LOWELL, MA – Former Massachusetts State Senator Steve Panagiotakos, on a recent walk in the old Greek-American neighborhood of Acre in Lowell, and told the story of the vibrant life his fellow Greeks brought to the area, the Lowell Sun reported.
The tour reflected on a past gone by, most of the old buildings now gone for nearly a century, the Sun reported, even as the memories remain and Panagiotakos brings them to life.
“You would hear a foreign language, see foreign lettering and women dressed in black,” the former senator said, the Sun reported.
As the Sun wrote, “during a brief stop at Ymittos Candles on Dutton Street, proprietor Daniella Papanastassiou poked her head out the door to greet the walkers and tell the story of her company, which was founded in 1910 and continues to produce candles the old-fashioned way — without automated machinery. A large part of her business is supplying candles to churches throughout the country, and it requires labor-intensive work on candles of varying sizes and differing liturgical purposes.”
The tour culminated with a visit to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, which is over a hundred years old. At that point, Panagiotakos explained the history of why there were once four Greek churches within a short promixity: “Political and religious divisions in Greece spread to the streets of Lowell,” he said, the Sun reported, because of a divided following, of the patriarch of Constantinople or the one of Athens, and which calendar – Julian or Gregorian – to follow.
The divisions were followed “with lawsuits and pistol shots,” said Panagiotakos with a sly wink, the Sun wrote.