Saint Nectarios History
Saint Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church has been serving the people of the Mid-Columbia Region since 1980. It began as the Tri-Cities Greek Orthodox Church with monthly meetings held in backyards, restaurants, community centers, and a borrowed Episcopal Church, and has since evolved into a small community with its own building, bought in June of 1988. With the purchase of the building and its make-over into an Orthodox Church, the chapel was dedicated to Saint Nectarios of Aegina in November of 1989 by His Grace Bishop Anthony.
The Reverend E. Anthony Tomaras, the Executive Director of the Northwest Orthodox Foundation, was assigned to do missionary work in the Mid-Columbia Region. In January of 1980 his missionary effort began. On the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (Feb 2) Father Anthony served the first Divine Liturgy. During the first fourteen years Father Anthony donated his services to the mission.
His Grace Bishop Anthony of San Francisco visited the mission for the first time in February 1983. Shortly thereafter a Philoptochos chapter was formed, a petition to His Grace for Mission status was circulated and the Tri-Cities Mission received its Certificate of Incorporation from the State. Beginning with a generous donation from Andrew Prounchick, the First Benefactor, the mission earnestly began collecting money for a building fund through the Philoptochos' regular participation in local food festivals. Twice monthly services began in January 1987 when St. Nectarios was able to make a down payment on a former law office. The mission now had 4,000 sq. ft of air-conditioned space with meeting rooms, a kitchen, a social/dining room, classrooms and a chapel. Mrs. Panayiota Vlahos of Chicago and others help with the expenses of renovation. Mr. Nicholas C. Vitos of Tacoma helped us to retire the mortgage in July of 1991. The parents and husband of Mrs. Virginia Abbassi gave many beautiful appointments that we have in the church in her memory. Our sister parishes in the Northwest (Seattle, Tacoma, and especially Spokane) gave many altar items, and Presvytera Sophronia Tomaras painted the icons for the chapel
September 1997 to January 1998 the Very Reverend Archpriest Gregory E. Roth, a retired Air Force Chaplain, was able to serve as the first full-time priest at St. Nectarios, supported partly by the Archbishop Iakovos Fund from the Orthodox Christian Mission Center and partly by St. Nectarios. In February 1998, Father Anthony Tomaras returned to serve again, offering the Divine Liturgy twice a month and on major Feast Days. Father Anthony and Presvytera Sophronia Tomaras retired again from active ministry following the Divine Liturgy on August 13, 2000.
On the weekend of September 23 and 24, 2000, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony, presiding hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of San Francisco, met with the parishioners of St. Nectarios and celebrated the Divine Liturgy for them that Sunday. As an interim measure, the Metropolitan arranged to have a priest at St. Nectarios as often as possible. On the Sundays when a priest is not available, The Typica (Reader's Service) was held so that the faithful have the opportunity to come and pray together. Our reader for many years was Robert Allen, who was tonsured a Reader by Metropolitan Anthony.
Father Joseph Velez, an assistant priest at St. Demetrios’ in Seattle, came to offer the Liturgy on the Feast of St. Nectarios, November 9, 2000. He continued to provide a Liturgy one Wednesday evening a month through March 2001. Father Tom Avramis of Trinity Children and Family Services in San Bernardino, California traveled with his family to offer the Lamentations Service on Good Friday, and the Resurrection Service and Easter Vespers 2001.
From Easter of 2001 through the beginning of Great Lent in 2003 the Typica (Reader's Service) was observed every Sunday at 10:00 AM. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated once or twice a month with the gracious assistance of Father James Retelas of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon, Father Dane Popovic of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Issaquah, Washington, and other priests who were available.
The faithful at St. Nectarios worked assiduously with the Missions Board of the Metropolis (diocese) of San Francisco to find a way to bring a full time priest to St. Nectarios and support him. After much prayer and the efforts of many people, Father Patrick Irish arrived at St. Nectarios at the beginning of Great Lent, 2003 and provided weekly services throughout the rest of 2003. Under his guidance, the church membership grew and a strong Church community was developed. For the first time in our history we finally had a fully functional St. Nectarios Parish Council.
From 2004 to 2015, St. Nectarios was very fortunate to have His Grace Bishop Anthimos of Olympos be with us each year for Holy Week and Pascha. He passed away several months after Pascha in 2015. We felt quite close to him – having shared Pascha for so many years, and we greatly miss him.
In January 2004, Father Deacon Timothy Read joined our local Orthodox community to lead us in our weekly services. Father Michael Dunaway joined him to provide Divine Liturgy on Sunday approximately twice a month. They served St. Nectarios until December 2009 – during which time major improvements were made to the Church. A major expansion of the worship area allowed many more faithful participate in the services. The Deacon’s wife led an effort that resulted in installation of the beautiful large icons that now hang on the walls of the expanded worship area. Both the Deacon and Father had other full time commitments and drove considerable distances to serve St. Nectarios – and the faithful at St. Nectarios are indebted to them for their efforts in the support of St. Nectarios during this period.
Starting in 2010, there was Divine Liturgy on Saturday mornings twice a month -- when Father Stephen Supica (from the Spokane Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church) and Presvytera Irene Tomaras Supica came and served in the Tri-Cities. Their presence was very special for the local Parish because Presvytera Irene is the daughter of Father Anthony and Presvytera Sophronia, who started the Church that is today St. Nectarios. In addition to leading services, Father Stephen also served the needs of the local Orthodox community and laid the foundation for St. Nectarios supporting a full-time Priest The Sunday reader services continued to be conducted by the local parishioners each Sunday at St. Nectarios.
From September 2015 to January 2016, a full time priest, Father Dr. Costas Contantinou, was assigned to St. Nectarios. In his short term at St. Nectarios, Father Costas transformed St. Nectarios into an exciting and vibrant Church. His devotion and hard work resulted in an influx of faithful attending the services and participating in Church activities. He set us on a path towards shedding our mission status and becoming a fully operational Orthodox Church.
Starting in February 2016, Father John Angelis joined the St. Nectarios parish.
The future of St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church looks to serve the spiritual needs of Orthodox Christians of the Mid-Columbia Region. St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church exists to be the Light of Orthodoxy for those who are earnestly searching out the Truth who is Jesus Christ and who desire to be united to the One Church that He founded on the Foundation of the Holy Apostles.
Please see 'Announcements' (under the 'About Us' Tab) for additional information about St. Nectarios activities.
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