Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

4070 Park Avenue   Bridgeport, CT 06604   203-374-5561

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Monday - Friday
8:30 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Sundays
Following Church Service 12:00 noon
 
 
Church Phone 203.374.5561 Church Fax 203.374.5770   
Church Email: Email@HolyTrinityBridgeport.org  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our History

This document was written in December of 1988, as we commemorated our 75th Anniversary. As we approach our 100th anniversary, it is once again a wonderful time to look back at the achievements of our forefathers and to honor them by continuing to move "forward and upward". 

Read this in Greek

     The history of the Greek Community and subsequently, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Bridgeport dates back to the turn of the century. It was not until 1901 one of the first permanent Greek settlers, Aristides Angelopoulos, came to Bridgeport. Shortly thereafter a group of Greek settlers moved to Bridgeport and it appears that this group formed the nucleus of the Greek Community. The number of Greeks continued to increase so that by 1910, according to the U.S. Census there were 194 Greeks living in Bridgeport. 
In 1911 Nicholas Vlantes and Aristides Angelopoulos organized the seventh chapter of the Pan Hellenic Union, (Pan Hellenics Enosis), with 50 charter members who eventually were directly involved in the founding of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Bridgeport, CT. 
     The Very Reverend Archimandrite Methodios Kourkoulis celebrated the first Greek orthodox Divine Liturgy in Bridgeport on Thanksgiving Day 1912 at the Russian Orthodox Church on Hallett Street. 
On April 6, 1913 eleven members of the Pan Hellenic Union discussed the need for a Greek Orthodox Community/Church of Bridgeport. They were Nicholas Vlantes, Nicholas Theodoropoulos, Nicholas Goudas, Aristidis Angelopoulos, Gregory Vaggelopoulos, Demetrios Sinanis, George Geanuracos, George Meras, Konstantinos Taboularis, George Kapnas and George Asteriou. These eleven members were joined by an additional seven men, to form a committee under the direction of Nicholas Vlantes and Aristides Angelopoulos.        This committee asked Rev. George Kalogiannis, Pastor of the Annunciation Church in Stamford, CT, to come to Bridgeport once a month to conduct services until a permanent priest could be assigned. The first service was conducted in May, 1913. Following the service, the first Church Board of Directors was elected, consisting of seven members: Nicholas Lazos, President; Nicholas Vlantes, Vice President; George Molones, Secretary; Aristides Angelopoulos, Treasurer; and members, George Geanuracos, Andrew Demotses and Anastasios Farfaras. 
     On November 8, 1913, the first permanent priest, Rev. Dionysios Papadatos was assigned. He celebrated his first Divine Liturgy in Bridgeport at the YMCA on November 21, 1913. For the next year and a half the services continued to be held at the YMCA. Whenever the facility became overcrowded, services were then conducted in Trinity Episcopal Church, and it was from that church that the first outdoor "Epitaphio" service was held in 1914. 
Father Dionysius Pappadatos founded the first Greek language school about 1913. Classes consisting of the Greek language and the Orthodox faith were taught daily by Dr. Pippilis at the YMCA on Main and Gilbert Streets. 
By 1914 a constitution had been drawn up and the Community was incorporated under the leadership of the second president of Holy Trinity, Mr. Elias Linardakis. 
     Under the presidency of Mr. Soterios Gertsekas (James), the first General Assembly was held on June 15, 1915 and it was decided that a church should be purchased. On July 20, 1915, after a successful building fund drive, the Community purchased a building located at 36 West Liberty Street at a cost of $8,500. The building had formerly housed the First Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church. During the early years, this church not only served the Greeks of Bridgeport and the surrounding communities, but also many of the other Orthodox in the area, including the Syrians, Albanians and Romanians.
     Because of conflict within the community, on October 26, 1920 a second Parish named the "Annunciation" or "Evangelismos Tis Theotokou," was formed and headed by Orestes Regas and Stergios Laropoulos. This group purchased a building on Myrtle Avenue and Prospect Street. The church services were held on the first floor, and the second floor was used as a Greek School. Father Gerasimos, who later was to become Bishop Gerasimos of Chicago, was the priest who served both parishes.
     Fortunately, the separation between the two churches did not last long. After two years Demetrios Chiapis, President of Holy Trinity during the two year interim, approached Orestes Regas on the subject of a union of the two congregations. As a result, a compromise was agreed upon by which Mr. Regas, in whose name the building for the second parish had been purchased, donated the building on Myrtle Avenue and Prospect Street, and the small remaining mortgage was assumed by Holy Trinity. This building was then used as a Greek school, and services continued in the church on West Liberty Street. 
