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Church

Festivities at St. Spyridon Parish Newport, RI

BOSTON – A festive atmosphere was created at the St. Spyridon parish in Newport, Rhode Island with the visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston who joined Fr. Aaron Walker and the congregants of the parish for the commemoration of the Feast of St. Spyridon. A number of ladies who prepare the prosphora for the Divine Liturgies came forward to receive a special prayer of blessing.

After the Sacred Services which were officiated by Metropolitan Methodios, a reception was hosted by the Parish Council and the Sunday School families. The Protulis Greek School led the community in the singing of Kalanda, or holiday carols. Many children, including the altar servers as well as adult parishioners had the opportunity to speak with His Eminence and receive his blessings.

Metropolitan Methodios of Boston is giving Christmas gifts to the pupils of the Greek School
(Photos Metropolis of Boston)

Protulis Greek School Name

In 2002, a gift of one-million dollars was bequeathed to the community by James Protulis in memory of his parents Efstratios and Arhontoula Protulis and was personally presented to St. Spyridon by his sister Demetra Boulas, where she indicated the bequest was intended to be “visionary and forward looking” for the long-term benefit of the community.

James Protulis grew up in Newport and left to attend MIT at the age of 18. He was active in many Greek-American organizations and shared with his parents, according to his sister, a “staunch belief in the very fiber of our rich heritage and the beautiful traditions of our Greek culture.” In upholding the wishes of the Protulis family, in 2003, the Parish Council and General Assembly voted to honor the late James Protulis by officially naming the Greek School the “Protulis Greek School” and voting to fund the perpetual functioning of the Greek School by hiring and paying for a Greek School teacher directly from the Protulis Fund bequest.

The Establishment of the Newport Community – The First Settlers

By 1896, four Greeks arrived in the city of Newport, all from the island of Skiathos, which lies in the Aegean Sea just east of the city of Volos. Drawn by the lure of the sea, these men saw that they could make a living in Newport’s small but thriving fishing industry. Many Greeks soon followed these earliest Hellenic settlers to Newport. The early settlers in Newport were mainly from the island of Skiathos, though later they were out-numbered by Greeks from the island of Lesbos. The demographic makeup in the community continued to change over the next decade. However, despite the Greeks’ regional differences and preferences, they all identified with the Greek Orthodox Church.

In Newport the Greeks began gathering at the Friends’ Meeting House (now the Community Center) in 1914. The following year they also held services at the United Baptist Church on Spring Street. With some of the community’s younger children attending services and Sunday school at Trinity Church, the oldest Episcopal church in Rhode Island, a friendship between Greeks and Episcopalians ensued, and through the efforts of Stanley C. Hughes, the rector of Trinity, its Kay Chapel was made available to the Greeks and became their principal place of worship until they purchased a church of their own in 1924.

Meanwhile the Newport Greeks elected a parish council for the purpose of incorporation, and on September 14, 1915, the state granted them a charter empowering them, as the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Newport, RI, to organize and maintain a church under the aegis of the Holy Synod of Greece.

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