Clergy and Staff

Fr. John Salem

Parish Priest

Fr. John was born and raised in New Kensington, PA and was reared in Orthodoxy from birth at St. George in his hometown. He received his B.S. in Rehabilitation Education from Pennsylvania State University in 1989; Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA in 1993. After graduation from Holy Cross, Fr. John spent the following year at St. John of Damascus Theological Academy at Balamand, Lebanon studying Byzantine Music and the formal Arabic Language. Upon return from Lebanon he served as Youth Director of St. Elijah from August of 1994 to August of 1998. On May 23, 1998 Fr. John was wed to Valerie Homsey (a daughter of St. Elijah Church) in Oklahoma City and have been blessed with two wonderful children.

Fr. John was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on June 14, 1998 at St. Elijah by the hand of His Grace, Bishop BASIL and ordained to the Holy Priesthood on July 12, 1998 by the hand of His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP at St. George Church in New Kensington, PA. Fr. John has served as Associate Pastor of St. Nicholas Church in San Francisco, CA from 1998-1999 and Pastor of St. George Church in Houston, TX from 2000-2011 until reassignment back to St. Elijah on August 16, 2011. 

Fr. Raphael Barberg

Associate Pastor

Father Raphael K. Barberg was born at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. As a young boy, oldest son to a Naval Aviator, Fr and his family relocated to the Buffalo, NY area where his father was a Pilot with American Airlines. His love for nature, open spaces and (Morgan) horses was fostered by an upbringing on the family’s horse farm in Orchard Park, NY.  Yes, home of the Buffalo Bills! And, lots of snow!  

In 1988, a young Father Raphael was hired by the Buffalo, NY Police Department; within seven years of patrol work, he was promoted to Supervisor. That same year, Fr. married Kelleylynn; 22 years and counting — Glory to God — they work hard at raising their five beautiful children.  In 1996, on St. Mary of Egypt Sunday, he and Kelleylynn entered the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church at St. George in Niagara Falls, NY through the ministrations of Archpriest George Aswad of blessed memory.  As a newly illumined, Father dove right in; and taught Sunday school; led SOYO; was a board member; and was taught to read, chant, and sing the hymns and writings of the Holy church; along with his completion of the St. Stephan’s Antiochian House of Studies in 2000.  

On September 3, 2001, Father was ordained to the diaconate by the hands of Bishop Antoun, and was blessed to serve alongside of Archpriest Paul Solberg in the loving community of St. George Orthodox Church.  In just a few short weeks after his ordination, he was called to help in the first relief response in the aftermath of 9-11 under the direction of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).  In New York City he ministered to grieving families (searching for loved ones) at Chelsea Piers in NYC, along with lending brotherly support to the many first-responders, firefighters, and police at Ground Zero  who fervently worked in search and rescue, and in recovery.  Fr. has continued his work with  IOCC in responding to such scenes as the horrific campus shootings at Virginia Tech (4/16/07) and Northern Illinois University (2/14/2008), and natural disasters such as Super Storm Sandy in the state of New Jersey.

Throughout the following years, Fr. also completed his Bachelors in Cultural Studies from the State University of New York Empire State College in 2006. Two years later, in 2008; after 20 years of devoted service in the police department, Fr. Raphael decided to retire his gold lieutenant’s badge, and with a blessing from his Bishop (and his wife!), he moved his family to pursue an intensive three years of devoted study at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York.  At seminary he and his family spent three wonderful years under the pastoral guidance of Archpriest Michael Ellis, serving the faithful of St. Mary’s in Brooklyn, NY.  

On St Thomas Sunday, April 10, 2010, Father Raphael was elevated to the holy priesthood by the hands of Bishop Alexander, Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York at his hometown parish at St. George in Niagara Falls, NY.  The following year, May 20, 2011, he graduated SVS with a Masters of Divinity.  He was then assigned to serve the mission church of St. James the Apostle in Westminster, MD.  For three years; and while serving the mission church, Father also taught Emergency Vehicle Operation (thankfully he also taught his teenage kids how to drive) for the Police Training Commission for the state of Maryland. He and his family lived in the Westminster, MD area for five good years before being reassigned to St. Elijah in Oklahoma City on July 1, 2016.  

