America's Oldest Greek Orthodox Church Holds Year-Long Celebration
America's oldest Greek Orthodox Church, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral offered the following press release, concerning its ongoing celebration with its new priest.
Oldest Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas Continues Year-Long Celebration with New Spiritual Father
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral welcomes Father George Wilson
NEW ORLEANS (September 3, 2014) – On Sunday June 1, 2014 anticipation for members of the oldest Greek Orthodox community in North and South America was quenched as they greeted Reverend Father (Fr.) George Wilson with open arms and open hearts. With no permanent priest in the community since January, the community eagerly welcomed Fr. George's arrival and appointment as the new Dean of the cathedral. He officiated his first Liturgy unaccompanied as the Spiritual Father on the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday June 7.
"I am very excited to begin this journey with the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox community in New Orleans. Although I am from the northeast, I have spent much of my time in the South leading other parishes, so I am used to the climate. And I am intrigued by the New Orleans culture and, of course, the food," says Fr. George. "I officiated my first Liturgy on a very important day on the Church calendar, and this is a very important year for the New Orleans Greek community as they honor the perseverance and history of the founders of this Church."
Fr. George Wilson was born in Gloversville, New York in 1959 and is fourth of five children. His parents, George and Cleoniki Wilson, were first generation American born of Greek decent. He attended Johnstown Public Schools and received a BA in Communication Studies from the State University of New York at Oswego in 1981. Fr. George worked in radio broadcasting as an announcer, producer, copywriter, and continuity director until 1989 when he received his calling and enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He graduated with distinction in 1993.
In January 1993 Father George was ordained deacon by then Bishop Methodios of Boston while a senior at the seminary and was ordained priest by then Bishop Isaiah of Denver in November 1993. On September 11, 2005, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit bestowed the Office of Economos upon Father George.
After ordination he served as assistant priest at Saint Demetrios in Jamaica, New York, for thirteen months and at the Assumption Cathedral in Denver, Colorado, in the same capacity for a year and a half. He was the interim Proistamenos at the Cathedral for a year and a half and then was assigned in August 1997 to the Panagia Pantovasilissa Church in Lexington, Kentucky, where he served until coming to New Orleans. He is a former president and vice-president of the Detroit Clergy Syndesmos and served on the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council until his assignment to the Atlanta Metropolis. Also, he was on the Detroit Metropolis Council, as well as the Detroit Metropolis representative to the Hellenic College/Holy Cross Alumni Board until his assignment to the Atlanta Metropolis.
Father George is married to Harriet Pepps, a native of San Antonio, Texas. She, too, is a graduate of the seminary, receiving a Masters of Theological Study in 1980. The couple has two daughters. Kleoniki is a 2014 Emerson College graduate, who currently lives in Los Angeles and works in the television production business. Despina is a junior at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is a vocal performance major and business minor.
"To begin our new journey at Holy Trinity on the Feast of Pentecost is in many ways quite fitting," says Fr. George. "The Feast celebrates three things: the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles; the establishment of the Church and the baptism of the thousands who believed in the Gospel message of the Resurrection; and the revelation of the Holy Trinity. For me, it also celebrates the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and the establishment of this Church in 1864."
The church is in the middle of a year-long celebration marking 150 years as a worshipping community. There have been many events throughout the year with the weekend of October 10-12 being the culmination of the 150th Anniversary Celebration. The community is thrilled to have His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios coming to New Orleans for the weekend. Other Christian leaders will be in attendance and many events are open to the public.
SHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, October 10
An Evening on the Bayou"
Outdoor glendi with Greek cuisine, entertainment, cash bar, music and fireworks display
Holy Trinity Cathedral grounds
6:30 pm - Ticketed event $50
Saturday, October 11
"Greeks on the Bayou" New Orleans Bus Tour, Unique Tour of New Orleans with a Greek Flair
9:00 am – Noon - Ticketed event $25
Trisagion Service in memory of the founders and departed priests of Holy Trinity
St. Louis #3 Greek Orthodox Mausoleum
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
"Keepers of the Faith", Exhibition of documents, icons and artifacts chronicling the history of our Faith in New Orleans
Hellenic Cultural Center
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Youth gathering with Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Alexios;
Holy Trinity Cathedral
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Great Vespers Service, Reverend Father George Wilson, Dean, with Hierarchs and visiting clergy
Holy Trinity Cathedral
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
"150 years of Holy Trinity New Orleans" Documentary Premiere Night
Dinner at Metairie Country Club
Introduction of descendants of founders of Holy Trinity and earliest Greeks in New Orleans;
Recognition of past presidents of Holy Trinity
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm Ticketed event $65
Sunday, October 12
Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, His Emienence Metropolitan Alexios, Reverend George Wilson, Dean Holy Trinity and distinguished past clergy of Holy Trinity and visiting clergy
Orthros 8:45, Liturgy 10:00 a.m.
Celebration Banquet in the Cultural Center following Divine Liturgy
Ticketed event $40
"Keepers of the Faith", Exhibition of documents, icons and artifacts chronicling the history of our Faith in New Orleans, Cultural Center, following the Banquet
About Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral was established in New Orleans in 1864 after businessman and Royal Consul of the Royal Government of Greece Nicholas Benachi offered his personal property for a temporary church. In 1867, he sold a small parcel of property on North Dorgenois Street to the community that included a small church. The community eventually relocated to the present site on Robert E. Lee Boulevard, next to Bayou St. John. The Hellenic Cultural Center was built in 1980, and the new Cathedral was completed in 1985. Today, the Cathedral serves the Greek Orthodox faithful throughout southern Louisiana, including more than 400 families from the greater New Orleans area, under the spiritual guidance of the Diocese of Atlanta (covering the southeastern United States), the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
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