     During the early 1920's the priest in Bridgeport was Rev. Nicholas Andriopoulos. He served the parish for about five years. During the 1920's several chapters of Greek-American organizaions were established in Bridgeport. The Bridgeport chapter of the AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) was founded in April 1925. By 1926 it had 110 members, and in the late 1930's had over 150 members. AHEPA continues to be an active organization to this day both on a national and local level. The GAPA (Greek American Progressive Association) was also active during the early years, and by the late 1930's had a membership of 95. It was dissolved in 1978. 
     In 1927, Rev. Joseph Xanthopoulos was assigned to Bridgeport. During some of his tenure he was assisted by the Deacon Nicodemos. Charles Cravatas was president. It was during this period the Rev. Xanthopoulos formed the E Mirofori Society. This Society had as its members, single girls, that worked for the Church. They formed the first Choir and through fund raising projects purchased, among other things, the church organ that is still being used in our church today. 
     The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Community continued to grow, and soon the church on West Liberty Street became overcrowded. On September 28, 1927 the General Assembly voted to investigate the feasibility of constructing a new church. A Building Fund Committee was appointed and within two years was able to raise most of the funds needed to pay off the outstanding mortgage due on the Church property. The balance of the mortgage was paid off with funds raised by the newly elected Board of Trustees. This group was able to realize a surplus in the treasury, which was applied to the new Building Fund Program. However, plans for a new church were postponed because of the Depression. 
     The following years were indeed difficult. The president during 1932 and 1933 was Athan Prakas. The country was experiencing its worst financial crises, nevertheless, the Community's facilities were such that a construction of a new Edifice had to be undertaken to accommodate the spiritual requirements of a devout people. Theodore Theodorides was the Greek School teacher during this period and also served as the Cantor for the Church services. 
     Under the leadership of Anthony Smith, a dynamic personality who served as Church President during 1935, 1936, and 1937, the General Assembly of the Community decided that construction must commence immediately. Ground was broken on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Prospect Street for a new Church. Ihc hdificc was completed by Easter 1937, and the Rev. Father Demetrios Kallimahos served the Parish for an interim period of two months and celebrated the hrst Divine Liturgy. The construction cost of the new Edifice without the interior, Parish house and later improvements was in excess of $50,000, a great sum indeed during this period of financial hardship. The architect was Peter Petrofsky and the builder was Patsy Frank.
     Fortunately, the separation between the two churches did not last long. After two years Demetrios Chiapis, President of Holy Trinity during the two year interim, approached Orestes Regas on the subject of a union of the two congregations. As a result, a compromise was agreed upon by which Mr. Regas, in whose name the building for the second parish had been purchased, donated the building on Myrtle Avenue and Prospect Street, and the small remaining mortgage was assumed by Holy Trinity. This building was then used as a Greek school, and services continued in the church on West Liberty Street. 
     During the early 1920's the priest in Bridgeport was Rev. Nicholas Andriopoulos. He served the parish for about five years. During the 1920's several chapters of Greek-American organizaions were established in Bridgeport. The Bridgeport chapter of the AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) was founded in April 1925. By 1926 it had 110 members, and in the late 1930's had over 150 members. AHEPA continues to be an active organization to this day both on a national and local level. The GAPA (Greek American Progressive Association) was also active during the early years, and by the late 1930's had a membership of 95. It was dissolved in 1978. 
     In 1927, Rev. Joseph Xanthopoulos was assigned to Bridgeport. During some of his tenure he was assisted by the Deacon Nicodemos. Charles Cravatas was president. It was during this period the Rev. Xanthopoulos formed the E Mirofori Society. This Society had as its members, single girls, that worked for the Church. They formed the first Choir and through fund raising projects purchased, among other things, the church organ that is still being used in our church today. 
     The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Community continued to grow, and soon the church on West Liberty Street became overcrowded. On September 28, 1927 the General Assembly voted to investigate the feasibility of constructing a new church. A Building Fund Committee was appointed and within two years was able to raise most of the funds needed to pay off the outstanding mortgage due on the Church property. The balance of the mortgage was paid off with funds raised by the newly elected Board of Trustees. This group was able to realize a surplus in the treasury, which was applied to the new Building Fund Program. However, plans for a new church were postponed because of the Depression. 
The following years were indeed difficult. The president during 1932 and 1933 was Athan Prakas. The country was experiencing its worst financial crises, nevertheless, the Community's facilities were such that a construction of a new Edifice had to be undertaken to accommodate the spiritual requirements of a devout people. Theodore Theodorides was the Greek School teacher during this period and also served as the Cantor for the Church services. 
