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
in the
Western Hemisphere
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.
Photo Credits:
1910 photo is from "Hellenism in America," published 1918.
Photo directly above is from
The link to this page is:

A related page you might enjoy:
Mr. Benachi's Legacy