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Church

Holy Trinity of Holyoke MA Dedicates its Community Center to Former Priest

BOSTON – Holy Trinity of Holyoke, MA has dedicated its community center to its former priest Fr. Harry Voulopas and his presbytera Toula in appreciation of many fruitful years of ministry and service to the community.

Metropolitan Methodios of Boston made a pastoral visit to the Holy Trinity Parish for the auspicious event of the blessing and dedication of the new Father Harry and Presvytera Tula Voulopas Fellowship Hall. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Methodios also elevated Fr. Tom Cokotis to the office of Protopresbyter. In addition, the Metropolitan tonsured five Altar Boys who serve at Holy Trinity and called the parents up to the Solea.

Following the distribution of the antidoron, the Holy Trinity Parish Council and the Philoptochos Society sponsored a Thanksgiving Fish Dinner and presented a special cake in honor of Metropolitan Methodios’ birthday and for the 40th Anniversary of his ordination to the episcopacy. Holy Trinity Parish Council President Mario Bolivar presented His Eminence with a gift to benefit the children and families of ‘The Home for Little Wanders’ and members of the Metropolis family throughout Greater Boston. Holy Trinity Philoptochos President Sharon Konstantinidis presented Metropolitan Methodios with a gift to sponsor Campers to attend the Metropolis of Boston Summer Camp in 2023.

Metropolitan Methodios of Boston dedicated the new community center of the Holy Trinity parish of Holyoke, MA to Fr. Harry and presbytera Toula Voulopas. Shown is Fr. Tomas Cokotis. (Photos provided by the Metropolis of Boston)

The city of Holyoke is about ninety miles west of Boston with a population of 38,000 according to the Census of 2020. From its establishment in 1648 it was called the ‘queen city of paper’.

According to the history of the parish of the Holy Trinity written by Fr. Harry Voulopas, which is posted on its website:

“The Greek Orthodox Community of Holyoke, Massachusetts traces its beginnings back to about the year 1900. By 1905, there were approximately 25 individuals of Greek extraction living and working in the ‘Paper City’. The paper and textile mills which dominated the industrial base of the area required willing hands and strong backs to produce their goods, and the young lads from Hellas were able to fulfill both requirements. A steady influx of immigrants continued to swell the ranks of the Hellenic population, so that by 1910 there were several hundred persons whose native language was Greek residing in Holyoke.

A commemorative photo with Altar Boys and their parents. Shown are Metropolitan Methodios, Fr. Harry Voulopas, and Fr. Thomas Cokotis. (Photos provided by the Metropolis of Boston)

“In those early years, the spiritual needs of our people were usually served by the priests of the Greek Orthodox community of Springfield, Massachusetts. The faithful were compelled to travel the ten-mile distance to Springfield by trolley and then, following the Divine Liturgy, to make the tiring trip back again to their homes in Holyoke. As their numbers grew, however, they began to consider the possibility of holding church services closer to home. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated for the first time in Holyoke in the year 1911. It would not be until 1914, however, that services would be held with some regularity at the Monument National Canadian-Francais Hall, which stood at the corner of Race and Appleton Streets.

“According to the information which is recorded in the archives of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of  Massachusetts, the  Commissioner of  Corporations… granted permission on March 1, 1916 to a group of individuals from Holyoke to form a corporation ‘for the purpose of the erection of a Greek Orthodox church and conducting religious services in accordance with the rules of said church …’”

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