BROOKVILLE, NY – With the ecclesiastical order, devotion, and the participation of many of the faithful, the consecration of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Resurrection, in Brookville, took place on Sunday, November 12.
The consecration ceremony and the Divine Liturgy were presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, assisted by the Bishop Sevastiano of Zilon, the presiding priest of the community Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas, Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos, Deacon Eleftherios Constantine and priests from the surrounding area including Fr. John Vlahos, Dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity who had previously served at Holy Resurrection, and Fr. George Anastasiou of the Holy Transfiguration Church in Corona.
Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas told The National Herald that “it was a sacred and historic day, many people waited for it with longing and many worked intensely for it.”
Fr. Andreas was also elevated to the status of Protopresbyter on Sunday. The clerical rank is a title of honor given to non-monastic priests. When Fr. Andreas was assigned to Holy Resurrection Church he noted that he, his wife Presvytera Anthoula and their sons Nikolas and Petros “cannot help but feel like we are returning home.” He grew up in nearby Manhasset and “My parents Nicholas and Panagiota instilled in us love for our Greek Orthodox heritage, culture, traditions, and religion. It is where I developed my ‘calling’ to the priesthood, my deep love for the Church and the desire to one day devout my life to the ministry,” as he wrote on the church website.
Fr. Andreas was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the Church of the Holy Resurrection on July 1, 2007 by then Bishop Savas, now the Metropolitan of Pittsburgh. The late Reverend Father Emmanuel Gratsias, of blessed memory, or Father Manny, as he was known to his parishioners, and founding priest of the community, was among those present at the ordination, Fr. Andreas noted.
Fr. Manny was then suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer, “He knew that he had limited time to live and would not be able to see his vision come to fruition. However, I will never forget with what joy and enthusiasm he welcomed and embraced me and my family. In spite of his illness he welcomed us and sacrificed his own feelings for the good of the church. He could have easily said he was too sick and he would have had all the reasons not to host my ordination.”
He continued, “I do not believe Father Manny thought my ordination here at Holy Resurrection was coincidental. God’s plan, which was hidden at the time, has now come full circle and is being revealed today. I believe God had a plan for me to one day come back and serve this great community of Holy Resurrection.”
“Father Manny had a tremendous vision for this community and I am humbled and honored to continue his legacy. I would be remiss if I did not thank my predecessor Father John Vlahos who was called to serve this community at a very difficult time with the loss of Father Manny. He was able to resurrect the vision of Father Manny and prepare the groundwork for the next generation of faithful. Father John has always been an inspiration to me as a clergyman and I ask him to keep me in his prayers. I am certain with the prayers of both these exemplary clergymen and all of yours, our Lord Jesus Christ will strengthen and guide me to serve His church for future generations of Orthodox Christians to come,” Fr. Andreas concluded in his message on the church website.
The parish was established in 1976 to minister to the Greek Orthodox Christians of the North Shore. Until 1981, the parish held services at the Methodist Church of Glen Cove. In 1981, the community moved to Glen Cove, which served as our home until 2005, when they moved to the current facility. Founding pastor, Fr. Emmanuel Gratsias, led the parish from its inception until October of 2007 when he fell asleep in the Lord.
On May 15, 2005, Archbishop Demetrios celebrated the Thyranixia of the church. The parish is home to over 375 families, with a Church School enrollment of 130 children. Eleven organizations serve various religious, philanthropic, educational, and cultural needs. The community continues to grow each year.