St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Philadelphia is preparing to relaunch in January 2013, after 7 years of restorations. While many additional repairs will continue to take place, the major reconstruction needs to the Greek cathedral church will have been completed after 7 years. St. George, is recognized by the city of Philadelphia as a historic site and is part of many historic tours about the city. The original stain glass, nearly 200 years old; the wooden floors and marble alters have now all been repaired or replaced; along with a leaking roof. Much of this on going work has been donated by members of the Greek community.
Over the course of time, nature and the lack of human intervention had apparently taken a toll on the historically Episcopalian , then Greek Orthodox church.
The church was originally designed as the Saint Andrew Episcopal Church by renowned architect, John Haviland. The cornerstone was laid on September 9, 1822. A coalition of Greek families purchased the Saint Andrews church in 1921, and renamed it the Saint George Greek Orthodox church.
During the 1940’s,50’s and 60’s many Greek immigrants came to Philadelphia (via Greece), started families and became members of St. George. A full time, daily Greek-American school also had a brief stint in the late 30’s through 1940.
St. George Greek Orthodox church saw a significant decline in membership over the course of the last 20 years. Many 1st and 2nd generation Greeks had moved on from the center city location, in to the suburbs and begun new churches like St. Demetrios ( Upper Darby), St Luke (Broomall) and Evangelismos (Elkins Park).
Now, as it nears it’s 200 birthday, it’s parishoners are looking to restore and revive it’s membership. Church President Fotis Athanosoulis and Parish Priest Costas Cristo spoke about the new physical changes to the church an their belief that the church will again thrive.
On November 25, 2012 (Thanksgiving weekend), St. George will host a Gala event, at Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford New Jersey, to raise additional funds,thank it’s sponsors and celebrate it’s revival. For more information about this event, please visit: St. George Gala Dinner.