Groups

GREEK ORTHODOX COMMUNITY

History of our Presidents

  • Mr. George Spillios 1940 – 1963 and lifetime honorary president
  • Mr. Theodore (Ted) B. Gardener 1963 – 1965
  • Mr. Dimitrios Prassas 1965 – 1966
  • Mr. Anthony Nicolaou 1966 – 1967
  • Mr. Nikolaos Ioannides 1967 – 1972
  • Mr. Ioannis (John) Giourmetakis 1972 – 1972 eight-month service
  • Mr. Nikolaos Ioannides 1972 – 1974 and lifetime honorary president
  • Mr. Christos (Chris) Pappas 1974 – 1979
  • Mr. Sotirios (Sam) Rigakis 1980 – 1981
  • Mr. Constantine (Victor) Varvis 1982 – 1983
  • Mr. Dimitrios (Jim) Fourlaris 1984 – 1985
  • Mr. George Philippides 1985 – 1991
  • Mr. Harry Koumarelas 1991 – 1992
  • Mr. Sevastos (Stakis) Zervos 1993 – 1995
  • Mr. Charalambos Frangogiannopoulos 1996 – 1999
  • Dr. Demetrios (Jim) Kutsogiannis 2000 – 2003
  • Mrs. Christina Andrews 2004 – 2006
  • Dr. Christopher J. Varvis 2007- 2008
  • Mrs. Katina (Kate) Tsiandos 2009 – 2013
  • Mr. Petros Efstathiou 2014 – 2014
  • Mrs. Katina (Kate) Tsiandos  2014 – 2015
  • Mr. Constantine Dromparis  2016 – continuing

To suggest changes/corrections to this web page please contact Dr. Athanasios Tavouktsoglou, tomtavou@math.concordia.ab.ca

Our History

1902 The first Orthodox Services are held in Edmonton by Fr. Jacob Korchinsky in a house Chapel located at today’s St. Barbara’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral site (10105 – 96 street). Fr. Korchinski was a missionary priest who founded many parishes in North America, he was killed in Odessa soon after the Bolshevik Revolution. More info: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodoxy_in_Hawaii

c. 1904 G. D. Vlassis [01] reports that an old man, Yerontas, was the first Greek to set foot in Edmonton. He arrived prior to 1904. According to the same source, Yerontas still kept a confectionery store in the city in 1942. This has been impossible to confirm from other sources. None of the persons who arrived in the 1930s and were interviewed for this project was able to identify Yerontas or provide any information about him.

1906 William (Vassilios) Barootes arrives in Edmonton from Triglia, Asia Minor [02]; it marks the beginning of emigration by the Barootes family.

1907 Angelos Alaoglou arrives also from Triglia, Asia Minor [03].

1907 The Brown (Argyropoulos) brothers from Athens manage the Pantages Theatre (Alexander Pantages, b. Andros, Greece, 1876) on the site of the Strand Theatre (10209 – Jasper Avenue). This was one of the many Pantages Theatres across North America. Information on A. Pantages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pantages

1908 (1904?) The building of St. Barbara’s Russian Orthodox Church at 10105 – 96 street is completed; Greek immigrants begin worshiping at this Church.

c. 1910 The Greeks in Edmonton start to organize themselves informally as a Community to teach the Greek language and the Orthodox faith to the new generation.

1914 Johnson’s Cafe, managed by Constantine Johnson (Yiannitsis or Giannitsis) opens [04]. Con. Johnson arrived in Edmonton from Calgary in 1911, but went back to Greece to fight in the Balkan wars of 1912 13. He returned to Edmonton in 1914, and operated the restaurant until his death in 1952 [02].

1914 The American Dairy Lunch is acquired by George Spillios and James Lingas.

1923 St. Regis hotel is acquired by Andrew Agrios and James Varvis.

1930/11/19 The Aurora Borealis Chapter 10 CJ of the Order of AHEPA is established; George Plasteras is elected president. This is officially the first Greek organization in Alberta.

1932 The Hellenic Language School is established by the Order of AHEPA; George Spillios is elected chairman; Argyro Procopis (later Burgess) is the first teacher. There are approximately twenty-five students attending.

1933 The local Chapter of the Sons of Pericles is established; Nick Costabaris is elected president.

1938 The Edmonton Greek Canadian Community is established; George Spillios is elected chairman.

1941 The Greek Canadian Ladies Society is established; Aspasia Spillios is elected president. Among the members are: Mrs. Jasmene Varvis, Harikleia Demas, Georgia Chanakos, Evangeline Kallas. The Society is particularly active during the war years, significantly contributing to the War Relief Effort. Money, clothing, foods, medicines etc. are collected and sent to Greece through the Red Cross. This Society becomes the forerunner to the Greek Canadian Ladies Philoptochos (Benevolent) Society, which will be founded in 1949.

