The Very Reverend Father Ghattas Hajal receives Mayor’s City Builder Award
Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington, and Gloucester-South Nepean Ward Councillor Michael Qaqish presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award at City Council today to the Very Reverend Father Ghattas Hajal, the Dean and Pastor of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral. Father Ghattas has served at the Holy Altar for 40 years and is recognized as a City Builder for enriching the life of the Cathedral and its faithful with his pastoral experience and leadership.
Father Ghattas was born in Lebanon and ordained to the Holy Priesthood on the Great Feast of Pentecost, May 27, 1977. In 1990, he and his family departed Lebanon to build a new life in Canada. He established Saint Mary’s Church in Montreal where he was their first priest in charge. In 1992, Father Ghattas assumed the pastorate of Saint Elias Cathedral in Ottawa. Under his leadership, the membership increased significantly to 1,800, the new church was completed, and the mortgage paid off. In addition to his pastorship, Father Ghattas holds other leadership positions in the Orthodox Church, namely: Dean of Canadian Deanery of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York, President of the Eastern Orthodox Clergy Association of Ottawa, Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch for the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York, Chaplain of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship of Carleton University, and Member of the Interfaith Steering Committee of Ottawa.
Father Ghattas is an active and outspoken pillar in the Ottawa Lebanese community. His passion for his Orthodox faith and Lebanese heritage are a beacon that guide the entire Lebanese community in Ottawa, not just his parishioners. Under his guidance, the Ottawa Lebanese Festival, chaired by George Hanna, has provided thousands of attendees with an opportunity to experience a glimpse into Lebanese culture and the Orthodox Cathedral. Father Ghattas always found joy in dancing, and every July at the opening ceremony of the Ottawa Lebanese Festival, he proudly and patriotically dances carrying the Lebanese flag. His impact on the Lebanese community, and all that encounter him has been extremely positive.