     Under the leadership of Anthony Smith, a dynamic personality who served as Church President during 1935, 1936, and 1937, the General Assembly of the Community decided that construction must commence immediately. Ground was broken on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Prospect Street for a new Church. Ihc hdificc was completed by Easter 1937, and the Rev. Father Demetrios Kallimahos served the Parish for an interim period of two months and celebrated the hrst Divine Liturgy. The construction cost of the new Edifice without the interior, Parish house and later improvements was in excess of $50,000, a great sum indeed during this period of financial hardship. The architect was Peter Petrofsky and the builder was Patsy Frank.
The amazing thing which characterized the Greek immigrant was his willingness to take "a step forward." Depressions, lack of fluent English, other obstacles never really curtailed 'the dreams or purpose. He was always confident that "God is the Architect" of any sacred project and therefore, could not fail. He knew that God would not turn from him but would bless the labors of the immigrant who worked "in His Vineyards." During this trying time, Theodore Harry Pappas was serving as Treasurer and Chris T. Mellas as Vice-President who along with the President, Anthony Smith motivated some of the communicants of Holy Trinity to offer their property deeds as collateral to the bank for a security loan. 
      Measures were taken by the Communicants from 1938 through 1945 to raise money to pay the loan and complete the Church interior; a gigantic project within itself. During these years, the Boards of Trustees elected were under the presidency of William Vlandis. They, through the General Assembly of the Community, enacted Community legislation necessary to meet the financial obligations of a growing Parish. The church interior was completed by February 15, 1946 at a cost exceeding $30,000. 
During the World War II years many from the community served in the armed forces. In most cases it was no longer the immigrant Greek who served, but rather his offspring, who by this time was of military age. According to the "Honor Roll" plaque at the church approximately 223 men and women of Greek origin or descent from Bridgeport served in the armed forces during World War II. 
Seven men gave their lives in the service of their country. They were: Thomas Anagnos, George Angelopoulos, Charles Cambras, Constantinc Constandy, Peter Carawlanis, George Nicholas and Peter Theofas. May their "Memory be Eternal." 
     It was also during the war years, in 1944, that the Mother's Club became a chapter of the National Philoptochos Society organized by His Eminence, the late Archbishop Athenagoras who later became the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Philoptochos, meaning "Friend of the Poor" is the woman's auxilliary of every Greek Orthodox Church. This society is dedicated to projects for the benefit of the community and has been serving various causes both on a local and national level in every aspect of community and civic service. Philoptochos was also very active with the Greek War Relief. Mrs. Nathalia Bochanis served as the firs President of the Ladies Philoptochos Society. Through the years, over $100,00 has been raised and donated to Holy Trinity by the Philoptochos Society who i considered and referred to as the "Right Hand of the Church." 
     Dr. Theodore Bochanis succeeded William Vlandis as President of the-Church Board of Trustees and served during the next four years from January 1946 through December 1949, and the renovation of the Community Hall w; completed. During this period the Senior GOYA was formed and the first preside was John Coshonis. The Board of Trustees, under the Presidencey of Milton Hallas was given the task of the Consecration of the Church. The Consecration of Holy Trinity Church of Myrtle Avenue took place on October 22, 1950. 
Under the Presidency of Orestis Regas (1952-1953), plans were formulated to honor the Founding Fathers and Past Presidents who served Holy Trinity. T Fortieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Greek Orthodox Community Bridgeport Connecticut was held Sunday, October 23, 1953 at Eichner's Restaurant His Grace, Bishop Ezekiel gave the blessings of the Church and granted scroll to those honored. 
Angelo Maltas, President of Holy Trinity in 1954, had been delegated by the General Assembly to proceed with the exterior Church repairs. Mr. Maltas obtained the best of service with the minimum of cost to the community. He personally supervised and oversaw the major renovation program to the church. 
     During this period (1937-1955) the Church was served by several priests, including the Reverends Raptelis, Thomas Hatzilambrou and George Poulos. Mr. Basil Leontaras was the Cantor, Church Secretary and the Greek School Teacher at 
this time. 
     In 1955, William Veras succeeded Angelo Maltas as President of Holy Trinity. During this period, under the chairmanship of Odysseus (Gene) Demotses and Nicholas Laros, the Rectory was restored at a cost exceeding $20,000. 
     In 1955, Reverend William S. Kehayes was assigned to the Holy Trinity Parish. Elections were held in December 1955 and the newly elected Board of Trustees chose and elected Nicholas Hadoulis as their President for the year 1956, who was re-elected in 1957 and 1958. He resigned May 22, 1958 and was succeeded by the Vice-President, William C. Pappas, who completed the year. 