1945 Ms. Helen Plasteras (Hill) becomes the first woman of Hellenic descent to obtain a University degree in Alberta. She receives BCom from the University of Alberta, and proceeds to also obtain a BEd from the same University in 1947. She is credited with suggesting the name Pandas for the ladies’ sports teams of the university [06].

1945/10/02 St. George Greek Orthodox Church is formally established and registered under the Religious Societies Lands Act of the Province of Alberta. The Church continues to be registered under this Act to this day (2008). This is also the first Greek Community in the Prairie Provinces!

1945 The property at the S.W. corner of Jasper Avenue and 114 street is acquired from the City of Edmonton for the sum of $3,000.00 [05]. The land is consecrated and construction commences immediately. It must be stressed that twelve families only carried out the immense task of forming the community, purchasing the land, and building the Church!

1945 The founding members of the Community constitute the first Board of Directors. They are the following:

  • George Spillios, President (+1970)
  • Andrew Agrios, Vice-President (+1960)
  • Effie Leonidas, Secretary
  • Dimitrios Katsantonis (James Anast), Treasurer (+1962)
  • Philippos Mamatas, Member (+1959)
  • Georgia Sakka (Saks), Member (+19..)
  • Maria Raikos, Member (+1960)
  • Dimitrios (James) Varvis, Member (+1969)
  • Constantine Johnson (Yiannitsos/Giannitsos), Member, (+1952)

1946 The Eleusinian Club is formed; it is the first gender-mixed youth group.

1948 The Church building is completed at the SW corner of 114 street and Jasper Avenue (10056 114 street). Fr. Basil of St. Barbara’s prepares the icons for the new Church. The original Church is a small one. The building will later be expanded twice.

1948 The Church is named after St. George, the Great Martyr, in honour of the first president, Mr. George Spillios.

1948 The Church receives its Charter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America.

1949/05/08 Fr. Hiotis of Great Falls, Montana celebrates the first Divine Liturgy in the new Church.

1949 The Church Choir is established. It will later be improved and augmented during the service of the V. Rev. Fr. Ambrose Giannoukos (1951). The choir served the Church well into the late 1980’s.

1949 The first cantors at the Church are Mr. Philippos Mamatas and Mr. Elias Costouros.

1949 The Greek Canadian Ladies Society is disbanded and the Greek Canadian Ladies Philoptochos (Benevolent) Society is formed; Mrs. William Kazakos is elected president.

1952 Helen Diamandidis is appointed teacher in the Hellenic Language School, which now operates under the auspices of the Church Community.

1953/05/22 The Greek Canadian Ladies Philoptochos (Benevolent) Society is officially registered in the Province of Alberta [05]. In the same year, it also receives its Charter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. The members of the Board of Directors consist of:

  • Mrs. Angeliki Johnson, President (+1974)
  • Mrs. Galateia Chistophorides, Vice-President (+1970)
  • Mrs. Kay Gardener, Member (+
  • Mrs. Georgia Chanakos, Member (+2008)
  • Mrs. Harikleia Demas, Member

1954 The Daughters of Penelope, Edmonton Chapter is established.

1954 – 1962 The V. Rev. Archimandrite Ambrose Giannoukos arrives and takes up his duties as the first full-time parish priest.

1959/06/07 His Grace, Dimitrios, Bishop of Olympus, consecrates the Church, ten years after it was completed. The Philoptochos Ladies Society is declared sponsor (anadohos) of the Church and symbolically receives the key.

1960 – 1963 Bishop Athenagoras of Elaia is in charge of the Greek Orthodox Communities in Canada.

1961/09/02 The Greek Orthodox Youth Association (G.O.Y.A.) receives its Charter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America.

1962 – 1965 The V. Rev. Archimandrite Sotirios Athanassoulas takes up his duties as the second full-time parish priest. On 1973/12/18 he is elected, and on 1974/01/27 he is ordained (titular) Bishop of Constantia; in 1979 he is promoted to Bishop of Toronto; on 1996/09/24 he is elevated to the office of Metropolitan of Toronto and Exarch of all Canada.

1963 – 1967 Bishop Timotheos of Rodostolou is in charge of the Greek Orthodox Communities in Canada.

1965 – 1968 The Rev. Ioannis (John) Floropoulos is appointed as the third full-time parish priest.

1967 – 1973 Bishop Theodosios of Ancona is in charge of the Greek Orthodox Communities in Canada.

