Rev. Philipous Abo ASSALEY,
p. 29 (Fisher 1918 History)
Through the earnest and unselfish labors of its pastor, St. George's First
Syrian Orthodox Church of Grand Rapids has been placed upon a self-supporting
basis, and since its organization, in 1908, when it was an uncertain venture,
has grown into a religious body that today wields a great influence for good.
Rev. Philipous Abo Assaley, its pastor, was born at Rashaya-Ellwady, State of
Damascus, Syria, in 1870, son of Georgious and Rose (Mallick) Assaley, natives
of the same place, where the family has lived for generations. He was educated
in private schools, and in his native land taught in parochial schools for seven
years, then spending one year as an educator in the town of Balaabeck and nine
years in Russian schools. In 1906 he came to the United States and settled in
Grand Rapids, where a number of his countrymen lived. While engaged in the work
of gathering together a congregation, he worked in the Sligh Furniture Company's
factory, but in 1908 resigned his position an!
d went to Brooklyn, N.Y. where he was ordained into the ministry. In that same year he returned to Grand Rapids and organized St. George's First Syrian Orthodox Church, and started the erection of the church edifice, at No. 219 Williams Street, the building being completed at a cost of $5,000. Each year the parish has grown, until today it includes fifty families. In Reverend Assaley is found a wholesome and human philosopher and a most courageous ethical teacher. The fragrance of his faith, the encouragement to be found in his business success, the strength and dynamic power of his utterances from the pulpit, and his maintenance of the truth in which he believes and for which he has ever been ready to make war when attacked, unite in the making of a career of more than average purpose and usefulness. Reverend Assaley was married Feb. 1, 1903, to Yamna Zekaib, daughter of Ferris Zekaib, born in the same place as her husband. They have had the following children: Olga and Geo!
rge (1), who were born in Syria and died there; George (2), also born in Syria; Alexander, the first child born in the United States; Ben, who is deceased; Toofic and Shafic.
Fisher's 1918 History - Biographies
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library
Created: 9 April 2002