical media tool that was produced, directed and written by Fr. Taweel. He has also been on the Advisory Board of Conciliar Press. Fr. Georges other full time job is as an entertainment veteran with 40 years of experience in the film, television, DVD, music, radio, live event, and new media businesses. In the world of Christian Media, Fr. Taweel has produced MCGEE AND ME!, SECRET ADVENTURES, THE KIDS’ TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE CRIPPLED LAMB, THE LEGEND OF THE THREE TREES and others. He was the Founding Director of the Catholic Television Network: HEART OF THE NATION, Founding Board member of the Catholic media ministry of THE ST. DAMIANO FOUNDTION, and longtime Board Member of MASTERMEDIA INTERNATIONAL, a ministry to entertainment professionals and companies world-wide.
FR. PAUL OLSON
The Rev. Fr. Paul Olson who serves in our Spanish Ministry spent his early years in an Evangelical Protestant Church in downtown Los Angeles. Later his family moved to Orange County where he spent his youth mostly at another large Evangelical Church in Santa Ana where he and his wife Laurie met and were married. From there he and his wife Kh. Laurie were sent as missionaries to Colombia for 4 years. There he learned to read and write Spanish fluently as well as to teach and preach publicly. After 5 years in inner-city ministry with Cambodians and Hispanics, they and their three daughters became Orthodox at St. Barnabas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Costa Mesa where he served as head chanter for over 10 years. In 2003, he began the St. Stephen’s course and came to St. Nicholas to do his directed projects with the Spanish ministry here. After a short time, Fr. Paul and Kh. Laurie felt so at home at St. Nicholas that they moved their membership and began attending both the Spanish as well as the English and Arabic Liturgies while teaching a Bible Study and Sunday School class in Spanish between the services. They continue to do this until the present. Fr. Paul dedicated himself to God’s service from a very early age as had Kh. Laurie, earliest as short term missionaries, even before they married. Later, Fr. Paul ministered as a musician and later as a missionary, teacher, preacher and leader of an extension Bible institute. After 13 years, he began the St. Stephen’s course, still feeling unworthy and uncertain that ordination was a possibility. Through the leadership of Fr. Michel Najim under then-Bishop JOSEPH, he was brought soon into the sub-deaconate and 3 years later to the deaconate and 2 years after that into the priesthood. A priest since 2008, Fr. Paul is grateful to God for this priesthood and offers thanks daily to God for the privilege to serve Him and His Church in this way. Fr. Paul is the father of three beautiful daughters all married in the Orthodox Church to pious Orthodox men raising their 5 grandchildren (with one on the way at this writing) in the Church. His daughters are active chanters and choir members in their respective parishes.
Archdeacon George Shishim.
Deacon John Germain
Deacon Loui Ammari
Clergy who served at St. Nicholas Cathedral
Archimandrite Antony Wolf*, 1949-1951
V. Rev. Fr. Elias Meena*, 1951-1955
V. Rev. Fr. James C. Meena*, 1951-1961
Rev. Fr. George Khoury*, 1951-1957
V. Rev. Fr. John Reinhold*, 1956-1972
V. Rev. Fr. Paul Romley, Dean Emeritus*, 1961-1996
Deacon Habib Romley*, 1961-1971
V. Rev. Fr. George Alberts, 1974-1975
V. Rev. Fr. Elias Bitar, 1975-1980
Fr. Archdeacon George Shishim, 1976-present
V. Rev. Fr. Paul O’Callaghan, 1980-1984
Rev. Fr. James Haddad, 1984-1987
V. Rev. Fr. Michel Najim, Dean and Great Economos, 1987-present
Rev. Fr. Thomas O’Dea, 1995-1998
V. Rev. Fr. John Reimann, 1996-2007
Rev. Fr. George Ajalat, 1997-present
Rev. Fr. George Taweel, 1998-present
Rev. Fr. John Mefrige, 2001-2002
Rev. Fr. George Aquaro, 2001-2003
Rev. Fr. Paul Olson, 2006-Present
Fr. Deacon Maxime Najim, 2008
Fr. Deacon John Germain 2010-present
Fr. Nicholas Hanna 2010