1968 – 1977 The V. Rev. Archimandrite Petros Karatroupkos (Peter Karas) is appointed as the fourth full-time priest of the Church; he serves until November 1977. On 2001/02/22 he is consecrated as bishop of Zambia of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

1977 The Hellenic Language School acquires a governing Board; Mrs. Charlotte Spillios is the chair; Dr. Athanasios Tavouktsoglou is the full-time instructor and principal.

1977/11/01 The Rev. Ioannis (John) Nikolaou is appointed as the fifth full-time parish priest; he serves until November 1979.

1979/12 The Rev. Dimitrios Rougas is appointed as the sixth full-time parish priest; he serves until 1995/02/28.

1980/11/01 The Hellenic Anthology radio program begins broadcasting from CKER radio; it is produced by John Karvellas and Steve (Aristeides) Makris.

1980 The Hellenic Voice of Edmonton is published as the local Greek magazine; the editor is Dr. Athanasios Tavouktsoglou. The magazine will only publish five issues before stopping due to lack of volunteers and contributors.

1981/09 Dr. Athanasios Tavouktsoglou becomes the producer of the radio program Hellenic Anthology on CKER, and holds that position until September 1999.

1981/09 The Hellenic Language School opens an annex in Jasper Park, AB. Mr. Eleftherios Pitoulis is elected chairman. Dr. Athanasios Tavouktsoglou is the instructor and principal.

1982 The Hellenic Canadian Community of Edmonton & Region is established.

1983/05 KYKLOS Hellenic Performing and Literary Arts Group is established by a group of university and high school students of Hellenic descent under the guidance of Katerina Pizanias and Kathy Rigakis.

1984/03 KYKLOS Hellenic Performing and Literary Arts Group is incorporated as a non-profit organization in the Province of Alberta. More information:http://www.kyklosonline.com/

1985/09 The Hellenic Canadian Community of Edmonton & Region establishes its own Hellenic Language School.

1989 The Church-Community complex at 10831 – 124 Street is acquired from Beulah Alliance Church for the sum of $1,000,000.00. A fire, started by the crew renovating the building, damages much of the Church.

1991/10/06 His Grace, Bishop Sotirios of Toronto (Canada) consecrates the new Church at 10831 – 124 street.

1995 The Rev. George Alexiou is appointed parish priest; he serves until early 1997.

1995/05/04 The Canadian Hellenic Congress of Alberta is incorporated in the Province; first president is Dr. Kostas Iatrou from Calgary. The Greek Orthodox Community of Edmonton is a founding member. The founding individuals are:

  • Dr. Kostas Iatrou, Ph.D.
  • Mr. Anastasios Kollias, P.Eng.
  • Dr. Nicolas Kalogerakis, Ph.D.
  • Mr. Michael Theodosopoulos
  • Mr. Athanasios Doikas
  • Mr. Sevastos Zervos, P.Eng.

Their application for incorporation of the Congress is witnessed on 1995/03/04 by the Rev. Dimitrios Rougas in Calgary. Information on the Congress: http://chca.yoll.net/

1995/11/18 The Greek Orthodox Community of Edmonton holds its 50th Anniversary Celebration and Banquet, during the presidency of Mr. Sevastos (Stakis) Zervos. The event took place at the Mayfield Inn Grand Ballroom. Mr. Ernie Afaganis was the master of ceremonies.

1996/2000 The V. Rev. Archimandrite Constantine Siarapis is appointed parish priest; he serves until September 2000.

2000-2001 The Rev. Dimitrios Polychroniadis serves as parish priest

2001-2004 The V. Rev. Archimandrite Theodore Gove serves as parish priest.

2004/02/15 The Rev. John S. Kaoukakis is appointed parish priest.

2016/08/03 The Rev. Charalambos Tzintis is appointed parish priest.

References:

[01] G. D. Vlassis, The Greeks in Canada, 1st edition, Ottawa, 1942, p. 59. [02] G. D. Vlassis, The Greeks in Canada, 1st edition, Ottawa, 1942, p. 60. [03] G. D. Vlassis, The Greeks in Canada, 1st edition, Ottawa, 1942, p. 60. [04] G. D. Vlassis, The Greeks in Canada, 2nd edition, Ottawa, 1953, p. 207. [05] Rev. D. Rougas, History of the Greek Orthodox Community of St. George’s in Edmonton, Alberta; article in The Orthodox Way, Toronto, November 1986. [06] New Trail, Spring 2009, p.3.

This time-line of the Community is intended to be continuously evolving. For corrections and for other items to be included in this time-line, please contact: Fr. Charalambos Tzintis frcharalambus@hotmail.com or Dr. Athanasios Tavouktsoglou: tomtavou@math.concordia.ab.ca