Christos Koutsoheris becomes the first Greek Immigrant to settle in New Haven, Connecticut. He is soon joined by Peter Proestakes in 1899 and several other Hellenes.
The Pan Hellenic Union is established to provide education and assistance to the new Greek immigrants. They soon arranged for occasional pastoral visits by an Orthodox priest, to celebrate the sacraments. According to the book, “Greek Immigration to the United States” there were a total of 121 Greeks living in Connecticut. That number increased to 614 in 1904.
Mrs. Christos (Olga) Koutsoheris, a young woman and new bride from Greece, joins her husband in the USA, and becomes the first female of Greek heritage to reside in the New Haven area.
The first child of Greek descent born in the area was George C. Koutsoheris on April 15, 1907
The Divine Liturgy is celebrated at Crown Hall on Crown Street in New Haven, by various out-of-town Orthodox clergy.
The Divine Liturgy is celebrated regularly at the Ukrainian Church and later in the parish house of Christ Episcopal Church on Broadway Street in New Haven.
World War I
Young Parishioners from the Saint Barbara parish enlist in the Armed Forces to serve their new country, America. As a reward for their service, many receive their American citizenship.
The Permata Society, a philanthropic group whose primary purpose was the fianacial assistance of those family members still residing in Permata, Asia Minor is established.
The community of Saint Barbara is officially founded.
The Pan-Hellenic Union formally requests a permanent priest from the Archdiocese.
The Ladies Society of New Haven, “The Progress,” is organized. The first Greek School is established by Mrs. Olga Koutsoheris.
The Divine Liturgy is regularly celebrated at the Saint George Syrian Orthodox Church.
The first Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church building is purchased. It is located at 38 Beers Street, New Haven. The Community consists of 90 families, and 100 community members.
First recorded wedding at the Saint Barbara Parish: Amelia Daniel to Kostas Klarides on September 7.
First recorded baptisms at the Saint Barbara Parish take place on October 5. George Anastasion (Godfather, Christos Koutsoheris) and Marianthe Psathas (Godfather, Savas Anastasion) are baptized.
The first church community picnic is held.
New Haven Chapter #98 of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) is established with 26 charter members.
The Sons of Pericles, Elm City Chapter #15 is established. The Junior Order of AHEPA are a group dedicated to philanthropy, civic responsibility, athletics, education and individual excellence.
Greek American Progressive Association (G.A.P.A), is organized to preserve and cultivate the Greek language, traditions and religion.
Saint Barbara Sunday School and Choir are founded by Presbytera Triantafilides.
The Community decides to look for a new church facility to meet the growing needs of the parish. Property at 56 Dwight Street is purchased for $10,000 on November 21.
Faulty electrical wiring caused a fire on March 16th damaging the Beers Street Church.
Greek War Relief Association is formed two weeks after the invasion of Greece in World War II, to ship food, clothing and medical supplies to Greece.
The Divine Liturgy was regularly celebrated at Christ Church and Saint Thomas Episcopal Church in New Haven.
Archbishop, and later Patriarch, Athenagoras presides over the Cornerstone Laying Service at the ‘second’ Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church on Dwight Street. The ceremony takes place on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day.
AHEPA War Bond Drive is organized. AHEPA is authorized to act as agents of the United States Government and raises over $600,000 to purchase a bomber for Greece.
America enters World War II.
Many young parishioners from the Saint Barbara community serve in the U.S. Military. One, Charles J. Pappas is killed in action.
Consecration of the Church on Dwight Street is celebrated by Archbishop Athenagoras of North and South America, on Sunday, October 10.
The Progress was officially renamed the Saint Barbara Ladies Philoptochos Society.
The Daughters of Penelope, Mycale Chapter #37, is established. The women’s organization of the AHEPA family, dedicated to promote Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence.
The Greek Orthodox Youth of America is established (GOYA); Vacation Bible School is held for the first time and Parish Boy and Girl Scout Troops are formed.
Archbishop Michael of North and South America visits the Community for the first time.
Saint Barbara Junior GOYA is established.
The Maids of Athena, Urania Chapter #117 is established. The Junior Order of the Daughters of Penelope, are dedicated to the principles of sisterhood, service, citizenship, Hellenism, family and virtue.
