|Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church is the spiritual home to Catholics of six different rites.|
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In October, 1977 fifty Byzantine Catholics from the metro Atlanta and North Georgia area gathered together at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Chamblee for a celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Nick Novario, a bi-ritual priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta was joined by several priests from the Eparchy of Passaic, Fr. Bob Ference, pastor of St. Therese Church, St. Petersburg, FL and Dean of Florida and the Southern States, Fr. Peter Lickman, pastor of St. Basil Church, Miami, and Fr. Robert Slesinski, administrator of the Byzantine Catholic Mission in Orlando. This day marked the beginning of a Ruthenian Byzantine Rite parish in Georgia.
Under its official name, "The Byzantine Catholic Mission of Atlanta" was placed under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, The Most Reverend +Michael J. Dudick, D.D., Bishop. Shortly thereafter, on December 12, 1977, the Byzantine Catholic Mission of Atlanta was officially recognized by Bishop Michael, and Father Novario served as the first pastor.
The first permanent location was the chapel of Marist High School in Atlanta. The first Divine Liturgy, with the great blessing of water for the feast of Theophany, was celebrated on January 7, 1978. With this liturgy, the Byzantine Catholic Mission of Atlanta now had its first permanent temple, where the divine services were celebrated for approximately 18 months. On the solemn feast of Palm and Flowery Sunday, March 19, 1978, Bishop Michael made his first episcopal visit to the newly-founded mission. After being welcomed with the traditional gifts of bread and salt, His Grace celebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great with Father Novario, Father Ference and Father Lickman. A parish dinner and social followed to honor Bishop Michael.
In April, 1978, Father Paul Berny, then assistant pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Marietta, received his bi-ritual faculties and permission to assist Father. Novario with the Mission parish. In 1979, Father Robert Evancho was assigned as the first permanent pastor. He was succeeded in 1980 by Father Philip Scott, Ph.D., who has served as pastor and spiritual director of the parish until today.
Shortly after Bishop Michael's visit, members of the mission traveled from different parts of Georgia to conduct a search for a permanent parish site. The goal of the site selection committee was to identify a central location, which would be easily accessible for the new parishioners. After considerable research and review, a 12 acre site in Roswell was selected and ground breaking took place on April 26, 1981. Following in the footsteps and architectural heritage of our forefathers, a unique and traditional Carpatho-Ruthenian wooden style edifice was constructed.
The first Byzantine Catholic temple in Georgia was dedicated on May 15, 1982 by Bishop Michael. In commemoration of its first Divine Liturgy in 1978, the parish was placed under the protection of Saint John the Forerunner and dedicated to the Epiphany of Our Lord.
In addition to serving its own members, Epiphany Byzantine Church has served the local Christian community. The parish offered its temple to St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church for Sunday Mass during its period of formation in 1987 under the leadership of its founding pastor, Father Joseph L. Peacock. Epiphany has also served as the first place of worship for the Coptic Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox churches in Atlanta.
Throughout its history, Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church has adhered to the mission of His Grace, Bishop +Michael and its founders; it has remained constant and faithful to its Byzantine tradition and heritage, while bringing the Light of the East to all the faithful and many cultural communities of Georgia. With over 140 registered families representing the Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Melkite, Maronite, Chaldean, Syro-Malabar, Armenian and Roman Catholic rites, The parish has continued to grow over the years, welcoming all Christians to grow in faith and service to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lover of All Mankind.