Our Parish History
The Beginning of our St. Demetrios Community.
The first home of our St. Demetrios Community came to pass when the First Christian Church on Second Avenue went up for sale in 1947. Knowing that this was a perfect opportunity for our community Gus Papadeas and Chris Boukidis made a deposit of $250 on this property. Later that day a meeting was called with the Tucson AHEPA Chapter and soon after they started a pledge drive to purchase this property. Three months later an additional $10,000 was raised leaving a balance of approximately $8,000 to be paid off with monthly payments. With the incorporation of the St. Demetrios Hellenic Foundation the dream of a Hellenic Orthodox Church became a reality. The original home of our St. Demetrios home still exists today and has not changed since we purchased the building in 1947.
The name Demetrios was chosen for the foundation and the name of the Church in memory of two AHEPANs Demosthenes (Demetrios) Petropoulos and Demetrios Panas. Both were killed in action during the Second World War Since 1947, only itinerant Priests had held services at St. Demetrios Church. They were: Rev Jeronym Koutroulos,of Phoenix, Rev. Andreadis, Rev. George Samaras, and Rev. Matthopoulos.
In the Spring of 1951, Church leaders met with the District Bishop, His Grace Athenagoras of San Francisco and discussed the feasibility of having a permanent Priest assigned to our Tucson Parish. Rev. Anthony Sipsas became the first Parish Priest of St. Demetrios marking the beginning of our 25-year history.
In 1955 the AHEPA Chapter purchased a piece of land on Ft Lowell Road and donated it to the St. Demetrios Hellenic Foundation for the purpose of building a new Church.
In 1957 the cornerstone of the Tucson Hellenic Center was laid on the Ft Lowell property. In 1964 Archbishop Iakovos visited Tucson and discussed the proposed plans for a new Church. The cornerstone of the new Church was laid in 1967. The Church was built within one year and in 1968 Archbishop Iakovos consecrated the new St. Demetrios Church.
Since its inception our Parish has grown significantly. It continues to strive to bear more effective witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as expressed in the apostolic tradition and worship of the Greek Orthodox Church.
We moved to our new location on North Alvernon Way during August 2022. We invite you to participate in the witness of our new Church by joining the worship and fellowship of our Parish.
To be continued....