Under the presidency of Nicholas Hadoulis, the Community took a giant-step forward to obtain urgently needed expanded facilities. A Building Fund Committee of forty members was formed at the General Assembly on August 11, 1957 as voted upon by its one hundred and eighteen attending parishioners. This was to be a separate corporation, incorporated under the State of Connecticut, and charged with the responsibility to raise the necessary funds and build a new church complex. Ari D. Coclin was elected the Permanent Chairman of the Committee, which also had its By-Laws adopted and incorporated by the General Assembly on September 22, 1957. Angelo Maltas was elected Treasurer and served continuously for the tenure (twenty years) of the Building Fund Committee. 
     On December 13, 1957, the General Assembly approved the purchase of the current 4.1 acre land site at a cost of $40,000. At this time the architectural firm of Rcisner and Diamond, New York was retained. 
In April 1958, the initial Pledge Drive was instituted with the first major donation given by the Senior GOYA in the amount of $3,000. Following the initial pledges and contributions amongst the Building Fund Committee members, Mr. Anthony Georgelos stimulated interest in the project through a donation of a new Dodge Automobile to be drawn at a Raffle along with a color TV and a HI-FI donated by Messrs. Coclin and Keffas respectively. The Raffle realized a surplus in excess of $10,000. 
     William Veras was elected President of the Board of Trustees for the year 1959. On October 4, 1959 following liturgical services, His Excellency the Metropolitan Athenagoras who later became Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, led a procession to the proposed site at 4070 Park Avenue. There, on an improvised altar, His Excellency conducted the Holy Water Service blessing the Site and the Communicants. 
On November 22, 1959, the State Highway Department announced the relocation of Route 25, thus the Church of Myrtle Avenue was sold to the State of Connecticut for $357,000. 
     William Veras was succeeded by John Maltas as President of the Board of Trustees in 1960. On December 4, I960, His Eminence, Archbishop lakovos officiated at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new church and community buildings on Park Avenue. The cost to build the new church was approximately $775,000. This included the Church, community hall, classrooms and the youth center as a complete complex. At the time,, of its construction it was the largest Greek Orthodox ††Church in Connecticut. 
     In the ensuing years between 1961 and 1966 the community was served by Thomas Ganatsiou, William Trifiatis and James Englis as Presidents of the Parish Council. The Parish House on Autumn Ridge Road, Fairfield was purchased in September 1963 at a price of $30,000. In July 1964, the Construction Contract was awarded to L. W. Wenger Co., base price $775,000. Over the next few years, the Community, Parish Councils and the Building Fund Committee worked in a united effort to collect and raise monies to construct and complete the buildings. With the basic structures complete, but as yet unfurnished, church services were initially held in the Gymnasium on May 8, 1966 with Mrs. Charles Zacharias cutting the ribbon to open the doors. 
The first service at Holy Trinity on Park Avenue took place on November 6, 1966 with His Grace, Bishop Silas officiating assisted by Reverend William Kehayes. Mrs. Angelo Maltas cut the ribbon to open the doors of the Church. Unfortunately, in May of 1967 there was a fire at the church and some of the building was damaged. As a result, services were held in the Gymnasium for some time, in order that the church might be repaired. 
During the years from 1955 to the opening of Holy Trinity, 4070 Park Avenue in November 6. 1966, we were blessed with a dedicated Parish Priest, Father William S. Kehayes. With his dedicated leadership, foresight and untiring efforts he was able to rally the dedicated parishioner and various organizations to the dream of completing the Church complex becoming a reality. He was responsible for organizing the Parent-Teachers Organization (PTO) in!959 and the first president was Demetrios Megas. The reorganization of the Sunday School program and the organization of the Jr. GOYA took place during these years. Presvitera Christine Kehayes served as the first Director of the Sunday School program and served in that capacity many years. Reverend Kehayes served Holy Trinity from 1955 to 1973. 
     In March 1967, under the presidency of James Englis, an Interior Completions Committee was formed at a combined Parish Council/Building Fund Committee meeting. John Caraberis, a very dedicated member, was named Chairman of this committee. At this time he also was serving as Vice Chairman of the Building Fund Committee. John Caraberis was instrumental in establishing the "999" Raffle that was chaired by George Crist for approximately ten years. It was a major source of income. Father Kehayes and John Caraberis thoroughly researched the interior project and recommended that the church be decorated in Iconography of the 14th Century Byzantine style. This was approved by both the Parish Council and the Building Fund Committee. Mr. Caraberis died in 1971 and William C. Pappas became the chairman of the Interior Committee. Mr. Pappas along with his committee consisting of William Trifiatis, Nicholas Phakias, Louis Carawlanis, James Mellas, Rose Caches and Irene Mellas worked together to complete the interior. "Continuity" was the key to the success of the completion of the building and decorating of our new church and complex. 
