History of St. George Church and Cathedral 1905-1980
Details on the original Greek inhabitants of Manchester are sketchy, most of them faded from the memories of living survivors or swallowed into the fastnesses of time, 88 years, to be exact. According to the date John Z. Conides, devoted historian and General Chairman of the 50th Anniversary Celebration held in 1955, acknowledgement for being the first Greek in Manchester belongs to a Doctor Zervoudakes, Cretan émigré, who served as Greek consul in Montreal before moving in 1893 to Manchester where he practiced medicine at his 980 Elm Street office. He and his Canadian born wife raised two children whose identification is undisclosed.
In the next year two unnamed Spartans, father and son, opened a candy shop at 923 Elm Street and were followed in 1897 by the Xanthanky brothers, George and Peter, who opened the Mayflower tearoom at 1055 Elm Street. Before 1900 a growing colony of immigrants most of them from Sparta, established themselves in what would eventually come to be known as the Greek section (Lake Avenue, Spruce, Cedar and Auburn Streets running perpendicular to Beech, Union, Pine, Chestnut and Elm Streets). Among these, Mr. Conides records the names of Nicholas Bambas, Athanasios Costokanellis, Athanasios Giannaris, Demetrios Giannaris, George Koutsimpas, Panagiotis Moskovites, Dionisios Petrakis, George Petrakis, George Sigalos, Christos Smirnios, Demetrios Tournas, George Zitis and Panagiotis Zitis. Mr. Costokanellis, grandfather of Attorney Arthur Costakis, through his knowledge of English became an important link between the Greek community and the local populace, helping to ease the adjustment an unfamiliar environment.
The attraction of Manchester was the Amoskeag textile mills – at the turn of the century among the largest in the world – and available jobs in its spinning rooms. Within the first decade of the 20th century, hundreds of Greeks were weaving cloth and cutting shoes in the factories of the city. The majority, it would seem, came from the mountain villages of Northern Greece, as can be surmised from the names of fraternal societies formed around this time (Fourka, Avdela, Samarina, Pentalofos, Pan-Macedonian). Since no place of worship was available, services were held in private homes, a Reverend Kaparellis arriving periodically to perform the rites of baptism, marriage and death. Eventually, the city offered the use of one of its auditoriums above the mayor’s office for performance of the Divine Liturgy.
By 1905, according to statistics appearing in the Manchester Union of May 6, 1907, the Greek population had increased to 2500 and the immediate concern became the construction of a Greek Orthodox Church. With this purpose in mind on June 5 the Ecclesiastical Brotherhood of St. George was organized at the City Hall auditorium. Members included Soterios Nicholaou, President, Demetrios Manias, Vice-President, Lazaros Vakalikos, Secretary, Panagiotis Papadimitriou, Treasurer, Demetrios Karapoulis, Chairman Board of Trustees, Haralambos Psilikas, Vice Chairman, George Dimos, Collections and Athanasios Argeriou, Demetrios Barousie, Constantine Batalis, George Cantartzis, Athanasios Calfountzos, Marcos Constantinou, Athanasios Costokanellis, Nicholas Covatis, Costas Daskalis, Zois Flionis and Panagiotis Tsiopas.
At the conclusion of the service, performed by the Archimandrite Ambrosios Parasakakis, the first permanent pastor of Manchester’s Greeks, building fund pledges brought the amount of $2,261.63, new memberships a sum of $214 and a plate collection yielded $146.36. In the uninflated economy of nearly eight decades ago, this represented an enormous sacrifice, and reveals the determination of the early Greeks to have their own church.
It is curious that neither this historic occasion nor subsequent events related to the building of St. George Church were described in the journals of that era. A scrutiny of the Manchester Mirror and Manchester Union of 1905 and 1906 reveals no mention of any happening of a religious character among the Greek inhabitants of the city. Whatever, incidents were reported were of a sensational or tragical nature, by design or by accident placing the Greeks in the role of second class citizens.
- A Greek considered to be loitering on Spruce Street is told to move by a police officer. When he does not, apparently because he does not understand English, he is clubbed with a nightstick. A friend who springs to his aid is knocked senseless.
- A shopkeeper on Chestnut Street (James Poulios) posts 400 dollars bail for selling cigarettes to a minor. He is acquitted.
- A Greek (George Dovis) drowns in the Piscataquog River.
