Church History

The History of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church  By Mr. Nicholas Barbaresso

For the complete article on our History, click here.

Our church history traces back to the early 1900s, when Greek settlers in Lorain yearned to continue their customs and traditions, and establish a place of worship. In those early days, various storefronts and a YMCA in South Lorain served those purposes. The first Priest of record was Fr. George Dougekos.

The cornerstone of our first church building was laid on November 18, 1923, at the corner of East 34th and Pearl Avenue. The church’s largest benefactor, Nick Raptis, was given the honors of naming the church. He chose his namesake, St. Nicholas. In 1934 the Ladies’ Philoptochos was created and an acappella choir followed in 1938.

For fifty years, the church on Pearl Avenue served as the center of the Greek community life. Countless baptisms and weddings occurred as the first-generation Greeks were born and grew up. These were happy times.

The end of World War 2 brought another influx of Greek immigrants to our shores, from Greece, Egypt, Cyprus and Romania. Church members served as sponsors to these young immigrants, willing to work hard and be successful. Together with the first-generation Americans, they brought new life to old ideas.

Out of this new energy, our Sunday School and GOYA were established in 1957, under the leadership of Fr. John Papadopoulos. Among our new teachers were Lula Cardasis, Zenia Negris, Helene Kallas, Cula Kamoutsis, Florence Kantelis, Pauline Stamos and Dora Varouh. Our Juinor GOYA Chapter was formed in 1964, following a request from Archbishop Iakovos to do so.

In 1966 the church acted on a challenge from the Editor of The Lorain Journal, Irving Liebowitz, that the various ethnic groups in Lorain form a Lorain International Festival. The first one was held in July of 1967, and St, Nicholas has been a major fundraising event ever since.