History of Our Parish - Building the First Church PDF Print
History of Our Parish
Celebrating the First Divine Liturgy
Building the First Church
Growth In The Church Community
World War II Involvement and Post War Growth
Building the Hellenic Center
Building the Present Church on South Grande Avenue
Growth in the New Church, Tragedy, and Recovery
The 80s and 90s
Conclusion
List of Chanters, Choir Director, Organists, and Sunday School Directors
List of Parish Council Presidents
List of Parish Priests
Closing Remarks
All Pages

One can imagine what enthusiasm the members felt as they watched the progress of this building! Soon they would not have to rent the chapel. Now they would have a large spacious church and meeting hall of their own, compared to where they had been before. The work on the church continued through the fall. A Church service was last held at the chapel on December 21, 1924. They then moved the folding chairs and all the liturgical items into the new church. Several humorous items were noted in their expense book on November 29th: “move ten tons of coal to the church and buy 40lbs of candle string”. In those days they made their church candles by hand dipping and molds. This was a skill of the ladies of the Proodos Society. On December 24th they celebrated the first Divine Liturgy at the new Church. The members of the Church Community had given themselves a Christmas present that was certainly heart moving to young and old. It was truly Christmas Day! They chose Christmas Day for their first Liturgy since it was on this day in Constantinople, when the first Liturgy was celebrated in the then new Great Cathedral of Haghia Sophia or, as the world knows it, Santa Sophia. To them the church in Poughkeepsie, NY was a similar cathedral. The next Sunday after the Liturgy they had the ceremony on installing the cornerstone. That cornerstone is now located in the upper hall of the Sunday school wing of the Church on Grand Avenue.

1939 Picture of Parishioners on Academy Street1935 Choir

With the new Church opening they began to develop a regular Choir. The Pastor Rev. Petropoulos and the new Chanter Vasilios Leontaras taught the youth of the church the hymns and responses of the liturgy. Mr. Leontaras also undertook some Sunday school instruction. Soon some of the ladies helped him as Sunday school teachers for the youth of the community. With the new church, there was a new enthusiasm for those activities that the parishioners had desired. During the early days of 1925, Rev. Petropoulos was assigned to nearby Newburgh and Rev. Peter Manolides replaced him. This was an active period of organization. The ladies of the community organized a ladies society known as “Proodos”, which means progress. This later became known as the Philoptochos Society in 1945. There were 24 charter members. They helped the Trustees of the church by sponsoring numerous picnics, nameday celebrations and dinners. They also traveled around the Mid-Hudson area raising funds from parishioners and commercial establishments. During 1927, the men of the community established Poughkeepsie Chapter #158 of AHEPA. The letters stand for American, Hellenic, Educational and Progressive Association. They were connected with the national Order of Ahepa. There were about 30 charter members. Both the Ahepa Chapter and the ladies Proodos Society met in the church hall. They also performed amateur theatre plays in the Greek language. The participants were all members of the community - young and old. Some plays were dramatic stories and others were humorous tales. The church Hall in this instance was not large enough for these plays so they rented space in the large Masonic Hall, 3 blocks away from the church. This hall had a stage, seating, curtains and a small kitchen for post-program refreshments. People of Greek background from nearby cities and towns attended these plays. These programs were well received and became regular annual events. Some of the parishioners had musical talent and were organized under the leadership of Peter Antonakos into a small orchestra to entertain members of the community at plays and dances. The other members of the musical troupe were: Maria Kavour Charinos, Procopis Labrinos and Calliope Aposporos. Shortly thereafter, Litsa Antonakos, George Pappas, Steven Verven, George L. Kustas, Bill G. Kustas, Stemi Gorman and Nick L. Kustas joined the group.

First Picnic of Poughkeepsie (1925)Play at Masonic Hall (1932)