Then and now

hen I was assigned my first parish in Atlanta at the latter part of 1996 we moved to the famed South with no actual place to go. The Serbian parish had only been founded three years prior to that and it was still taking baby steps. The first service was on Christmas (Old Calendar) at a Presbyterian Church. It was our last service there. The problem was, we still hadn’t figured out where we were going next.

While I searched for a place I attended the Greek Church in Marietta for Sunday Liturgy together with a Serbian parishioner who happened to be married to a Greek man.  They were very welcoming, the Greeks. I managed to find a place for our services in Midtown Atlanta but it wouldn’t be available until February which was fine but there was a little issue of Theophany and the blessing of holy water to be used for my visits with my new parishioners. The Marietta Greeks came to our aid. Theophany happened to fall on a Sunday that year and as they had their service in their church upstairs we served liturgy in the hall below and blessed the waters.

Above is a picture of the Greek church as we found it that year. As it turned out, the Marietta Greeks were also in the beginning stages of their own parish. I think it was in 1989 that it was founded. Currently the building above is their parish fellowship center but at that time it was used as their church while the lower level was the hall. The Serbs ended up renting that small hall on numerous occasions for various events over the next few years.  In fact, our firstborn child was baptized in the temporary church upstairs.

It gave me such joy to find a beautiful Greek Church as we drove through Marietta last week on our way visiting friends. They had just started construction when I moved (in fact, I served at the groundbreaking).  Unfortunately, since we were only passing by unannounced we found no one to let us in. But just as we did back in ’96, we made ourselves at home this time as well.

Here are some photos:

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4 thoughts on “Then and now

  1. Matthew –

    I think it’s just coincidence that I happen to be wearing my gray cassock in a few pictures. I usually take it out in the spring and wear it until the fall. It’s lighter. The black vest is called just that – a black vest. It’s also light and gives me some pockets. Yes, it’s pretty common.

  2. Father-
    Thank you for the excellent photos from your vacation. The amphitheater is really an interesting feature, never saw one at the Greek Orthodox communities I have visited.
    I must say also that I really like most Greek Orthodox Church architecture but not as much as the Serbian Orthodox Churches I have visited. Your parish Church is quite lovely.
    Now a question; In the pictures your are always wearing what appears to be a gray cassock. Do you wear it all the time or just when you are visiting Orthodox Monasteries and Churches? Also, that black vest thing, is that common and what is it called? Just curious about your outer wear!
    Manny Blessings!

  3. I love the way they constructed this church! When I am in the area next time, I will go to see it. The amphitheatre is very nice too. The Greeks like to put on ancient Greek drama as part of our cultural events. Here in Portland, we have a very modest amphitheatre-like seating area facing a quiet side street, where we do folk dance performances.

    Thanks for posting these photos, Father!

  4. What a beautiful church! Although, I must say I’ve never seen an amphitheater situated right next to the church before. They must have a lot of outdoor “events”…

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