King of Prussia, PA – Life is simple and clear for Michael Nicolaou. His path of faith and family were paved out of his Hellenic roots. He arrived in 1971 from Kalamata, Greece and immediately settled his family of 4 (two sons and wife) into the Norristown area. He found a good job, worked hard to take care of his family and rooted them in to the Greek Orthodox community.

In 1971 in the Norristown area, there was no church. There were only those with a dream, and Michael Nicolaou was part of that group that went on to make that dream a reality. Nicolaou and other immigrants joined together to form the Hellenic Civic Association, that began to fundraise and through the Ladies Auxiliary host bake sales to raise funds for a church.

By the early 1970’s, monthly liturgies were being conducted at the lower level of the Commonwealth Bank on West Main Street in Norristown. By 1981, with approval of the Archdiocese and after the purchase of the one time Pentecostal Church on Center Avenue in West Norriton, the Hellenic Civic Association became officially the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Parish. Nicolaou continued to be part of the fabric of the church, donating his time any way he could. Under the direction of the priest at the time, he was asked to become the Psalti. Although he had no previous background, he felt compelled to participate in the churches growth. Often, he would leave his job as a machinist, to rush off to church on a Sunday morning. There he performed his duties and then return to his job. The days were long and hard, but Nicolaou’s belief in the church kept him devoted.

With the arrival of Father John A Limberakis in 1990, and a sense of new energy, the community started to look for a new home in the suburbs. With the purchase of an 8 acre parcel of land in 1991, on South Trooper road in Valley Forge, the community had found it’s new home. A few years later, The Culture Center followed in 1993, and on April 7th, 2012 a Thyranoixia took place for the new church, St. Sophia we see today. For Nicolaou, his faith in God and family were always the path from the beginning. Today, you can find Michael Nicolaou greeting visitors and friends at church and at Greek festivals. His devotion and journey to family and God is complete.