|Holy Trinity Church, ca. 1910
|The first Orthodox church in the Western Hemisphere was established in
New Orleans. The "Eastern Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity" started
holding services in 1864. Nicholas Benachi, a native of Greece, had been
attempting for some time to secure financing to construct a church.
|First Greek Orthodox Church
|The second Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on North Dorgenois Street.
|By 1864, he hadn't raised the necessary funds, so he invited the first small
congregation to meet on his property. Two years later, he sold a parcel of land
on North Dorgenois Street to the church and, with generous donations from Mr.
Benachi, as well as, Demetrios and John Botassis, a church was constructed.
|Later additions to the first church (pictured above) included a parish house,
library and nearby cemetery. By 1950, a larger facility was needed and the first
church was demolished to make way for a much larger building.
|In 1960, Holy Trinity Church was elevated to cathedral status.
|Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral and Hellenic Cultural Center on Bayou St. John.
|Requiring more space for a larger Cathedral and Hellenic Cultural Center,
the buildings on North Dorgenois were sold in 1976 and the congregation
relocated to Robert E. Lee Boulevard, next to Bayou St. John.
|The Cultural Center was completed in 1980 and the Cathedral in 1985. The
complex is a beautiful and striking addition to the Lakeview neighborhood.
The founders of the first Orthodox Church in the Americas would surely
be amazed to see how their small congregation has evolved.
|Many historical items were destroyed in the levee failure floods in 2005.
The handwritten texts in sacramental journals that documented the church's
baptisms were lost. But, by a stroke of good foturne, some items were saved
because of an archival project that was under way at the time of the flood.
|The church recently held its 40th annual Greek Festival - a weekend of fun, food
and entertainment that many New Orleanians eagerly anticipate every year.
1910 photo is from "Hellenism in America," published 1918.
Photo directly above is from NOLA.com
|The link to this page is:
A related page you might enjoy:
Mr. Benachi's Legacy