The Holy Institution of Panagia Soumela, in West Milford, NJ celebrated its 6th year this past weekend with a Greek Festival and religious services. Church services recognizing the Feast of the Dormition or Falling asleep of the Theotokos commemorating the death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ’s mother took place as part of the three-day event. Traditional Greek music and dancing from the Black Sea were highlighted at this Greek festival that took place on the grounds, each day. West Milford was treated again to a wonderful weekend of ethnic flavored food from the Greek community while above the grounds in the sky, an air show took place.

The Holy Institution of Panagia Soumela is the home of the Black Sea community of North America and they are known as “Pontian”. The facility/complex was established to commemorate and reflect on its original homeland monastery of Panagia Soumela in Trabzon, Turkey and provide a location for Pontian culture and Greek Orthodox faith to continue for its people.

Many of those that attended came from Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Connecticut. But they also came from as far away as Canada. Dedicated volunteers from the Pontian community work together every year to maintain this facility.