Photos by Harry Agritha
By Sophia Carafotes & Harry Agritha
The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church celebrated 100 years of Christian Worship (1916-2016) in a Centennial Celebration Weekend for the past and present parish. It was a reunion of old friends celebrating this milestone honoring the memory of the founders and the faithful who dedicated themselves to establishing this blessed community and the succession generations to come. Everyone worked together to bring the faithful of this church to perpetuate their dynamic Ecumenical Orthodox and Hellenic heritage.
On Saturday evening, the church had a “Centennial Gala Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum” attended by HIs Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios. The Mistriss of Ceremonies was Channel 5 news anchor Maria Sephanos. Guests enjoyed a Library & Museum Tour and Cocktail Hour before sitting down for a 3 course formal dinner. This event ended a little after midnight with the guests dancing up a storm.
Three former Somerville mayors were also invited and attended the event. Former Somerville Mayor/ Congressman Mike Capouano and Former Somerville Mayors Gene Brune, and Dorothy Kelley Gay.
The 100th Anniversary Committee Members included:
Fr. Konstantinos Menetas, Protopresbyter, Evangelos Kechris, Parish Council President, Evelyn Galatis, 100th Anniversary Chair, Harry Agritha, Hope August, Sophia Carafotes, Kathy Chiarenza, Bill Galatis, Angela Good, Diane Karavitis, Mary Limberakis, Estelle McDonough, Anthoula Rozakis, Carol Salvo, Pamela Toulopoulos and Peter Tsourianis
The setting for dinner – Harry Agritha’s “photomontage” was viewed on the big screen during dinner with photos he took, collected, arranged and produced. He started with thousands of images made up of 100 years from the history of our church compiled from the library, the Somerville Museum, also taken from books and a few from other parishioners. He used 300 images for the show. Over 350 guests enjoyed his photos this and the response was overwhelming so it was well worth the effort
About the community below:
In Somerville, Massachusetts, an old brick-making city, began its assimilation of Greek immigrants in 1902. The majority of the pioneer Greeks of Somerville came from Filiatra of Messinia and from Altasata, Smyrna, Asia Minor. Somerville’s drawing factor of the Greeks, as well s the Irish and Italian immigrants was the availability of jobs at the four meat packing houses. There was a great need for manpower in these companies and the workers found themselves settling in the immediate area of the packing houses. They congregated on Linwood Street in a section of Somerville called “Brickbottom.” The years 1915-1916 saw the arrival of many more family members and a greater number of refugees.
The first Greek Orthodox Church of Somerville was Bow Street, a rented hall over the old Woolworth’s building in Union Square. On August 6, 1916 the first established Greek Orthodox Church of Somerville opened its doors. Christians from Greece and from the Byzantine lands of Asia Minor were celebrating liturgical services in America!
In 1947, the Parish purchased the property known originally, as the Columbus Tyler Estate, on Central Street where the famous “Mary Had a Little Lamb” originated.
Today, The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church is a vital part of the Somerville Community. Here is where most of the Parish and their families began leaving a legacy that is worthy of our children and of future generations. We pass the torch to our children and our children’s children to carry through the next century. We hope we make our descendants proud as they look back at all our accomplishments.