A Brief History

In 1906 the one thousand Greek residents of Montreal constituted themselves into an organised Community and bought a property at 735 St-Laurent Street for the purpose of erecting a church. They then applied to the Holy Synod of Greece for a priest and on October 25, 1906, Fr. Agathodoros Papageorgopoulos arrived in Montreal: the first priest and spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Community of Montreal.

From 1906 to 1910, not having yet built on their newly purchased property, Greek people of Montreal used for their worship services and spiritual gatherings a hall located at the corner of Notre Dame and Inspector Streets, and later a hall on the second floor on the northeast corner of St. Catherine and St. Alexander Streets. In the meantime, Fr. Papageorgopoulos toured various cities in Canada soliciting donations for a Church that was to be built in Montreal, and together with a Church Committee made plans for the building of a Church. The cornerstone for this, the first Greek Orthodox Church to be built in Canada, was laid on May 5, 1910 at 753 St-Laurent Street. Seven months later, on December 10th of the same year, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated for the first time in the Church “Evangelismos” (Annunciation).

The ties of an immigrant people with their mother land are not readily severed. This is particularly true of the Greeks living in Montreal to the political upheavals in Greece during the nineteen twenties’ offers an excellent case in point. By 1925 the Greek Community of Montreal was rent by the same political partisanship which had divided the Greek Nation. The result was the organization of a second Greek Orthodox Community in Montreal. In September 1925, this Community purchased a church building and parish house from the First Methodist Church, located on the southeast corner of Sherbrooke and Clark Streets, just two city blocks away from the Evangelismos church. These buildings were converted into the “Socrates Anglo-Greek School Inc.” at 6 Sherbrooke St. West, chartered on July 16, 1925, and the “Holy Trinity Greek-Orthodox Church” at 8 Sherbrooke St. West, chartered on September 12, 1925. On September 14, 1925, on the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, Right Rev. Joakim, Bishop of Boston, celebrated the first Divine Liturgy in the newly acquired Church. Fr. Arsenios Pallikaris was the first priest of the Holy Trinity Church.

The financial crisis, however, which resulted from the 1929 “Crash” of the Stock Market and which brought lean years for most of the world, did not spare the Greek Community of Montreal, which was not strong enough either in membership or financial output to sustain two churches and two parochial schools. As a result, on December 3rd 1931 the two congregations reached an agreement for unification. Evangelismos Church and the building of Platon school were later sold to a Hungarian Roman Catholic Congregation and the Holy Trinity Church and Socrates school were retained. On June 1, 1941, Holy Trinity Church was officially consecrated by Archbishop Athenagoras. The only Church of the Greeks of Montreal for 46 years, Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire on January 16, 1986.