The State of Connecticut pays tribute to Orthodox Faith and declares it one of the four major faiths.
Voting privileges in the parish are extended to women.
The Church Endowment Fund is established.
Saint Barbara parishioner Constantine P. Verinis, is elected National AHEPA Supreme President. He would serve in this capacity from 1957 -1959.
The Nursery School and PTO are established.
Saint Barbara parishioner George J. Margoles, is elected National AHEPA Supreme President. He would serve in this capacity from 1962 - 1963.
Saint Barbara Parish hosts the GOYA District Convention.
The Saint Barbara Junior Choir is established.
Katherine Demetriou becames the first female member of the Parish Council.
The Saint Barbara basketball teams are organized and participate in the newly formed Connecticut Eastern Orthodox Basketball League.
The Saint Barbara Parish 50th Anniversary Book is published. It contains a detailed history of the community, complete with photographs. The parish now consists of 434 families.
Connecticut Campaign Against Cooley’s Anemia, Inc. is founded by Saint Barbara parishioner Dorothy Guiliotis. The foundation was dedicated to improving the quality of life for those affected by the disease.
The Saint Barbara Cheerleading Squad is established.
The General Assembly votes to purchase property and a residence on 7.5 acres of land in Orange, Connecticut, for the building of a new Church edifice.
The Saint Barbara Greek Dance Troupe is established.
The first Odyssey: A Greek Festival, is held at Lighthouse Park in New Haven.
The Building Program raises $1,000,000 to construct a new Church at 480 Racebrook Road in Orange.
The Saint Barbara Book and Icon Store is established.
His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, celebrates the ground breaking ceremony for the property at 480 Racebrook Road on September 14.
The Saint Barbara Girls Volleyball team is established and they participate in the newly formed Connecticut Eastern Orthodox Volleyball League.
Archbishop Iakovos celebrates the Church cornerstone laying ceremony on the Church grounds, in Orange.
The Odyssey Festival is held on Church grounds. This is the first time that it is held in Orange.
The “Thyranixia” or Opening Door Ceremony, is celebrated on December 3rd by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America. The first Divine Liturgy in the newly built Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Orange is celebrated immediately following.
Golden Years Ministry is established.
Saint Barbara Scholarship Program is established. The Mary Alexiades Scholarship becomes the first scholarship awarded. Since its inception, the Saint Barbara Scholarship Program has awarded over $750,000 to students of the community. Currently, there are thirty-two named scholarships awarded on an annual basis.
The Saint Barbara Young Adult League, seeking to minister to young adults ages 19-35, is established.
The community of Saint Barbara purchases the adjoining two south side acres, formally the Holy Infant Convent.
The Consecration of the Church is celebrated on Sunday, October 9. Holy Relics of Saint Boniface, Saint Kyrikos and Saint Panteleimon are presented by Bishop Alexios on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America.
Alex Alexiades, Peter Anastasion, Marie Basel, Basil Chaltas, George Faracles, Vagos Hadjimichael, Eugene Lightle, Harry Pappas, Yota Tjimis and Presbytera Christine Kehayes are awarded the Saint Paul Medal by His Eminence Archbisop Iakovos of North and South America. The Saint Paul Medal is the highest honor awarded to lay people of the Archdiocese.
Saint Barbara hosts the Greek and Cypriot Delegations to the World Special Olympics held at Yale University.
The first Edition of The Ministry, the official parish publication of the Saint Barbara Parish, is published.
The first Saint Barbara Golf Classic is held at Laurel View Country Club.
The Saint Barbara Web Site www.saintbarbara.org is established.
The Saint Barbara GOYA establishes an annual Fall Retreat.
Saint Barbara JOY (Junior Orthodox Youth) Group is established.
The Saint Barbara Summer Camp is established. The program is designed by Presbytera Vangie Orfanakos and focuses on creating a healthy, safe, Orthodox learning environment for campers and counselors, as well as encouraging Camp Staff development on a parish-wide level on the beautiful grounds of Saint Barbara Church. The five-day one-week program would run for 21 years, ministering to 1,945 campers (ages 4-14); 678 counselors (ages 14-18); and 781 adult staff members, prior to becoming the one-day Saint Barbara SuperCamp.
