New Saint Antonios Orthodox Church opens

After three years of planning and renovations, parishioners of Saint Antonios Orthodox Church will now attend Sunday service at the former Saint Matthias Anglican Church.

The Lebanese church can hold three times as many worshippers

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      After three years of planning and renovations, parishioners of Saint Antonios Orthodox Church in Halifax held their first Sunday service at their new home.

      The original Saint Antonios church is located across the street from what used to be Saint Matthias Anglican Church on the corner of Chebucto and Windsor Street.

      After the Anglican church closed, the Lebanese church decided to take it over to accommodate their growing congregation of more than 200 families. 

      This saw the century-old church transform from a red brick building with steeples to a white building with gold domes.

      "It was a big challenge for us to transform it to what it is now," said Father Maximos Saikali, priest of Saint Antonios, "It's breathtaking."

      Saikali says the smaller, original Saint Antonios will remain open for services held throughout the week.

      The $6 million renovation began in May 2013. Original elements from Saint Matthias can still be seen inside and outside the church, including the church's cornerstone and stained glass windows.

      "One of the things we love about this church are the windows," said Rhaba Habib, a long time parishioner of Saint Antonios.

      "We wanted to keep it that way and our priest wanted to keep it because it's so beautiful," she said.