“And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
Whether you are already an Orthodox Christian, or simply curious about Orthodox Christianity, we hope to welcome you soon to our parish. Please visit our Welcome page.
St. Peter Orthodox Mission
You may notice that St. Peter is called a “mission” even though our web address says “church.” Why is that? Because we have confidence that our efforts to establish an Orthodox Church in the Ft. Myers and Naples of southwest Florida will, by God’s grace and blessing, will meet with success.
Missions are start-ups, but many missions grow to become self-sustaining parishes. The vision of St. Peter’s is to reach out to anyone seeking Christ as he can be understood and known in our Orthodox Christian faith. We also encourage Orthodox Christians who have been disenfranchised from their Church for one reason or another to attend. Also, there are many Orthodox Christians from countries where practicing their faith was not allowed until recently. We welcome you too.
St. Peter’s is a mission of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese pastored by Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse (contact Fr. Hans).
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
St. Peter’s Orthodox Mission is a flegling parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, an autonomous missionary jurisdiction of the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch. The bishops of our Archdiocese receive their authority and ministry from the current Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius IV.
The Orthodox congregation at Antioch, in a continuous, unbroken succession going back to the Apostles themselves, has preserved, maintained, and—when pushed to it by the enemies of Christ—died for the apostolic faith once committed to the saints. We know that “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Among the early Christians who resided and/or ministered in that congregation, history records the names of Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Luke, Silas, and Ignatius I, the second bishop of that city, who died as a martyr in Rome in the year 107.
When the Muslim Turks captured the city of Antioch, the executive offices of the Patriarchate of Antioch was moved to Damascus, the civil capital of Syria, where they remain to this day “on the street called Straight.” (Acts 9:11).
The worldwide extension of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch includes nineteen archdioceses throughout the world, including in the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula), Europe, North and South America and Australia, among them the archdiocese of North America. In North America the Antiochian Archdiocese is comprised of nine dioceses, about which you can find more information on our archdiocesan website: http://www.antiochian.org.
Our Patriarchate and Archdiocese are in full communion with all the Orthodox Christian congregations and bishoprics throughout the world, including those in Greece, Russia, Albania, Romania, Serbia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Africa, Latin America, China, and Japan.
On the one hand, the Orthodox Church is the oldest of the churches that call themselves Christian. After Roman Catholicism, it is the second largest Christian body in the world with over 225 million members.
On the other hand, this church is new to most people in North America, because immigrants from traditionally Orthodox countries (mainly in eastern Europe and the Middle East) did not arrive in this country in large numbers until relatively late in American history. Consequently, in the U.S. and Canada we Orthodox Christians are fewer than six million. Also, unlike most of the European immigrants who arrived here from across the Atlantic, the earliest Orthodox Christians in America crossed in the opposite direction—from Russia to Alaska by way of the Baring Straits.
In the twentieth century alone, an estimated 40 million Orthodox Christians gave their lives for their faith, primarily under communism. So high is the commitment of many Orthodox Christians to Christ and His Church, she has often been called “the Church of the Martyrs.” She is the Church of all the great Christian theologians, scholars, and writers of antiquity (like Athanasius, Ambrose, Basil, and Chrysostom), but also of such modern writers as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The Orthodox Church is the original Christian Church, the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and described in the pages of the New Testament. Her history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles. For over twenty centuries she has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship, and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ.
Throughout the world the Orthodox Christian church is organized into various dioceses and jurisdictions, following the customs derived from ancient times. However, the Orthodox Church is one church – one faith and communion. This Church is based in the life, ministry, and teachings of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who has come in to the world as a man for the sake of our salvation. This is the foundational belief of every true Christian. “Orthodox” means right teaching or right worship, and we understand our Orthodox Christian faith to be the full and right revelation of God’s desire for us to believe in Him, know Him, abide in Him and receive eternal life from Him.
The clearest and most concise explanation of the Orthodox faith can be found in the ancient Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, formally drawn up at the first ecumenical council in Nicea (325) and at the second ecumenical council in Constantinople (381).
The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, which means “I believe.” In the Orthodox Church the creed is usually called The Symbol of Faith, which means literally the “bringing together”, and the “expression” or “confession” of the faith.
This Creed, always recited at Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, is the official expression of the common and inherited faith that joins the congregation at St. Peter’s to other Orthodox Christian congregations throughout the world and throughout history.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made:
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;
And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;
And ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;
And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets;
And I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the Resurrection of the dead,
And the Life of the age to come. Amen.