The Saint Barbara 2000 Master Plan is approved, to eliminate all debt and construct an education center, social hall and gymnasium.
AHEPA New Haven Chapter #98 hosts the Annual District Convention at Omni New Haven Hotel.
Patriarch Barthlomew is presented with an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Yale University.
Saint Barbara Parishioner Themis Klarides begins her service in the Connecticut State House of Representatives representing the 114th District. She served as the Deputy Minority Leader from 2007 to 2014; and Minority Leader beginning with the 2015 session, becoming the first female GOP House Leader in the history of the State.
Saint Barbara Parishioner Beverly Streit-Kefalas begins her service as Milford Probate Judge. In 2011, Judge Streit-Kefalas begins her service as the Milford-Orange Probate Judge when the two districts merged.
Saint Barbara Parish hosts D.A.D. YAL Convention ‘Seek Out Your Soul in the CT Woods’. The Keynote Speakers are His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, and Nicholas Constas, Professor of Patristics at Harvard Divinity School.
Saint Barbara 2000 Fundraising Project is deemed a success as all debt is eliminated.
The Holy Relics of Saint Barbara are presented as a gift to the community from His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius. The relics were sent from the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Kiev, Russia.
The community is highlighted in the Orthodox Observer, under the title: “Saint Barbara Maintains a Mind-Boggling Myriad of Ministries.”
Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church begins live streaming of all Liturgical Services via the Internet, providing for those who are unable to attend services on a regular basis, an opportunity to experience the prayer cycle of the Orthodox Church. The live stream of services continues to be used as a vehicle to enhance the participation of the faithful in our own parish and worldwide.
P.A.T.C.H.E.S. (Parenting And Teaching Children Hope, Empathy and Spirituality), our parish’s pre-school ministry, is established.
The Archdiocesan District Choir Federation Christmas Concert is hosted by Saint Barbara Church.
The adjoining property and residence on 3 west side acres is purchased, creating a Church campus totaling 12.5 acres.
The Parish holds a Gala with Archbishop Demetrios of America present, celebrating the “Past, Present & Future of the Parish of Saint Barbara” at the Omni New Haven Hotel. A special DVD is created celebrating the community of Saint Barbara, its history, and its parishioners.
A section of Route 313 in Woodbridge is named after a Saint Barbara parishioner who heroically served in the United States Airforce in WWII as the co-pilot of ‘The Memphis Belle’, and is designated ‘Lt. Col. James A. Verinis Memorial Highway.’
The Saint Barbara GOYA hosts the first GOYA Day at Holiday Hill for the Direct Archdiocesan District. The event was well attended and featured a full day of activities that provided a wonderful opportunity for fellowship with teens throughout Connecticut and New York.
The Parish approves the Master Plan Expansion Project plan to construct an education center, social hall, cultural center and gymnasium foundation.
The Expansion Project Ground Breaking Ceremony is held and construction begins.
The new Saint Barbara Educational Center and Grand Ball Room are completed. The foundation of the Saint Barbara Gymnasium is completed.
The Official Opening of the newly constructed and renovated facilities is officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
The American Bible Society publishes a Military Bible for Orthodox Christians serving in the Armed Forces. The Icons of the Saint Barbara Church are featured throughout the edition.
The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Parish in Ansonia, Connecticut officially merges with the Saint Barbara Community.
Nelson Nicholson is awarded the St. Paul Medal from His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
The Saint Barbara Church Office Building and Hall is dedicated in honor of Eugene and Kathryn Lightle, life-long members of the Saint Barbara Parish, who dedicated their lives to their faith and the service of the children of the Saint Barbara Parish.
The Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut is established. Saint Barbara parishioner Greg Stamos, serves as its President.
Saint Barbara GOYAns begin their ministry at the Community Dining Room in Branford, serving freshly prepared meals to those in need in a warm, comforting, nurturing and uplifting environment.
The Saint Barbara Parish works together with Saint Barbara Parishioner George Chatzopoulos to raise $10,000 to help send a Connecticut Special Olympian, to the International Special Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Saint Barbara Choir Director Harry Pappas is awarded the Patriarch Athenagoras Award from the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, recognizing his exemplary contributions to church music in the D.A.D.
