Born in 1953 in Lancaster, SC, Father Michael Byars was raised as a Southern Baptist and was very active in the church. After graduating from high school, he was awarded a scholarship by his local Baptist congregation to study Art at the University of South Carolina. He struggled with what his vocation would be until he felt God's call to ministry.
Father Michael attended Luther Rice Baptist Seminary, which was headquartered in Jacksonville, FL and in 1979 graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity Degree. After seminary and becoming a Baptist clergyman, he moved to Clarkesville, TN to become a director of a Christian Coffee House and College Ministry at Austin Peay State University.
While there, Father Michael independently began to study the history of the Christian Church. This study lead him and his family to become a part of the Evangelical Orthodox Church. He was ordained into the Evangelical Orthodox church as a Deacon in 1984 and as a Priest on Pentecost Sunday in 1985.
Along with many others from that group, Father Michael was ordained as a Canonical Orthodox Priest by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America in 1987 at St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Franklin, TN.
He was assigned to St. Ignatius until 1991 and then served as an assistant Priest at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, FL.
Father Michael has served since the spring of 1995 as the Pastor of Holy Cross. He was elevated to the dignity of Archpriest in February of 2002 by His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Antiochian Diocese of Miami and the Southeast.
Father Michael has been married to his wife, Khouria Denise, for 40 years. They have three children; Michael Jr. (36 yrs.), Christopher (33 yrs.) and Maria (17 yrs.).