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The History of Founding St. Basil Church
On the occasion of the 110 th anniversary of the founding of St. Basil Church in Rhode Island, we present a brief history of The church. More can be reviewed on Church Website: stbasilmelkitecatholic.org.
Active Pastors: Fr. Hananias Boury (1907 to 1919), Fr. Timothy Jock (1919 to 1948), Rt Rev. Archimandrite Justin Najmy (1948 to 1966), Fr. Peter Capucci (1966 to 1973), Rt. Rev. Exarch Joseph S. Haggar (1973 to present)
Active Deacons: Archdeacon George Yany (1973 to Present), Dn. Dr. Edmond Raheb (2000 to present), Dn. Dr. Gilbert Altongy (2014 to present )
Brief History - The Church and Parish went through several events in its history.
· Fr. Boury in 1909 purchased the site, 50 by 100 ft, at 445 Broad Street, Central Falls.
· Bishop Harkins laid the cornerstone for the Church in May 1910 and the structure was completed by September 1911.
· On May 5, 1972, a fire extensively damaged the Church. In September 1974, the Parish Council under its president Dr. John Nazarian, finalized plans for the construction of a new Church on the site of the original church. First liturgy was celebrated on September 21, 1975. The Parish burned the mortgage in 14 months.
· The plan to move the Church to Lincoln, RI was founded and structured by Dr. Yusuf Mussalli, utilizing goal setting, group dynamics and the method of consensus and the expertise of a team of qualified parishioners such as Ms. Georgeanna Deckey, chairperson of the design and construction of the project, Charles Robat who found the land and instated Bingo as a main fund raiser for the project, and members of the Parish finance council who prepared the financial planning and the building finances. And many other parishioners who are mentioned on the Website.
· In May 1988, the Parish Assembly voted 90% in favor of Purchasing the new land of 23 acres in Lincoln, overlooking the Providence skyline.
· The Foundations were first poured for the existing complex and future formal church. Construction of the existing complex commenced in 1997 and was completed in 1998. The Parish burned the mortgage in September 2006.
· The complex consists of a 26,000 sq.ft. facility, including the provisional church, a Sunday school with 10 classrooms and an office, a room for MYO, an Apartment for visiting clergy, office, a 300 car parking lot, a large Kitchen, a large Hall that can seat 1000 people (when folding divider is open) and a large baptistery area.
· The Parish witnessed great progress by doubling of attendance, increase of activities such as holding annual Festival in Summer on Church grounds, an annual Bazaar and annual Hafli in early September.
· The Parish increased its real estate value by some 30 times from $300,000 for the old Broad Street church to current value of complex and land of $9,000,000.
· The present complex is only a phase of a long term plan to build a Rectory, a more Formal Church (whose foundations are already poured), and a housing for elderly or assisted living on our 23 acres of land. These future plan projects cover us for the next 200 years.
· The cemetery (the only Melkite cemetery in the Diocese) was expanded in 2009 to serve the Parish for another 80 years.
· Fr. Joe, who was elevated to Archimandrite in 1983 and to Exarch in 2003, served the Parish for 50 yrs of its 110 yr history. All the gigantic progress took place at his time, so he deserves the Parish’s appreciation and will be always remembered.
By: Yusuf Mussalli , PhD, P.E., Church Historian