Cathedral comes from a Greek word, Cathedra, which means high seat or throne. A cathedral is therefore the main church where the bishop presides over the Divine Liturgy from his throne.
Like many important projects, our Cathedral had a humble origin. It started with the dedication of Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in June 1910 at 178 Harrison Avenue in the South End of Boston. It did not even have the form of a church, for it was a commercial building transformed into a place of worship.
Its first Pastor was a Basilian Salvatorian priest, Fr. Nicholas Ghannam, who served the community for 17 years. With the growing number of Melkites this first church became too small. The parish began to look for a larger one and found it on Warren Avenue. It was dedicated in 1942. Twenty years later new difficulties emerged: besides the parking problem, the church needed extensive repairs. Need was felt for a new church in a new location. A survey showed that there was a concentration of Melkites in West Roxbury and the surrounding areas. A convenient site of about 4.2 acres was bought from the City of Boston on VFW Parkway, Roslindale.
A Byzantine design for the new church was drawn and the late Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Cushing, generously coved half of the cost of building Our Lady of the Annunciation Church. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the new church on its patronal feast day, March 25, 1966, but the official dedication took place on April 23. One of the celebrants was the Most Rev. Justin Najmy, Pastor of St. Basil the Great Church in Central Falls, RI, who had been appointed Exarch for the Melkites in the United States. The Church of the Annunciation was chosen as his Cathedral and Bishop Najmy delegated Fr. Lucien Malouf BSO, as its Rector.
The year 1976 was a milestone in the history of Our Lady church, as the Melkite Church in the USA was raised from an Exarchate to an Eparchy i.e. a fully independent diocese. On May 8, 1977, at the Cathedral, the Eparchy of Newton for the Melkites was officially established and Archbishop Joseph Tawil was installed as Eparch. He retired in December 1989 and was succeeded by Bishop Ignatius Ghattas who passed away two years later.
In January 1994, our present Eparch, Bishop John Elya, took the direction of the Newton Diocese and in September 2002, Fr. Eugene Mitchell was appointed Rector of the Annunciation Cathedral.