Three Hierarchs is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, currently under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and with its headquarters in Englewood, NJ. Our Antiochian Archdiocese of North America includes eight Dioceses (with seven diocesan bishops) and more than 275 cathedrals, churches, and missions throughout the United States and Canada. The Archdiocese is noted in particular for its missionary zeal. As Orthodox Christians, we share communion and unity of faith with the other canonical Orthodox Archdioceses in North America and around the world.
Our Archdiocese has its spiritual heritage from the apostolic See of Antioch. The current Patriarch (Archbishop) of Antioch, John X, is the 164th successor to the Apostle Peter, who helped to form that ancient Christian community and served there as overseer for seven years.
The Early Apostolic History of Antioch
The most famous scriptural reference concerning Antioch relates that it was in this city that the followers of Christ were first mockingly referred to as "Christians" (Acts 11:26). In the Book of Acts, which offers an account of the first years of the Church, we discover that Antioch is the second most frequently mentioned city. Nicholas, one of the original seven deacons was a convert from Antioch and perhaps the first Christian from that city (Acts 6:5). During the persecution which occasioned the death of Saint Stephen the First Martyr, members of the fledgling Christian community in Jerusalem fled to Antioch for refuge.
As noted above, Christian tradition maintains that the See of Antioch was founded by Saint Peter the Apostle in A.D. 34 . Peter was either followed or joined by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas who preached there to both Gentiles and to Jews, who seem to have been numerous in the city. It was from Antioch that Paul and Barnabas departed for their great missionary journeys to the Gentile lands (Acts 13:1).
After spending some seven years in Antioch, Peter left for Rome. To succeed him as bishop of Antioch he appointed Euodius, who is thus counted in early episcopal lists as the first successor to the Antiochian Throne of Peter. The multiple Apostolic foundation of the See of Antioch, the early missions centered there and the active nature of the community, as recorded in the New Testament, have been a unique heritage to all who trace their spiritual and ecclesiastical roots to the Antiochian Patriarchate.
The See of Antioch continued its glorious contributions to the universal Church by the numerous outstanding personalities it nurtured. Saint Ignatius of Antioch for example, is revered as both a victorious martyr during the reign of Emperor Trajan (early second century) and as a reliable historical source for the structure of Church life. Ignatius was the second successor to Peter and may actually have been consecrated by that Apostle or by Saint Paul.