St Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Church
Antiochian Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the West
72910 Haskell Rd, Thousand Palms, CA 92276

Welcome to St. Raphael Antiochian Orthodox Church!

We are a close-knit, family oriented church who pray traditional Orthodox Christian services in English.

Our little oasis, located in the heart of the Coachella Valley.

About Us!
A History of St Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn, Orthodox Church

It is by the Grace of God that we are the first church in the world to be granted Saint Raphael of Brooklyn as its patron saint. We received his name in the spring of 2000, two months before he was officially canonized as a saint by The Holy Synod of The Orthodox Church of America. We are incredibly honored to bear his name, as the Holy Synod of Antioch has officially recognized his sainthood. Our new beloved Metroplitan Saba has declared Bishop Raphael the Patron Saint of North America.

Though St. Raphael has been with us from the start, our parish's story really begins as an offshoot of our sister parish, St. George Greek Church, in Palm Desert, CA. A substantial group of pan-Orthodox Christians who desired to have more English in the services were attending St George. In the spirit of this desire they went to Fr. James, of blessed memory, and asked him for more English. With a heavy heart he was unable to meet this request owing to the current needs of his parish. Understanding the struggle however, he suggested contacting the Antiochian Archdiocese and he would support the establishment of a new parish in the valley. This group, headed by the Shada and Ciontea families, contacted our Archdiocese, and by the Grace of God the Mission was started in January of 1999.

The Mission began meeting at Wiefels Mortuary Chapel in Palm Springs, setting up the altar and icons for Vespers on Saturday nights and taking it all down after the Liturgy on Sundays. Jovially we called ourselves “The Church in the Box.” We met there for five years until 2005, when we moved to our next property in Cathedral City. The Protestant Church of Christ had remodeled a house into a small church property, with the two-car garage working as the nave and the house as the church hall. Breathing a sigh of relief, we could finally remain set up week to week and have a fuller worship schedule!

During those first few years, the makeup of the church was mostly retired couples, the majority being “Snow Birds,” who flew back to their home parishes in the summer months. One of our greatest accomplishments back then was the purchase of a large piece of property to build a church facility in Cathedral City. Miraculously, this was accomplished without any financing. Plans and permits were completed. Sadly, our biggest struggle came when everything had to be abandoned in 2008, due to the downturn in the economy. Our community through much faithful tribulation, banded together in that crisis and pivoted from this unforseen event. Ultimately, that land was sold to pave the way for the purchase of our existing church facility in Thousand Palms. With excited hearts and eager eyes we came to this new building in 2010. With our church community's hands, piece by piece, the building was remodeled from a barren shell into a beautiful chapel of worship. After 11 years of searching for a place to call home our parish had stabilized. 

Much like other mission churches, we have always been a smaller parish. Job changes, the hot summers, and the nature of a resort city have played a part to hinder growth. Despite these challenges, we joyfully see ourselves as a little oasis in the desert. Each and every Sunday we see many visitors come in to worship with us as they pass through on their pigrimage. We are a very friendly and close-knit community where by God's goodness many have come to know the beauty of the Orthodox Church: Divine services, angelic worship and apostolic teaching of the historic and authentic Church.

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Welcome to the Orthodox Church

We've raised
Our Goal
Building Fund - $128,000.00
11/01/22 - 12/31/24