The History of our Community
Excerpt from “House of God; Gateway to Heaven” by Nicholas M. Prevas, Parish Historian:
The arrival of the S.S. Sofia Hohenberg to Ellis Island in the spring of 1907 generated a fervor of excitement among the congregation of the “Evangelismos” (Annunciation) Greek Orthodox Church. Traveling aboard that steamship was a notable Greek Orthodox priest and his entire family. Within two days, the immigrant parish, established in Baltimore in the spring of 1906, would welcome its first full-time priest, Reverend Constantine A. Douropoulos. The story of another Greek Orthodox church community was about to unfold.
In the early years of the 20th century, Greek immigrants came to America with the hope of gaining economic independence. They also sought to preserve their Orthodox faith and heritage in the New World. By 1909, Father Douropoulos, along with a determined group of immigrants, had acquired a permanent house of worship at the corner of Homewood Avenue and Chase Street. The seed of Orthodoxy had been firmly planted in Baltimore, Maryland.
Over the next three decades, church membership grew along with the religious and educational programs of the parish. By the mid-1930’s, the congregation at Homewood Avenue desperately needed to expand its facilities. The decisive actions of the Greek community during the early months of 1937 led to the purchase of the historic Associate Congregational Church on Preston Street. The magnificent edifice was saved from the wrecking ball and a new era of progress and assimilation into American society began for Baltimore’s Greek Orthodox community. This book chronicles the first 100 years of development of one of the most prominent Greek Orthodox Cathedrals in the United States with a congregation staunchly proud of its past while aspiring toward its future.
Not all art is painted within a frame or stands on a pedestal. Some of the richest art is left to us as relics of a civilization and its culture. Because of the pace of life in the 21st century, and the emphasis on sleek design and technology, the simplest objects that our grandparents took for granted have become collectible.
More unique to our Greek American culture are the utensils and textiles fashioned in Greece two and three generations ago that characterize the craftsmanship of its time. It is this craftsmanship we must commit ourselves to preserve. To the trained eye it represents an aesthetic that stems back to classical times. To the casual observer it illustrates a way of embellishing functional objects with design inspired by nature full of color and pattern.
The Hellenic Heritage Museum houses and displays artifacts that represent the contributions of Hellenism to the American experience. These artifacts develop public awareness through interactive exhibitions, lectures and symposiums. Some of the many items include: ancient and classical artifacts; early Christian, liturgical and Byzantine art; lithographs, manuscripts, books, letters, photographs and maps; folk and decorative arts; textiles, in the form of linens and apparel; jewelry, coinage, toys, musical instruments, militaria, household utensils and furnishings, and early business memorabilia.
Founded in 1959, the 14,000-volume Theodore J. George Library is one of the largest and oldest parish libraries in the Archdiocese. The collection is a lending library as well as a research resource, housing books and movies for adults and children in English and Greek, as well as several in Russian and French.
The collection consists primarily of items pertaining to the Greek Orthodox faith and Greek history and culture, but we also have a large fiction section, including novels and children’s literature (for example, Swiss Family Robinson and Pinocchio in Greek).
The library collection grows by way of donations for the purchase of books in memory of or in honor of loved ones.
Sundays: 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Contact Information: 410-528-0155