Recently, I wrote a brief article on Fr. Moses Abihider, a Syrian/Antiochian priest from the early 20th century who was buried alongside St. Raphael Hawaweeny. Shortly after that, a reader named Robert Klancko emailed me with more information. Mr. Klancko’s wife is a relative of the Abihider family, and, among other things, he told me the following:
- Fr. Moses had a stunning total of 17 children, of whom at least nine survived to adulthood. That sounds like a horrendous child mortality rate, but the death of children was a tragically common reality for most families a century ago.
- Fr. Moses’ youngest son was Aftimios Abihider, named for his godfather Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh. This is the same Aftimios Abihider who later published the biography of Ofiesh, written by Ofiesh’s widow. It’s not clear exactly what the relationship was between Ofiesh and Fr. Moses, but the two must have been close.
- Mr. Klancko related the story that one of the Farah brothers of Texas — owners of the then-famed Farah pants company (comparable to Dockers) — heard that Fr. Moses had six daughters. This Farah went to visit the Abihiders and was grilled by Fr. Moses. Satisfied of the suitor’s worthiness, Fr. Moses called in one of his daughters and said, “Come meet your husband. Get ready; you will be married next Saturday.” The marriage was, says Mr. Klancko, a success. (Incidentally, my mother’s aunt Virginia was also married to a Farah. Before her death, she founded the Virginia H. Farah Foundation, a private Orthodox foundation.)
- Although all of Fr. Moses’ children are now deceased, numerous other relatives survive in different parts of the country.
I’m grateful to Mr. Klancko for his help. As I learn more about Fr. Moses, I’ll post further updates.
This article was written by Matthew Namee.