- A wrestler (James Castoris) complains that his ten-minute rest period between matches has been shortened by the timekeeper. He proceeds to flatten his opponent.
- A wedding in a Spruce Street home turns into a brawl among relatives of the bride and groom. Fourteen people are arrested.
- A young immigrant in a Cedar Street tenement cannot afford an operation to remove a tapeworm. He slashes his stomach and pulls out a two-foot long specimen! He hemorrhages to death.
- Authorities complain that Greeks are exploiting their 13 and 14 year-old children by making them work in the textile sweatshops.
- Greek consul of Lowell fined $1,000 for falsifying documents to allow immigrants to enter into the United States as next of kin of Greeks already here.
The bad press reports notwithstanding, the Greeks proceeded with their plans to dedicate their own temple to the Lord. On October 4, 1905, petition was made to Edward H. Peabody, Secretary of State, to incorporate under the laws of New Hampshire. Approval came on October 14, and the seal of state was affixed to the charter of St. George Church at the coffeehouse at 24 Spruce Street. Signatories at this historic scene included Athanasios Argeriou, Constantinos Bakalis, George Dimas, Zois Flionis, Constantinos Gianikis, Peter Ionnides, George Kantartzis, Demetrios Karapoulis, Demetrios Manias, Soterios Nikolaou, Petros Ioannides, Ioannis Kapopoulos, Athanasios Linardakis, Nikolaos Papoulias, Thomas Psaltis, Demetrios Rekas, Panagiotis Tsiopas and George Voliotopoulos. On August 15, holy day on the religious calendar, a groundbreaking ceremony took place amid great rejoicing at 95 Pine Street, a plot of land purchased by the trustees from the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. Mr. Antonopoulos proceeded to conclude plans with architect Wilfred E. Provost and Contractors Bernard and Bruton for construction of the church of St. George. The exterior was completed on January 1, 1907, the day prior to the name day of St. George, patron saint of the church. This event was reported on the next day in the Manchester Union in an article of somewhat dubious merit. Greeks were referred to as “alien citizens” and the Liturgy was presented as a High Mass. True to tradition, the coffeehouses remained open while the Greek community attended services in its own place of worship.
On July 28, 1907 new elections were held for the second Board of Trustees, Chosen were Sylvanos Antonopoulos, President, Demetrios Vassos, Vice President, Christos Kalentzos, Secretary, Panagiotis Papademetriou, Treasurer, Constantinos Bakalis, Spiros Kateras and Michael Kontos, auditors, and Athanasios Argeriou, Constantinos Christos, Vasilios Cantogiannis, George Copadis, Ioannis Katsakos, Costas Pantoulis, Athanasios Papoulias, Ioannis Stathopoulos, Vasilios Toumpas, Soterios Tsakalos and Constantinos Ziannos. By this action of second consecutive Board, precedents had been set, tradition had been established dedicated men had stepped forward to reaffirm their devotion to Greek Orthodoxy, a regular pastor had been assigned. Now the church of St. George was prepared to serve as a spiritual beacon, guiding the religious lives of its children into a future of faith and hope.
Along the way, historical milestones were registered. In 1912 a group of parishioners, among them George Copadis, Alexander Gakidis and George Martis, concerned with preservation of ethnic ties, entertained the idea of establishing a second church within the center of the Greek Community. Buying land at 261 Pine Street, they erected the church of the Evangelismos (Annunciation) with the Reverend Demetrios Kassis as first pastor. This church became identified with a fervent spirit of Hellenism, and for the first three years of its existence conducted a morning and afternoon school in the Greek language. Some of the finest theatrical productions in New England were also staged there under the direction of Iphigenia Copadis, and its Greek Independence Day exercises were noted for their patriotism and rhetoric. At the urging of Athenagoras, Archbishop of North and South American and later Patriarch of Constantinople, Evangelismos merged in 1932 with St. George. Intermediaries were George Copadis, John Danos and John Karafillakis, who arranged the transfer of property. The Board of Trustees during this period included Nicholas Prokovas, President, Vasilios Liapis, Vice President, John Conides, Secretary, Stergios Spanos, Treasurer, and Christos Bobotas, Christos Korcoulis, Nicholas Covatis, Vasilios Labanaris, Christos Malamis, Thomas Mavrogeorge, John Raptis and George Raptis. Renovations were made to the structure and it was renamed the Hellenic Community Center and served the educational and cultural interests of St. George Church.
