The parish of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, 905 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, will host a luncheon on Sunday, May 20, in honor of the Very Rev. Herbert G. Nahas, pastor emeritus of St. Mary, to celebrate his 100th birthday. The luncheon will be held in the parish hall following the Divine Liturgy.
Nahas was born on May 18, 1918, in Pawtucket, R.I. to the Rev. George and Khouriye Elizabeth Kassab Nahas. He was the oldest son and third of nine children. He was originally educated at Brown University and served in the United States Army as an intelligence officer for five years before his ordination to the Holy Priesthood. During his military service, Nahas accompanied the commander of the United States Ninth Infantry Division in the invasion of North Africa, as he was fluent in written and conversational French and Arabic. He was later promoted to the staff of General Dwight Eisenhower in Algeria.
Nahas’ interest in the clergy began at home, with his father with whom he studied. He later continued his studies with the Rev. Wakeem Dalack of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, N.Y. and the late Metropolitan Anthony Bashir. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on May 29, 1949 at St. Nicholas Cathedral by Bashir.
He was first assigned to St. George in Danbury, Conn., where he served until 1951. He was then Archpriest with the title “Exarch” by the Metropolitan in 1961. He remained pastor of St. Mary Church in Wilkes-Barre until his retirement in October 1986.
During his tenure as pastor of St. Mary, Nahas presided over the campaign to build a new church, rectory and parish hall, which were completed in 1968. He also witnessed the organization of the parish chapter of SOYO and hosted several Parish Life conferences.
Nahas opened the St. Mary Parish Hall to victims of the 1972 Agnes Flood and has always been active in the Wilkes-Barre community. He had served on numerous committees and with many local organizations including the United Way and the American Heart Association. He is the founder of the Father Nahas Senior Citizens Organization that met weekly at St. Mary Parish Hall. He has lectured on numerous occasions to local organizations and hosted a local radio talk show.
Nahas was married to the late Alice Ganim Nahas, and together they raised three children, Dr. George H. Nahas, Joyce Moses and John Nahas. Nahas and Khouriye Alice were the proud grandparents of five, Attorney Peter Moses, Anthony Nahas, John Nahas, Attorney Herbert Nahas and Marilyn Nahas.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Anthony George will present Nahas with a key to the city and proclaim May 18 Father Nahas Day.