(You’ll often see Father donning paraphernalia for his favorite teams: The Bills, The Sabres and The Yankees. Baseball being his favorite.  And yes, he loves Mickey Mantle so much that he once named his beloved Springer Spaniel after “The Mick”. Truthfully, he relishes ALL-things-baseball. He’s thrilled to be in OKC, with a minor league team in town. He also loves music; all kinds.  Sing him an U2 song; he’ll know every line.  Sing him a Van Morrison song; he’ll go get his guitar; but you’ll have to sing along). 

Fr. Raphael Barberg

Associate Priest

Father Raphael K. Barberg was born at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. As a young boy, oldest son to a Naval Aviator, Fr and his family relocated to the Buffalo, NY area where his father was a Pilot with American Airlines. His love for nature, open spaces and (Morgan) horses was fostered by an upbringing on the family’s horse farm in Orchard Park, NY.  Yes, home of the Buffalo Bills! And, lots of snow!  

In 1988, a young Father Raphael was hired by the Buffalo, NY Police Department; within seven years of patrol work, he was promoted to Supervisor. That same year, Fr. married Kelleylynn; 22 years and counting — Glory to God — they work hard at raising their five beautiful children.  In 1996, on St. Mary of Egypt Sunday, he and Kelleylynn entered the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church at St. George in Niagara Falls, NY through the ministrations of Archpriest George Aswad of blessed memory.  As a newly illumined, Father dove right in; and taught Sunday school; led SOYO; was a board member; and was taught to read, chant, and sing the hymns and writings of the Holy church; along with his completion of the St. Stephan’s Antiochian House of Studies in 2000.  

On September 3, 2001, Father was ordained to the diaconate by the hands of Bishop Antoun, and was blessed to serve alongside of Archpriest Paul Solberg in the loving community of St. George Orthodox Church.  In just a few short weeks after his ordination, he was called to help in the first relief response in the aftermath of 9-11 under the direction of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).  In New York City he ministered to grieving families (searching for loved ones) at Chelsea Piers in NYC, along with lending brotherly support to the many first-responders, firefighters, and police at Ground Zero  who fervently worked in search and rescue, and in recovery.  Fr. has continued his work with  IOCC in responding to such scenes as the horrific campus shootings at Virginia Tech (4/16/07) and Northern Illinois University (2/14/2008), and natural disasters such as Super Storm Sandy in the state of New Jersey.

Throughout the following years, Fr. also completed his Bachelors in Cultural Studies from the State University of New York Empire State College in 2006. Two years later, in 2008; after 20 years of devoted service in the police department, Fr. Raphael decided to retire his gold lieutenant’s badge, and with a blessing from his Bishop (and his wife!), he moved his family to pursue an intensive three years of devoted study at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York.  At seminary he and his family spent three wonderful years under the pastoral guidance of Archpriest Michael Ellis, serving the faithful of St. Mary’s in Brooklyn, NY.  

On St Thomas Sunday, April 10, 2010, Father Raphael was elevated to the holy priesthood by the hands of Bishop Alexander, Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York at his hometown parish at St. George in Niagara Falls, NY.  The following year, May 20, 2011, he graduated SVS with a Masters of Divinity.  He was then assigned to serve the mission church of St. James the Apostle in Westminster, MD.  For three years; and while serving the mission church, Father also taught Emergency Vehicle Operation (thankfully he also taught his teenage kids how to drive) for the Police Training Commission for the state of Maryland. He and his family lived in the Westminster, MD area for five good years before being reassigned to St. Elijah in Oklahoma City on July 1, 2016.  

(You’ll often see Father donning paraphernalia for his favorite teams: The Bills, The Sabres and The Yankees. Baseball being his favorite.  And yes, he loves Mickey Mantle so much that he once named his beloved Springer Spaniel after “The Mick”. Truthfully, he relishes ALL-things-baseball. He’s thrilled to be in OKC, with a minor league team in town. He also loves music; all kinds.  Sing him an U2 song; he’ll know every line.  Sing him a Van Morrison song; he’ll go get his guitar; but you’ll have to sing along). 

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