In 1917, the first ladies society was formed, ultimately to become the Anagennesis charitable organization. No records are extant of its early years, but the society evolved into a diligent servant of the church, assisting in a multitude of functions, from cooking and baking to decorating the epitaphion on Good Friday. Out of its accumulated savings, it contributed more than half of the $22,500 required to convert Evangelismos into a community center. To this day Anagennesis remains solicitous of the needs of the church, spending its heaven doing good on earth.
From 1925-1928 still another separation took place, many worshippers attending Hagia Trias on Beech and Green Streets, later to become St. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church. In 1937 the Reverend Emilianos Paskalakis, celibate priest of St. George during the previous four years, relinquished his sacerdocy and with a few loyal followers purchased the former St. Agnes School on the corner of Cedar and Union Streets. Repairs were made and the structure was renamed the Dormition of the Holy Mother (Assumption) once more giving Greek Americans a second Greek Orthodox Church. Its present pastor is the Reverend James Christon. Two years later St. George Proudly burned the mortgage under the presidency of Haralambos Bentas, and in 1940, under the guidance of President Christos Franggogiannis, it purchased 32 acres near Crystal Lake which were transformed into a pleasant setting for outings and picnics. Additional land for the parking of vehicles was made available through the generosity of Nicholas Procovas.
Approval for a permanent pastor’s residence was given in 1952. Aristides Docos and Socrates Skalkeas acquired a home at 962 Union Street on behalf of the Board of Trustees, and Arthur Pappas and the Anagennesis Society made substantial contributions toward the selling price. In 1955 the 50th anniversary of the Church of St. George was held with appropriate festivities. An album commemorating the event was issued under the direction of Socrates Skalkeas and Michael Skarlos, and a copy is kept in the archives of the church. It contains a historical survey by John Conides of the first 50 years and lists the names of Board of Trustees and Committees that worked untiringly for the presentation of their religious and cultural inheritance.
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. In the 14 years that the Cathedral has served the Greek Orthodox faithful of Manchester, some important events have come to pass. In 1968, during the presidency of Harry Theodosopoulos, a large gift was announced in the name of the late Constantinos and Eugenia Maramis. Under the prudent counseling of Attorney Kimon Zachos the capital has grown to nearly $200,000. A plaque in the educational center of the Cathedral memorialized these generous benefactors. In 1970, during the presidency of Michael Skarlos, a new home was purchased for the pastor on Belmont Street. Most of the cost was underwritten by John and James Gikas. In 1976, under President Nicholas Copadis a milestone was achieved when women were granted the ballot, allowed to attend general assemblies and entitled to seek seats on the Board of Directors. In 1978, the second mortgage was burned by President John Stergiou, and in 1979 under the presidency of Peter Kiskinis, extensive repairs were made to the interior of the Cathedral. Improvements continue to be undertaken under the direction of Harry Theodosopoulos and the technical supervision of Mike Baryiames.
Five regular priests have served the Cathedral since 1966, the Reverends George Papaioannou, George Venetos, Gerasimos Rassias, Nicholas Dufault and the current pastor, Father John Maheras. The OBSERVER, the official magazine of the Cathedral, has chronicled in words and pictures the religion and cultural panorama that has unfolded in the last two decades.
History of St. George Church and Cathedral 1980-1998
1980 – President Nicholas G. Copadis
Dedication is exemplified by many of those who have served St. George Cathedral. Judge Nicholas Copadis, in spite of ill health, returned to the presidency of St. George in 1980, for an unprecedented ninth term, determined to bring cooperation and understanding to a divided congregation. His message early in 1980, titled “A Time to Love”, chronicled the trials and tribulations of the cathedral and pleaded with the membership to find it in their hearts to put differences aside and to come together for the common good.
Sadly, the obituary written by Paul Vyrros, dated November 22, 1980, which follows, chronicles a life of aspiration, achievement and humanity, brought to an early close, but not before he saw the community moving ahead united, as he envisioned it.
In an overwhelming display of public sorrow, the Greek Americans of Manchester buried one of their native sons last November. The funeral was one of the largest ever held in the Queen City, a final tribute to the memory of the acknowledged leader of the Greek Orthodox Community during 25 years. Nick Copadis, American patriot, Christian soldier, ardent philhellene, devoted servant of St. George, church and cathedral.
