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On the coast of South Carolina lies a city that defines southern charm. Charleston has long been a noted for its culture, beauty, and history. As the residents of this tourist haven have embraced their home, God has embraced the Orthodox community of Charleston. The first Greek Orthodox Church service performed in Charleston took place in 1908 at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, conducted by Reverend Arsenios David of Savannah, Georgia. A residence at Calhoun and Coming Streets in Charleston was thereafter used as the Church. May 25, 1911, commemorates the cornerstone laying ceremony of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity at the corner of Fishburne and Saint Phillips Streets in Charleston. The lot was purchased or $700 and the church was built for $6,500. The founding members of Holy Trinity were 1910-1913 Parish Council Officers Theodore Papadakos as President, George Billias as Vice President, John Billias as Secretary, and Costas Christodoulopoulos as Treasurer. The family names of the founders include Lamas, Panoutsopoulos, Davis, Demos, Rousso, Lempesis, Christodoulopolous, Stratakos, Billias, and Milton. The founders consisted of approximately 50 individuals and their families.
On October 28, 1940, construction began for the Hellenic Center. The facility was designed by architect Augustus E. Constantine. The present Church was dedicated May 17, 1953. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Charleston was the first Church in the United States built in the authentic Byzantine style of architecture. A Byzantine design for the Church was recommended by Archbishop Athenagoras and approved by His Eminence, Archbishop Michael. An educational building designed by Demetrious C. Liollio as architect was constructed to the rear of the Hellenic Center in the late 1950s. In 1980 the Hellenic Center was renovated at a cost of approximately $500,000. Through the years, Holy Trinity has acquired properties that surround the Hellenic Center and Church, which will allow for future development.
While in the early days of Holy Trinity, the parish consisted primarily of Greek immigrants, the present day community has grown to include Russian Orthodox, Serbian, and other Eastern European Orthodox Christians. With 500 families, Holy Trinity is a flourishing community. “The mission of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity is to serve the spiritual needs of the Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike through the nourishment of Christian life. We enable individuals to come together in spiritual fellowship with each other and with God through organized ministries that are centered on the beliefs and values of our Faith. We strive to care for those in need and to celebrate our cultural heritage.” In order to implement this mission, members attend and participate in all services and encourage those who are inactive and lapsed, to participate. Outreach programs are promoted using the latest technology. Locally, effort is made to promote and familiarize the Christian community regarding Orthodoxy. The Parish supports the development of other Orthodox Churches in the area. Education is emphasized in the form of Sunday School classes, Bible studies, and Catechism classes. The Parish also sponsors the Nicholas C. Trivelas Library, a complete Christian library with hundreds of volumes and videos.
The Parish of Holy Trinity strives to continue to maintain, teach, and live the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The philosophy of the Parish is that it will be led by the Holy Spirit to keep the spiritual aspect first in all matters, and to preserve its heritage and culture.
To visit the parish website, please click here.