Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saint Demetrios Cathedral, New York

Since today the Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Demetrios it is only right I dedicate this post to a church devoted to this saint, i.e. Saint Demetrios in Astoria, New York. The Community of St. Demetrios has been in existence for over 80 years and its progress has been astonishing. In 1927 the ground on which St. Demetrios stands today was purchased for $3500. 

With just $306.000 in their treasury, the immigrant people consisting of furriers, tailors, bakers and labourers gathered on November 7, 1927 in order to form a charter with the State of New York and proclaimed their official name, the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Astoria, St. Demetrios Inc. 

From the inception of the community an afternoon Greek School and a Sunday School Program was organised to hold on to the precious Greek Language, customs, traditions and religion (which is also the way the Greek communities organise them selves in the diaspora, in general). 

The church was elevated to a cathedral on June 12, 1985. 

The community has currently a school, which opened in 1957 having 267 students. It has since become an all day school with over 700 Greek-American students.

Today it is a thriving community with four clergy men, Fr. Archimandrite Apostolos Koufallakis (Dean), Fr. Anastasios Pourakis, Fr. Vasiliios Louros and Fr. Ioannis Antonopoulos.  

Astoria retains its historic importance for the Greek community in the U.S.A. since it was the first See (1922-1942) of the Archdiocese of North and South America and was also the site of the first Seminary of Saint Athanasios. It is still a very "Greek" are, where on can find numerous shops, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, bars, churches, schools, medical practices and societies. 

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