The encomiums are not extravagant in memory of the man who dedicated his life to country, faith and Hellenism. Nick was all of these and even more, family man, loyal associate, sympathetic listener, compassionate referee in court decisions, whose stern appearance was inconsistent with the man within, warm human being and generous friend.
In 1976 Nick withdrew from active participation in church affairs, his health eroded from the pressures of office. But compelling concern with the Cathedral’s problems drew him back, and he was handsomely elected to his 9th term as president of the Board in January of 1980, the longest tenure in 75 years of the Orthodox Church in Manchester. By this time he was in failing health and all the old resiliency was gone. Never did he complain but it was obvious that he was suffering. More and more he turned his responsibilities over to his Vice President, who is also his older son George. He chaired his last General Assembly in October. Never a man to skirt an issue or to take umbrage in presidential privilege, he stood up bravely once more to face his opponents. The meeting ended and Nick walked out, his final act in service to the community he loved, unselfishly met. A few weeks later this bright flame had darkened and he was gone. Nick was fond of quotations. One of his favorites was from a funeral oration by John Donne, the 17th century preacher poet. “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The ceremonial bell of the Cathedral, removed from the old church at Nick’s urging, and which he had insisted should be sounded for funerals, was now tolling for him. Nick was involved in mankind. His death diminished all of us.
His older son and Cathedral Vice-president, George Copadis, assumed the duties of president after his father’s death.
This was also the year that the modern day “Glendi” was conceived by Bill Kanteres, after he studied the success of many such festivals in other Greek communities. Glendi was to effectively replace the old “Bazaar” fund raising event.
Plans progressed for the coming celebration of the 75th Anniversary of St. George Cathedral, to be held on the weekend of May 1st, 1981.
1981 – President George N. Copadis
In 1981, under the able leadership of young George Copadis, the 75th Anniversary celebration attracted hundreds to the fun-filled Taverna night and over 500 to the Grand Banquet on May 3rd, chaired by Nora Moufarge.
After an interminable time, the cathedral now also had a permanent priest, Father John Maheras, which added to the stability of the Sunday School and Greek School programs.
Attending the banquet were Archbishop Iakovos, Bishop Anthimos, Governor Gallen, Senators Rudman and Humphrey, Congressman Norman D’Amours, and Mayor Charles Stanton.
The 75th Anniversary album program was chaired and brought to a successful conclusion by James Parks and Harry Dimos, with net receipts of over $40,000. Repairs were undertaken on the community center, including acoustics, heating, plumbing, insulation and considerable repairs to the stage.
The new Glendi event successfully attracted a large turnout as the Board of Directors fine-tuned the new concept. Also, with the new program, substantial requirements were imposed in procuring, preparing and providing massive amounts of foods and materials. Parishioners and organizations responded to the needs of Glendi for preparation of typical Greek foods and pastries. In remarkable time, an organized program began to make Glendi possible. At this time also, parishioner, Charles Kotekas, dedicated himself to finding and stockpiling the raw materials needed at the best price possible. His efforts were to continue into the next century.
A report compiled by James Koustas, showed that the Cathedral at this time had a paid membership of almost 900 parishioners.
In December, the estate of Nicholas Letares donated $200,000 to the St. George Endowment fund. A very much appreciated gift for the church.
1982 – President Bill Kanteres
Honoring the bequest made by Nicholas Letares, a yearly coffee hour, hosted by the Anagennesis was established to honor his memory.
President Bill Kanteres journeyed to the Clergy Laity conference and returned enthused and inspired by the 650 delegate gathering. His message that year focused on his discovery of the magnitude of the president’s job and the assistance of “dedicated” parishioners.
Editor Paul Vyrros, publisher of the Observer since 1962, lamented the suspension of the publication of the Observer during 1982 and concentrated on 1981 events, with hopes that it would be possible to publish again in the future. Paul also presented the Board with a manual dedicated to church operations.
On a motion by Nick Skaperdas, the Board of Directors agreed to consider the purchase of the Northwood Nursing Home for the purpose of future expansion of church facilities.
In October, Attorney Peter Kourides, Archdiocesan Representative, presented the request of the Archdiocese for acceptance of the controversial “Uniform Parish Regulations”. The presentation was met with a great deal of dissension by those present and on a motion by Harry Theodosopoulos, the measure was overwhelmingly defeated.
