History of our Church
In the early 1900's, many of the early settlers of the Charlottesville Greek Community were originally from Sparta, Gardiki and other small villages in the rocky mountains of Thessaly and Asia Minor. The first formal attempt to organize the community was in 1932 when a local chapter of the Greek-American Progressive Association was formed to remind people of their Greek heritage.
Several years later, in 1941, a local group decided to unify the Greek community so that they would be able to have a building for a church and community center. In 1944, the American-Greek Community of Charlottesville was formally established and its members soon purchased the current site of our church at 100 Perry Drive. The parishioners donated the icons on the iconostasis, which were painted for the church by monks from a monastery at Mount Athos, Greece.
Ground-breaking services were held in 1953 and the church was named "Metamorphosis Soteros", which in English translates to "Transfiguration of Our Savior". On December 20, 1953, the families of the Greek Community participated in the cornerstone laying service. Placed in the cornerstone were copies of the constitution and by-laws of the archdiocese, charter and by-laws of the local American-Greek Community, the Ladies Progressive Society and a copy of the local newspaper, The Daily Progress. The formal dedication of the church occurred on October 30, 1954 by Archbishop Michael, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America. The Reverend Bartholomew A. Karahalios was the first resident priest of Charlottesville.
Cornerstone Laying Ceremony
Archbishop Michael's Arrival
Formal Procession at Dedication Ceremony
Since that time our church has formed relationships with students at the University of Virginia and has welcomed Orthodox Christians from Russia, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Serbia and Ukraine. In 1974, Father Peter Rexinis came to our church and served with us as our Parish priest for over 25 years. Various church groups have been formed such as the Ladies Progressive Society, Daughters of Penelope, The Church Choir and youth programs such as our Sunday School. Our community center adjoins the church and has housed our business meetings, Sunday School classes, luncheons, festivals, dances and other social events. Over the years, our church has faced many challenges but continues to grow today because we have been fortunate to have the support of so many individuals within our community. It truly has "taken a community to raise a church".
Adaopted in part from "The American Greek Community of Charlottesville, Virginia 1903-1960", M.A. Thesis 1961, Gloria Galban Smith.