Blue Bell, PA – St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, hosted it’s third annual golf classic fundraiser yesterday at Meadowlands Country Club. Some 46 golfers participated in the day long event that raised funds for the restoration of the Rectory, adjacent to Philadelphia’s Cathedral Greek Orthodox church.
The event was co-chaired by Eleni Pappas and Kenneth Apessos. Both spoke about the long history of the cathedral and it’s importance to the first Greek immigrants, as well as its role in the community as it evolved. St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral started out as an Episcopalian church nearly 200 years ago, but was purchased by early Greek settlers to the area. Although it was not the first Greek Orthodox church in the community, it has acted as the soul of a Greek community that evolved around the church through the 20th century.
Firmly rooted on 8th street, between the intersections of Locust and Spruce, St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral beared witness to the birth of historic “Greektown”, that grew up around her. A vibrant Greek community through the late 1990’s, it’s splendid Greek Revival exterior adorns the historic Olde City neighborhood it rests in today.
Yesterday, it’s parishioners from past and present, reaffirmed their dedication to their church and their faith. Many gathered to raise funds for what they called stage two of the restoration of the historic church. Built by architect John Haviland in 1821, it is also on the historic registrar said John Sarkioglou of St. George.
The evening was highlighted, by an award presentation to Conda Lacas, wife of the late Gus Lacas. Gus Lacas was recognized for his long dedication to the Cathedral, the Greek community and for his philanthropic efforts. “With hard work and dedication to our faith our church and community will go on”, said Conda Lacas.
Today, much of the former Greek community centered around historic Greektown has moved on into the suburbs, having staked their claim to the American dream. But St. George is still considered the historic soul of the community. Each year an annual Greek festival is hosted, along with well attended holiday services. In recent, the restoration of the main building has brought it much attention.
It’s restoration efforts in the Rectory, the newly elected and vibrant church board are part of the continuing changes to the Cathedral. The Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia has also taken residence on the third floor of the Rectory, where they are continuing to record and attain the history of the Greeks of Philadelphia and the metropolitan area.