Seminarian Dean Panagos, a member of St. George, was hired for the summer on a grant established by the Board. Subsequently, Dean was elevated to the priesthood and is serving as a parish priest.
President Bill Kanteres noted that with the assistance of Anagennesis and a core group of dedicated parishioners, the expanded Glendi program was a financial and social success.
1983 – President Paul Vyrros
Consideration was given by the Board for the possible purchase of the Somascan Brothers adjacent property, as a site for Senior Citizen housing. The construction of the present building was a major detriment since it was designed for small individual cells for the brothers, but the proposal remained under consideration with Bill Varkas pursuing right of first refusal.
Anagennesis President Diane Bobotas presented the Board with a proposal for the installation of stained glass on the west side of the church.
Renovation was begun on the Sunday School classrooms as well as consideration of the installation of a library under the church proper.
George Copadis, Chairman of the Absentee Ballot Committee, asked the General Assembly to adopt the program for absentee voting rights. The assembly voted 75 to 1 for the adoption of this proposal.
A further consideration of the General Assembly was the installation of a chapel under the church. The chapel, long proposed by Paul Vyrros, would save the cost of heating the church for sparsely attended church services on weekdays. Another factor was the proposed location in the Ahepa room, which raised the question of relocation for the fraternal group.
Repainting the church came under considerable discussion with President Vyrros unsuccessfully proposing a permanent mosaic surface, instead of periodic painting.
Glendi continued to grow and prosper as people from surrounding communities learned about the delicious Greek food, pastries, music and congenial atmosphere.
1984 – President George N. Copadis
President George Copadis appealed to the community to eliminate petty grievances and proceed with a cooperative attitude so younger members of the church will be more attracted to an active role in the church.
The Board of Directors continued discussion of a proposed elderly housing project with a request of $5,000 line of credit from the Trust Fund.
Pursuing more fund raising ideas, Harry Theodosopoulos proposed a new venture, “The Lucky Clover Club” with a goal of 1,000 tickets to be sold for $100.00 each Harry was appointed chairman of the new program with monthly awards.
Public Relations Chairman, Nicholas Mathios, presented the board with a program outlining suggestions to present a more positive image for the church. A new publication proposal with church information was enthusiastically approved by the Board. Additionally, the church address was officially changed to 650 Hanover Street as approved by the Board of Directors.
The Somascan property proposed acquisition proceeded to a draft by legal counsel for an option to purchase.
Renovations and repairs included a storage room addition behind the community room stage and new equipment for the kitchen required by the food preparation for Glendi. Glendi attendance and proceeds continued to increase, made possible only by the dedication of church volunteers who begin preparations early in the summer each year.
1985 – President Harry Theodosopoulos
Thirty-point code of conduct for use as a guideline for interpersonal Board responsibilities enacted by the Board.
Bishop Methodios advises Board that Father Maheras is to be reassigned. Father James Christon, retired Pastor of Assumption church would officiate until a permanent replacement is found.
Bishop Methodios advises Board that our actions in not approving the Uniform Parish Regulations have resulted in other priests not finding St. George as an acceptable parish for service.
Paul Vyrros is informed that the “Observer” publication is to be reinstated for a year. The Board has suspended publication since 1982.
Board of Directors issues letter of acknowledgement to the Diocese regarding the assignment of a permanent priest for the community.
Father Charles Sarelis is assigned to the community and is enthusiastically received by the community at his first service.
1986 – President Harry Theodosopoulos
Renovations this year included replacement of the huge Community Center roof and replacement of the air conditioning system and replacement of the west entrance stairs.
Harry Theodosopoulos announced 500 participants in the Lucky Clover Club with six monthly drawings from July through December and showed a substantial profit for the year.
Paul Vyrros was named Chairman of the Prophet Elias project and instructed to report back to the Board of Directors with his findings.
In November, Nicholas Mathios chaired the “Burning of the Mortgage Papers” function along with the 25th Anniversary of the ordination of Father Charles Sarelis’ 25th Anniversary of Ordination at a banquet in the community center.
1987 – President Nicholas Mathios
Spyros Gregorios is chosen as the first honoree for the new Diocese/Laity Awards program.
Subsequently, the Honors Chair received a call from Bishop Methodios informing the community that Spyros Gregorios will not receive the citation. Spyros Gregorios had been previously honored by the St. George Community in 1983 for his many years of service.
