Father Misaeil Abou El Kheir
Cell. (919) 418-9940
- As of the year 1968, service in Raleigh was sporadic, ranging from a reverend Father’s visit to baptize a Coptic member’s baby to liturgical services performed by different Fathers. Among those well-known and respected fathers were Father Bishoi Kamel, Father Ghobrial Amin, Father Tadros Malaty, and by late 1972, on a monthly basis, Father Mina Kamel, followed by Father Michael Tobia.
- At the time and until 1986, services were held on Saturdays in the First Presbyterian Church.
- From 1969 through 1983, the number of families increased to 18, which encouraged Father Michael Tobia to ask his Holiness, the late Pope Shenouda the III, to register a church in Raleigh, NC under the name of St. Mary, and a committee of 3 members was elected.
- In 1986, the church members acquired a lot of one and one-half acres with two buildings on them at a price of $112, 500—a hefty sum for the time and for the few families. But by the grace of God, the amount was paid in full within 8 months. The members worked fervently to turn those 2 buildings into a church and a house fit for the future hoped-for priest. Only then was service performed twice a month!
- In the summer of 1987, His Holiness, the late Pope Shenouda III ordained to our church Father Shenouda Ghattas who was recommended by our church committee and members. Then we started to have weekly services on Sundays, all previous services were performed on Saturdays or other weekdays.
- In October, 1989, the late Pope Shenouda III paid the first visit to Raleigh, where he celebrated liturgy in the Greek Orthodox Church, and visited the site of the new church. That was when the church committee and members were informed that Father Shenouda Ghattas was assigned to Long Island, NY. Thus, Father Youhanna Ramzy served us until we were assigned Father Ibrahim Attia in February 1991.
- On Sunday, May 12, 1991, after the Holy Liturgy, Bishop Reweis laid the foundation stone for the current church. It was inaugurated October 1, 1994 by his Holiness, the late Pope Shenouda III.
- October 1996 witnessed the order of the departure of Father Ibrahim Attia, and the arrival of Father Misaeil Abou El Kheir.