St. Ephrem Church
St. Ephrem Church was first envisioned in the early 1970’s by a number of Lebanese families and young college students who resided in the San Diego area. They had hoped for a church where they could come and worship in their traditional way and gather together regularly.
Their prayers were first answered in the person of Fr. Denis Krouse, a Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) priest who, given bi-ritual faculties, began celebrating the Maronite Divine Liturgy for the growing community, in the home of the Sawaya Family.
From this family’s home the celebration of the Liturgy went to the University of San Diego seminary’s Chapel of St. Francis. By 1980 the Liturgy was being held at Holy Angels Byzantine Church and still at various private residences with Fr. Krause still offering his priestly services.
By 1989 Archbishop Francis Zayek approved the establishment of St. Ephrem Mission; with the Liturgy being celebrated by either Fr. Krause or Fr. Antoine Bach.
The year 1991 brought us our first permanent priest; Fr. Nabil Mouannes. By 1992 we purchased a tract of land in Del Mar with the hopes of building our church there. But as God often has His own plans contrary to our own, we forwent the building of the church in Del Mar and purchased our present facility in El Cajon, California in 1999.
As a result of the generosity and hard work of several of our parishioners we realized another dream; that of building a shrine dedicated to our Blessed Mother under the title of Mariam Mother of Life. We began construction on this project in the year 2002 with completion in 2003.
Our current pastor is Rev. Toufic Nasr who was assigned here in June of 2012.