A questionnaire was prepared and disseminated to all parishioners regarding membership information to help the church meet individual interests.
The Board of Directors discussed the employment of an Administrator to facilitate the daily business of the church office.
The yearly Cadillac Banquet, chaired by Bill Varkas was a huge success with donations of over $8,000.
The Wednesday night activity continues successful operation because of the dedicated workers who are on hand every week.
A formal welcoming committee is appointed to greet new attendees of church services.
Another improvement on processing Glendi food supplies is added with the purchase of a new walk in freezer. An energy efficiency study is proposed for the church complex and the front steps of the church are repaired.
Reaching out to young church members, the Soc Covatis basketball league is reinstated with assistance of Board Vice President Chuck Stergiou.
Robert Scott is appointed to the position of Pastoral Assistant.
1988 – President Nicholas Mathios
Committee formed for the observance of the 25th Anniversary of the church ground breaking to take place in the fall. Committee members appointed include James Parks, Chuck Stergiou, George Copadis and Harry Theodosopoulos.
Construction/renovation of this year included cleaning and repainting the community center; reinstalling doors with disabled ramp and new steps.
Board President Nicholas Mathios undertook a study of the ramp leading to the church in order to eliminate yearly problems with snow, ice and rain for people and processions entering the church.
A plan and specifications was obtained from a local company, Solar Components for a ramp enclosure and reinforcement of the ramp itself. President Mathios approached the Trust Fund Directors with a plan and a request for funds, which was accepted. The Board of Directors subsequently approved the construction for a total of $94,500 and the enclosure was erected.
Following another successful Glendi, donations were made to the following groups: Child Health Services, Caregivers, and YWCA.
1988 – Honored by the St. George Community for outstanding service:
- Charles Pappas
- Chrisoula Plentzas
- Michael Skarlos
- Harry Theodosopoulos
- Paul Vyrros
1989 – President Nicholas Mathios
Following a forced entry into the office at night, the Board of Directors approved the installation of a new alarm system for the community center and the church.
The new ramp system was completed with the installation of new carpeting for the ramp and the Narthex.
It had been apparent for some time that there was a substantial loss of heat during the winter through the windows of the church which had been “glazed” with plastic inserts, as a cost saving measure, during initial construction. President Mathios discussed the window situation with Anagennesis and proposed a program to replace the plastic with stained glass. Agreement was reached on a program to replace the plastic and a stained glass committee was appointed. Proposals were received from several stained glass sources and it was agreed that a local source was preferable. The proposal was presented to the Board of Directors and Chairman Mathios, in turn, presented the stained glass proposal to the Trust Committee with a request for financing which was approved. Design and installation of the stained glass required a period of about six months.
This year donations from Glendi funds were made to the Visiting Nurse Association; Big Brothers; Big Sisters, Child Health Services, Red Cross, Camp Allen, The Soup Kitchen, and NH Association for the Blind.
1989 – Honored by the St. George Community for their many years of outstanding service:
- Arthur Kehas
- Chris Korcoulis
- Aspacia Manelas
1990 – President Bill Varkas
The Board of Directors and GOYA honored Bill Tsingos, lifetime parish member, on his graduation as a Rhodes Scholar.
Decision was made by the Board of Directors to sell timber rights at the picnic grounds for a total of $11,000.
A structural engineer was retained to survey condition of the iconostasion.
There was a secret ballot at the December 2nd General Assembly on the adoption of the Uniform Parish Regulations. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated.
1990 – Honored for their many years of outstanding service:
- Cleopatra Arnoutis
- Joseph Martino
- Charles Mermingis
- Bessie & Soterios Zekopoulos
1991 – President Bill Varkas
Paul Vyrros was accorded permission to reinstate the Observer for another year.
Nicholas Mathios presented a report on the installation of the stained glass program. The program is due to be completed by the end of the year.
The heating system was evaluated. Underground fuel tanks were removed and replaced. The north wall was refinished and the parking lot resealed.
Father Peter Chamberas began his ministry at St. George Cathedral on August 1st. Father Sarelis has moved on to Kansas City. In the interim Fathers Christon, Clapsis, Gialopsis and Harakas served the needs of the community.
