In 1967, Antonios Nahas immigrated from Lebanon to Halifax, Nova Scotia. He raised a family of eight, and was a devout Christian who attended St. George’s Orthodox Church, where services were recited in Greek. Antonios had an innate desire to pass on the traditions of his homeland to successive generations, since he believed in the adage “a man without a past, lacks both a present and future.” To achieve that objective, a Priest was needed that could convey the Orthodox prayers in Arabic, which was the native language of the large Orthodox population that escaped strife in the Levant and settled in Halifax.
Several years after Antonios’ untimely passing, his dream was realized when a new Church in Halifax was opened and the first Priest was Lebanese (Fr. Elia Shalhoub). Antonios’ son Bassam Nahas noted: “I was honoured to work with numerous Parishioners and through sheer determination we opened Saint Antonios in 1980, and helped realize my Father’s dream.” Saint Antonios, also known as Saint Anthony the Great, was selected as the primary namesake for the Church. It was a fitting tribute to a respected community member whose vision came to fruition, and indeed, subsequent generations of the Nahas family continue to play an active role in the Church community.