Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral - Manchester, NH
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Mountain_Wanderer
N 42° 59.382 W 071° 26.196
19T E 301359 N 4762551
Quick Description: The building reminds me of scenes in Santorini
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Date Posted: 11/28/2008 2:44:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM58KB
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 13

Long Description:
In the fifth decade of its life, the church of St. George was confronted with a new challenge.
The children of the first generation Greek Americans were enrolling in increasing numbers
in the Sunday School program, whose revised curriculum was now being taught in English. Classes
began at 8:30 at the Hellenic Community Center on Pine Street and ended 3 hours later at the
church, the pupils, some 400 in number were transported in buses in order to attend the Divine
Liturgy at 10:00. The method was unwieldy and taxed the facilities of both locations.
The solution was to find more suitable structures. With $25,000 available in the church treasury,
the McShane Gardens on Hanover Street were purchased in 1958 by a committee directed by
Spiro Gregorios and Michael Skarlos. By 1963, after a successful fund drive directed by Arthur
Kehas and assisted by Peter Agrafiotis, Dr. George Colitas, Dr. Michael Michaels, Socrates
Skalkeas, Harry Theodosopoulos, Electra Voulgaris and a dedicated group of canvassers, the Board
of Directors was prepared to build a new church. One obstacle remained, however, approval of the
intended construction by a general assembly. To complicate matters, an earlier general assembly
had instructed the Board of Directors to resell the Gardens. A buyer had been found and the sale
could not be refused unless the general assembly countermanded the order. The meeting was convened
in October of 1963 by President George Colitas who had replaced an ailing Attorney
Nicholas Copadis midway though his term. Attendance was equally divided between 1st generation
supporters of relocation and immigrant fathers who favored renovation of the existing facilities.
Prior to the call to order, Father George Papaioannou, who had arrived a year earlier to
assume a vacant pastorship, walked in to the auditorium of the Hellenic community Center, escorted
by President Colitas. Up to this time, no priest had ever been allowed to attend a General
Assembly. This unprecedented action evoked an immediate storm of protest, and the senior members
present, many of whom had fought for the church through its first half-century, demanded his
immediate eviction. A motion was made and seconded to allow Father George to remain as an
observer. Before it could come to a vote, however, the old timers arose in a body and walked out
of the meeting. The motion was approved and Father George was allowed to participate in the
ensuing discussion on McShane Gardens. (Henceforth all pastors have had the privilege of being
present for the proceedings of the General Assemblies.)
The way was now clear to prevent the resale of the Gardens, and approval of this area as
the site of the new church. With no opposition from the disaffected forces motions passed easily
on both accounts. Nearly a year later, on September 13, 1964 ground was broken for the neo-
Byzantine white edifice, his Grace Gerasimos, Bishop of Boston officiating at the ceremony. On
Tuesday, March 22, 1966, the last service was held in the old St. George Church. Many of the worshippers,
who had attended the first Liturgy there 60 years earlier, were wet eyed as they bid
farewell to their beloved house of worship. The following Sunday, March 27, 1966 Greek
Independence day was celebrated with hundreds of parishioners, the Choir, Greek school, Sunday
school, and fraternal and cultural organizations, preceded first at the new church President Harry
Theodosopoulos, *Arthur Kehas of the Building Fund committee and Father George carrying the
icon of the patron saint, left the Hellenic Community Center on Pine Street and marched proudly
up Hanover Street in a brisk March wind. At the entrance to the church, the procession was
met by his Eminence Emilianos, Metropolitan and Grand Chancellor of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, who received the Icon of St. George from Father George. Moments later they were
concelebrating the first Divine Liturgy in the new church.
On October 4, 1970 the church of St. George was formally consecrated and elevated to
the status of Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New Hampshire. Solemn and ancient sanctifying rites
were performed by Iakovos, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of North and South
America. Marshalls for the processional were President Michael Skarlos and Harry
Theodosopoulos. At the entrance spirited bidding took place for the honor of becoming the
Godparent of the new Cathedral. The distinction was accorded to the Lambros Theodosopoulos
family. Inside the Archbishop baptized, anointed and consecrated the Cathedral for eternal use as
an Orthodox Christian temple. The detailed scenes and events of the Consecration weekend have
been recorded in a memorial album prepared under the editorial direction of Nancy Daskal and
Paul Vyrros. For anyone who desires more information on this glorious happening, it is available
in the Cathedral archives.
I attended the wedding of one of my college room-mates here.
650 Hanover Street Manchester, NH 03104

Religious affiliation: Eastern Orthodox

Date founded or constructed: 1964/09/13

Web site: [Web Link]

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