Fr. Peter Orfanakos begins ministering to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Chapter at Fairfield University.
Saint Barbara Parishioners Greg Stamos and Theo Nicolakis, are vested as Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This honor is extended by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is bestowed upon individuals of proven Orthodox Christian character, who have demonstrated a great commitment toward the stewardship of time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the Church, Parish, Metropolis, Archdiocese and the community as a whole.
The Holy Trinity Chapel is officially opened on the grounds of Saint Barbara Church. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America presides at the Thyranixia (Opening Door Ceremony); United States Senator Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut State Representative Themis Klarides and Orange First Selectman James Zeoli are also present.
Tess Grimaldi, becomes the first Saint Barbara GOYAn to be part of the Orthodox Youth Mission Team participating in the Appalachian Service Project, together with other Orthodox Christians from several Orthodox Churches in Connecticut.
The Saint Barbara Ladies Philoptochos Society hosts the first annual Fantasy of Trees.
Saint Barbara Young Adults hosts the Direct Archdiocesean District Young Adult Conference with the theme: ‘Integrating LIFE into my life: Learning to balance the challenges of work, society, family, life and faith.’ The Keynote Speakers are Dr. George Demacopoulos (Fordham University); Dr. Philip Mamalakis (Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology); Theo Nicolakis (Chief Information Officer Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America); and Aphrodite Skeadas (National Philoptochos Society President). The Conference was attended by over 90 Young Adults from throughout the Archdiocese.
Saint Barbara Parishioner Katerina Belales is named Miss Plantsville’s Outstanding Teen in the Miss Connecticut America Pageant.
Saint Barbara Parish establishes an annual one day food festival called “A Taste of Greece.”
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Chapter is established at Quinnipiac University .
Tess Grimaldi, Paul Debassio, Diamantis Kefalas, Irena Tsilfoglou and Napoleon Tsilfoglou join the Orthodox Youth Mission Team, participating in the Appalachian Service Project. Many other Saint Barbara teenagers would participate in this mission trip in the summers of 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Saint Barbara parishioner Paul DeBassio, advances to the Junior Division National Oratorical Finals in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Direct Archdiocesan District establishes the “Journey of Marriage” preparation seminars. Saint Barbara parishioners Flo Sarigianis and Steven Yates have volunteered as moderators of the seminars, since they were established, with Steven traveling throughout NY, CT, and Washington DC.
The Saint Barbara Young Adult group hosts the D.A.D. Young Adult Conference with the theme, ‘Discipline and Distraction: Maintaining Focus in our Daily Life.’ The conference was attended by over 70 young adults and featured presentations by Paulette Poulos, the Executive Director of Leadership 100 and Jonathan Resmini.
The Mustard Seed Faith Group, enhancing the Adult Education ministry of our parish, is established.
The Grief and Wellness Group is established.
The Saint Barbara Sojourners Society is established.
World renowned artist Areti Ketime, performs a benefit concert at Saint Barbara Grand Ballroom entitled “East Meets West...Musical Bridges.” She was accompanied by Grigori and Petros Papaemanouil. The performance benefitted the Hellenic Society of Paideia at the University of Connecticut.
Holy and Great Council
The Holy and Great Council is held at the Orthodox Academy of Crete from June 18-27, 2016. Icons from the Saint Barbara parish are used in many areas throughout the Academy, including the above header on the official Holy and Great Council Web site.
The Saint Barbara Mentoring Initiative is established. Its mission is to provide high school students, parents of high school students and college students, advice and resources to help them navigate the college application process and/or employment opportunities.
The Saint Barbara GOYAns team up with the Saint Barbara Philoptochos Society in their ministry at the Community Dining Room in Branford.
Saint Barbara Parish hosts the Northeast Regional Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) retreat gathering college students from throughout the Northeast United States. The theme of the retreat was: ‘Looking Beyond Appearances: Spiritual Insight into God, Ourselves and our Neighbor.’ Rev. George Parsenios, Associate Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, served as the Keynote Presenter.
Saint Barbara Parishioner Theo Nicolakis is named to the National Board of the American Bible Society.