The combined 25th year on Hanover Street and 85th year since the founding of the church was observed with a dinner attended by a sell out crowd. Invited and attending were former pastors Demetrios Kavadas, George Papaioannou, George Venetos, Steven Papadoulias, Jerry Rassias and John Maheras.
1991 – Honored by the St. George Community for their many years of outstanding service:
- Dongas Family – Sophie, Maria & Bill
- Louis Korcoulis
- Nicholas Mathios
- Bessie Timbas
- Beatrice P. Varkas
1992 to 1998 – President George N. Copadis
For the first time, the Diocese Winter Camp was sponsored by St. George Cathedral and was so well received that the Board voted to sponsor the program again in 1993.
The Greek Independence Day Celebration was held in the St. George Community Center, sponsored by all three Manchester Greek Orthodox churches with the Counsel of Greece as the main speaker and an entertaining slide show by Father Peter.
The Budget Committee provided budget recommendations to the Board based on the figure from the previous year and the Board met the budget targets for the whole year.
Glendi 92 was the most successful financially and socially since its inception eleven years ago.
The stained glass project finished the another section on the back wall under the altar with completion due before the Christmas season.
As you know, serving as President of the Board of Directors requires a tremendous commitment of time and energy in both the day to day operation of the church and co-chairing our Annual Glendi Celebration. Despite the extent of this commitment, I can say without equivocation that the rewards of serving in this position far outweigh its considerable demands.
For the past seven years the Board of Directors has worked effectively through a committee system wherein Board members report back to the full Board on their respective committee’s issues. This has ensured that each Board member operates as an integral element of the overall Board process and has resulted in a true “team effort” approach to all Board matters. As a result of this approach we as a Board have been able to produce a series of significant accomplishments which have helped make these seven years a period of great success for our community.
Through Chairman Chris Kehas and the Capital Improvements Committee, we have done the
- Completed renovation of community center restrooms.
- New sound system in the church to address the dead spots and to provide all parishioners attending the church service the ability to hear the whole service.
- Repainting of the church dome.
- New front stairs leading to the church from Hanover Street.
- New side stairs leading to the church along with a new bridge between the church and community center.
- Provided accessibility to the church by building a handicap ramp.
- Provided additional church parking behind the former Northwood Nursing Home by elimination of one wing of the building.
- New roof on the community center with a built in ladder leading to the roof.
- Repainting of all the classrooms along with new thermostats to control the heat.
- Continuing to address heat and cooling issues inside the church. New heating units have been ordered and are set to be installed by the second week of February replacing the obsolete units currently in the church.
- Gutting the interior of the former Northwood Nursing Home in preparation of the schedule with the contractor to renovate the building and provide meeting rooms and a Youth Recreation Room. This was also approved by the parishioners of the community at the most recent election by a vote of 326-67.
- With the Glendi crowds getting larger and larger the Capital Improvements Committee with consultant George Zioze and Charlie Mermingis added new convection ovens to the kitchen along with a new walk in freezer in the community center to address our customers in a quicker and more efficient way.
The Glendi Celebration just keeps getting bigger and better with each passing year. During the
past seven years we have:
- Continued to set new financial records for total gross dollars and total net dollars for each and every year from 1992-1998.
- In response to requests from our customers and our neighbors we began a Trolley service knows as Molly the Trolley to provide easier access to the church property during Glendi weekend. The trolley has been tremendously successful and has dramatically reduced traffic congestion in and around Hanover Street.
- Brought the Civil Air Patrol and cadets to Glendi to assist with traffic control and assist the chairpeople of the booths with their needs. The cadets have become part of our extended Glendi family.
- Expanding the Glendi Appreciation Dinner to acknowledge some of our major sponsors. The presentation of plaques to Mr. Telemachos DeMoulas, Tom Griffith representing WMUR-TV, Merchants Motors and the Singer Family, and the BackRoom Restaurant.
- In 1997, we instituted the Glendi Ad Book to provide our customers with some history of the Glendi along with an enclosure of our main menu, and to make parishioners aware of businesses that have purchased ads.
- We have been blessed with visits from His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios who continues to take time out from his busy schedule to spend time with us during our Glendi Celebration.
The Winter Camp
For six of the past seven years the St. George Community has hosted the Diocese Winter Camp. The camp as you know attracts a total of 280 counselors and campers and the 1998 Board of Directors has approved hosting the 1999 camp here once again making it seven of the last eight years. His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios has joined us on each of the Winter Camps and offered an icon to be displayed here at St. Cathedral until the next Winter Camp.
