Origin and Identity
Important dates in St. Raymond's history
Late 19th century: Earliest record of Lebanese/Syrian immigrants settling in St. Louis. Many of them settled along the Mississippi riverfront, with little more than what they carried on their backs and their faith.Their priority was to first establish a church.
1898: St. Anthony the Hermit Parish was established near the riverfront. Antonine monk Father George Emmanuel was the first priest, serving until 1901.
1911: A community of immigrants from Hadchit, Lebanon, charged four men with the task of finding a property for its new church, which would be called St. Raymond. A building, located at 923-25 LaSalle St., was purchased from the estate of J.G. Choteau
1912: Father Joseph Karam arrived in St. Louis from Hadchit to become the first pastor of St. Raymond
1951: A parish hall was built, which included a central kitchen for the women of the community, who baked bread and other Lebanese foods. Today, the parish serves lunch to the public on Wednesday afternoons from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
1967: Then-Father Robert Shaheen came to St. Louis, sent by Bishop Francis Zayek, Maronite bishop to the United States. Since then, St. Raymond has been defined by two time frames: The years before "Shaheen" and the years of "Shaheen."
1975: A new church was dedicated
2000: Bishop Shaheen was appointed the second bishop of the Eparchy (Diocese) of Our Lady of Lebanon, and was ordained and enthroned the following year. The eparchial see was moved to St. Louis that same year and St. Raymond was named a co-cathedral.
2002: A new pastoral center was dedicated and serves as the headquarters of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
2007: An outdoor shrine to Our Lady of St. Louis, located next to the pastoral center, was dedicated.
2011: The Maronite Heritage Institute, which includes a museum capturing the history of the Maronite people, a library/resource center for Eastern culture, and an auditorium, was opened