     In 1969, the first major Bazaar was held on the Church Grounds. Starting in 1970, the first Grecian Festival "Weekend in Athens" was established as an annual event. These two events from 1969 to 1977 were the major sources of revenue for Holy Trinity in order to pay the church debt. These events were coordinated Father Kehayes, William C. Pappas, Presvitera Christine, Irene Mellas, and j Nicholas Keffas. The "Weekend in Athens" Festival included a major raffle each; year under the chairmanship of Louis J. Carawlanis and Elene Fokas. These major ^ fund raising activities were started during the presidency of William C. Pappas. On October 2, 1976 a fund raising banduet to reduce the debt was held at Liedle's 
and was donated by Paul Louloudes. 
    During the years 1969 to 1983, the Parish was served by Nicholas Phakias, William C Pappas, Anastas Kaklamanos, James G. Koulouris and John Frangenes as Presidents of Holy Trinity. 
Reverend Constantine Eliades was assigned to Holy Trinity in September 1973 and served the Parish until May 1983. During this period the Interior of the Church was completed and the Church on Park Avenue was Consecrated. Reverend Eliades responsible for organizing the Senior Citizens group 
In 1975, the Iconography contract was awarded to John Papaspiliopoulos, Byzantine Icon Studios, NY for $42,500. The marble contract was awarded to Steve and Tom Vrahopoulos, Criterion Marble, Co., for $36,700. All interior work was completed by Easter, 1978. 
     At a General assembly meeting on March 5, 1977 it was voted to complete the payment of the remaining mortgage of $17,500 out of the Church funds. With this final step, the" burning of the mortgage" took place on June 3, 1979 with Bishop Silas officiating assisted by Reverend Constantine Eliades. Thus the dedicated work of a small group of faithful servants of whom the Building Fund Committee was comprised was completed and the Church was ready for Consecration. 
     On November 25, 1979, under the presidency of John Frangenes, Holy Trinity was Consecrated with his Eminence Archbishop lakovos officiating assisted by Reverend Constantine Eliades. Ari D. Coclin became the Godfather of Holy Trinity and was presented with the gold key to open the doors of the Edifice. 
On August 1, 1983 Archbishop lakovos appointed Reverend Demetrios Rccachinas as Pastor of Holy Trinity. On December 18, 1983, Bishop Methodius administered the oath of office to a new Parish Council. Chris Rountos was elected President of the Parish Council. In outlining its immediate plans, the Parish Council established a series of goals that were to constitute the primary objectives of the entire Community, including priority status to repair and restore Holy Trinity. Equally as important were plans toward achieving financial security, increasing Church membership and initiating a series of educational, religious and cultural programs. 
Under the leadership of Reverend Recachinas and Chris Rountos, with John Zarras acting as Co-Chairman, and with the appropriation of initial funds for the Church renovation project on May 23, 1985, it was agreed that no architectural changes would be made to the Church complex. The firm of William Rallis & Associates was engaged to prepare the plans and undertake the task of restoration. 
     On April 21, 1986, authorization was given by the Parish Assembly to proceed with the renovation of Holy Trinity. This would include the installation of a metal aluminum anodized roof, a new gas heating and air conditioning system, refurbishing the interior of the Church, and overall general church repairs. The sum appropriated was $1,180,000. A bank loan was obtained for $600,000 and the balance was to be drawn from Church savings and fund raising activities. The firm of Peter Kapetan, based on a competitive bid, was hired to do the renovation. Work began in May 1986 and was completed by Easter 1987. In addition to the Church renovation, a major expansion was also made to the kitchen facility. The Renovation Banquet, sponsored by Gus and Nick Demas, and Co-Chaired by Theodore Leach and Nicholas Phakias with Bishop Athenagoras of Dorylaion as our guest of honor was held on November 23, 1986. 
     Reverend Recachinas, Chris Rountos and John Zarras were instrumental in revitalizing the Grecian Festival and Olyrnpiad "84" was born. 
      This history was compiled from various sources and is being presented as a legacy and historical document that can be used as a basis for the next major milestone of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Bridgeport, CT which will be its "Centennial" in the year 2013. It was compiled in 1988, when our Church celebrated itís 75th Anniversary.
 

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