the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal


about 140

Service Length

75 minutes

Sample Worshipper Dress

blue checkered oxford, pinstripe slacks


English, Arabic

Cost of Holy Bread Sponsorship


Congregational Fervor

In addition to hosting such ancient liturgical hallmarks as icons and incense, St. George employs another time-honored Orthodox tradition: members showing up at the end of the service, 10 minutes before communion. When the Divine Liturgy began at a recent 10:30 a.m. service, roughly 70 congregants occupied the pews. An hour later, attendance had nearly doubled. HHHHH

Food for the Soul

Upon completing Holy Communion, Rahal delivered a homily concerning some incorrect assumptions about the Final Judgment. While attending a seminary alumni reunion, the pastor had overheard a young student informing another that in the last days God would be able to view all of a person’s sins as if looking at a computer screen. “This is totally wrong,” Rahal said. “The computer screen needs to include everything you were ever even thinking about doing.” HHHHH

Food for the Body

A post-service coffee hour included such delectable treats as chocolate cake and doughnuts. The beverage itself, though, was thinly brewed, and only powdered creamer was available. HHHHH

Overall Worship Power

As soon as Rahal closed the service, a surprise birthday celebration erupted in his honor. As the choir lilted through “Happy Birthday to You,” the congregation applauded and brought forward a lit cake. Somewhat embarrassed, the priest took a moment to respond. “When you reach a certain age, you don’t want people to know it’s your birthday,” he said. HHHHH

—Aaron Leitko