As you know back in 1992 our relationship with some of our neighbors could only be described as rocky at best. A period of mistrust had built up over the years and the neighbors opposition to Glendi built up along with a disbelief that we would attempt to correct any of the issues they brought forth. Over the course of the past seven years we have rebuilt faith and trust to reestablish a neighborhood relationship that all of us want to have surrounding our homes.
Northwood Nursing Home
The Board of Directors through the Endowment Fund Chairman Kimon S. Zachos, Esq. and the trustees purchased the building for $75,000. Ownership was transferred to St. George Cathedral upon the affirmative vote of our parishioners at a General Assembly meeting. This building will address all the future needs of the church regarding meeting rooms, a youth recreation center, and additional storage.
Archdiocese Fair Share Contribution
Since 1993, the Board of Directors has voted to maintain level funding of our Archdiocese commitment. With no increases approved since the 1991 Board of Directors approved increases for calendar year 1992 and 1993 and the 1992 and 1993 Board of Directors felt obligated to honor their decision.
As voted by the General Assembly meeting and the approval of the Board of Directors a double entry bookkeeping system was implemented through the effort of Men Kokolis and Kally Millios.
The Board of Directors waived dues for any parishioner 80 years old or above.
The Board of Directors moved to bring forth to the General Assembly a conflict of interest amendment to the constitution indicating no member of the Board can be a paid employee of the church and must abstain from any vote of the Board in which (he) (she) may have a direct financial interest. This was passed by the General Assembly and is now part of our constitutional guidelines.
The Board of Directors votes and approves a final budget that we as a Board have determined we can live with for the calendar year. We have been very fortunate Treasurer Phil Liakos followed by Treasurer Phil Blatsos and Men Kokolis have assisted with the development and implementation, and following the budget for each calendar year.
Membership has been an issue throughout our seven years. The Board of Directors voted to reinstate members upon their payment of current year of dues only. This has assisted us in picking up additional new members as well as delinquent members. In an effort to beautify the grounds here at St. George Cathedral the Board of Directors voted to hire ChemLawn to address the lawn needs along with the construction of an irrigation system. Hopefully this will help beautify our property. The Board of Directors voted to replace the St. George Day Dance with the St. George Awards Day Celebration. The Awards Day Banquet this year featured our special guest His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah. Hopefully this will be an annual event giving our community the opportunity to honor the service of life long church volunteers.
October 4, 1998 exactly 28 years to the day since His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos performed the consecration of St. George Greek Orthodox Church to St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral he returned to be honored by St. George parishioners. The St. George Community presented His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos with a check for $100,000 for the Archbishop Iakovos Library and a room with a plaque indicating “Donated by the Parishioners of St. George Cathedral, Manchester, NH”. I hope all of us will join His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos on April 18, 1999 as we walk into the St. George Cathedral Room together.
The Anagennesis Ladies Society, the right arm of the church, has assisted with their generosity through their purchase of the clarion bells, the church organ, the video projection system, and with 100 new tables for the community center. It has been my privilege to work with the last three presidents, the late Nora Moufarge, Electra Joaquin and Bessie Manolis. As we have moved forward with these accomplishments, we have done our best to keep you, the parishioners of our community, as informed as possible about current matters as well as the future course of our community. We are elected to serve you and I want you to know that as we go about the business of the Board that is always first and foremost in our minds. My privilege of service as President of the Board of Directors and Co-Chair of our Annual Glendi Celebration will come to an end with the election of officers for 1999. I leave knowing that I have attempted as best I could to fulfill the legacy my father left me: Service to our church. I am most grateful that you have given me this precious opportunity to let all know that the work my father began lives on through me as I have continued his unfinished mission on behalf of our church. In the spirit of the holiday season, I look back upon this opportunity as my father’s gift to me, mine to him, and yours to me. Thank you.
1998 – Honored for outstanding service to St. George Cathedral:
- Ted Demetrakopoulos
- Sophia Dimos
- James Geanis
- Cecile Gimas
- Charles Kotekas
- Menelaos Kokolis
- Bessie Kontomaris
- Connie Kounkoulos
- James Koustas
- Aglaia Macropol
- Nora Moufarge
- Jim Statires
- George Spiro
- Peter Tagalakis
- Ann Tsipopoulos