The mission of our Church is as it has always been: to care for the people of God and the community of Butler; to embody Christ's teachings through the careful practice of prayer, study, fasting, almsgiving, and hospitality; to proclaim the fullness of the Orthodox faith to the city of Butler and its surrounding areas.
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Saint Anthony's is a relatively small (but growing!) multi-ethnic community, with a healthy mix of Orthodox-from-birth members and converts to the faith. It was founded by the sons and daughters of Syrian immigrants. Others have Slavic background, a few are Greek-Americans, and we also have some Romanian families. Of course, there is also a large contingent of "regular" Americans whose ethnic background is a more distant memory. Our little community consists of people of all ages, couples and singles, old and young, babies and nonagenarians. We pray together, learn about Christ together, care for each other, fast and feast and share meals together, enjoy each other's company and, generally, strive to grow in Christ and train ourselves for the Kingdom of God. In short, we are an ethnic mosaic, but it is not blood or culture or food that brings us together—the heart and foundation of it all is Christ.
By God's grace many have converted to Orthodoxy in their later years and joined Saint Anthony's. Some are married to an Orthodox partner, and graciously join us in prayer even while retaining their confessional allegiance elsewhere. We count as full members those who approach the chalice and receive Holy Communion because they count themselves Orthodox ("we worship as we believe and we believe as we worship"), and welcome as friends of the parish any seekers and inquirers into Orthodoxy, whose hearts and minds are known only to God.
The patron saint of our community is Saint Anthony the Great, the fourth-century "father of monasticism." While his figure is usually associated with the monastic life, all of us can in fact learn from him. On his icon are inscribed words of Saint Anthony that help and inspire us in our attempt to train ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ:
I saw the snares of the devil all over the earth, and I said, "How can one possibly avoid them?"
And I heard a voice saying, "Humility"!