The Saint Barbara Choir hosts the Church Musicians Conference of the Direct Archdiocesan District. Over 70 Choir Members from throughout the Direct Archdiocesan District participated in the weekend’s events, leading the congregation in the chanting of the Hymns of the Divine Liturgy.
Saint Barbara Choir Director, Stacey Schinas Grimaldi is awarded the Direct Archdiocesan District Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musician’s prestigious Choir Member of the Year Medal.
Saint Barbara Choir member Jane Hadjimichael is awarded the Patriarch Athenagoras Award from the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, recognizing her exemplary contributions to church music in the Direct Archdiocesan District.
Saint Barbara Parishioner Nicole Klarides-Ditria is elected to the Connecticut State House of Representatives, representing the 105th District, joining her sister Themis (114th District). Themis and Nicole are the first two sisters to serve simultaneously in the legislature in Connecticut history.
The ΙΧΘΥΣ Reading group is established.
Teenage members of the Saint Barbara Parish travel to Alaska to participate in a Service Project coordinated in conjunction with the Orthodox Christian Missions Center. George Antonellis, Alena Kittleman, Ted Maniatis, Annie-jorden Tomaszek and Robbie Wagner participated in teaching, outreach and construction projects in the villages surrounding Napaskiak, Alaska. This Mission Team is comprised of 20 youth and 6 adult leaders from 6 parishes in 3 jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church.
The Saint Barbara Young Adults are selected from a large pool of applicants to be one of fourteen Orthodox Parishes in the United States to take part in the Telos Project. The project is spearheaded by the Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College Holy Cross and was funded by a generous grant by Lilly Endowment Inc. The initiative strives to assist Orthodox Christian parishes in developing new ministries with young adults ages 23-29.
The Saint Barbara Philoptochos participated in the Rise Against Hunger program, which distributed highly nutritious meals to those in need. The program seeks to meet both immediate needs, while enabling communities to begin to break the cycle of poverty.
Saint Barbara SuperCamp was established as a one day, 12 hour program open to children ages 4 - 17.
Fourteen Saint Barbara GOYAns: Kallista Berner, Luke Berner, John Dalakas, Ana DaBassio, Sophia Hathaway, Anna Kattis, Olivia Kittleman, Irena Komninakas, Andreas Lolis, Ellie Maniatis, Spiro Maniatis, Giovanni Panagiotakis, Demetrios Teodosio, Thana Zikos along with Shaun Berner, advisor, traveled to Kentucy, as part of the Orthodox Youth Mission Team.
Fotizou Liturgical Reading and Chanting Group is established.
Saint Barbara GOYAns Giovanni Panagiotakis, Andreas Lolis and Luke Berner advance to the International Hellenic History Tournament in Chicago, placing fourth.
Saint Barbara Parishioner Judge Beverly Streit-Kefalas is appointed as the Probate Court Administrator in Connecticut, becoming the the first woman to lead the Probate Court system in its 300-year history.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America leads the parish in its Centennial Celebration marking the 100th Anniversary of the Saint Barbara Church in Orange, Connecticut.
Fr. Peter Orfanakos is appointed Vicar of the Westchester, New York and Connecticut Parishes by Archbishop Elpidophoros, responsible to maintain proper Ecclesiastical order and progress within the Parishes of Region Four that include: Prophet Elias (Yonkers), Holy Trinity (New Rochelle), Church of Our Saviour (Rye), Assumption (Danbury), Holy Trinity (Waterbury), Holy Trinity (Bridgeport), St. Demetrios (Bristol), St. George (New Britain), St. George (Hartford), St. George (Norwalk), St. Barbara (Orange), Archangels (Stamford), Annunciation (Stamford), St. Basil (New Haven) and Three Hierarchs (Storrs).
Fr. Peter Orfanakos is elected Vice President of the Clergy Syndesmos of the Direct Archdiocesan District.
Parish Time line Compiled by: Rev. Peter J. Orfanakos, Dorothy Guiliotis, Marie Basel, Bill Chaltas, Efthalia B. Chaltas, Theo Nicolakis, Clio Nicolakis, Gregory Stamos, Lea Loussides
Time line edited by: Rev. Peter Orfanakos, Presbytera Vangie Orfanakos, Eleni Hojnowski, Steven Yates
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