History of Our Parish
History of our Parish
Saint George community of New Castle records it beginnings from the turn of the century with the arrival of the first immigrants from Greece. By 1917 they had arrived in sufficient numbers that they felt the need to organize a community. As in many cases, a few persons were instrumental in inspiring others to support in the organizing of a Greek Orthodox Community.
According to Mr. Chris Russos, one of the oldest member of the community who had witnessed the growth of Saint George from its inception, a few members of the community paved the way and called a General Assembly to discuss the possibility of organizing a parish. The forty people present at the meeting unanimously agreed to proceed.
They made contributions and pledges and purchased an existing property which they remodeled for the purpose of holding worship services. Also, during the first General Assembly, the group decided that they church should be named after the name of the saint most predominant at the meeting. The George’s ad it, and the community was named Saint George.
The early dream of the faithful Greek Orthodox of New Castle had become a reality, they had a church in which to worship their faith. The community continued to progress and grow in members and it soon became obvious that new facilities would be necessary to serve the spiritual and social needs of the congregation. In 1928 the original building was sold and the formed Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, 215 E. Reynolds Street in downtown New Castle was purchased. Renovations began and on Sunday, May 10th, 1931, the church was consecrated by the then Archbishop Athenagoras.
The parish grew, matured and flourished at this location for five decades and became an active and contributing member of the great New Castle community.
The time soon came, however, when even these facilities became inadequate and a building committee was formed in 1960 to look for a new location. In 1968 the parish purchased a three acre property at 315 W. Englewood Avenue. A series of meeting were held to consider whether or not to proceed with the building of a new church edifice and in a General Assembly authorized the raising of $60,000 to begin construction. The amount soon raised, architectural plans were approved and ground breaking ceremonies were held on April 17, 1978. The Preston and Williams Company was selected to build the present edifice for $300,000.
On April 7, 1979 Bishop MAXIMOS officiated at the THYRANOIXIA (door opening) and the first Divine Liturgy in the newly completed Saint George Church.
Since that day, the faithful of New Castle have enjoyed worshiping in their new church and using the facilities of the complex including the Parish Hall with its recently furnished kitchen, courtesy of the Ladies of Philoptochos society. As in all the communities of the Archdiocese, the Ladies Philoptochos Society of New Castle has played a key role in the growth of the community.
Father Photios Tomarakos has served the Parish since September, 1980. Priests who have served the community of Saint George since its inception have included the Rev. Father: Joakim Papachristos, Methodios Papapostolou, Joseph Pitsonis, Kiriakos Pyliaros, Economos Dargakis, William Markopoulos, Anthimos Konstandinidis, Anastasios Patrikas, Spylios Papanicolaou, James Sarandidis, Makarios Siepis, Peter Leventis, Demetrios Costarakis, George Georgiades.
(Information above was taken from the "Consecration Dedication Book 1986" of Saint George Greek Orthodox Church - New Castle, PA)