PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Rev. John Mamangakis and Dennis Starr from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church recently met with Will Armstead, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County, to donate part of the proceeds from the 38th annual Original Greek Festival, held in Fort Pierce, TC Palm reports.
Church members have put in hundreds of hours over the last 38 years to volunteer their time, energy and cooking skills and talents to showcase their Greek heritage. Due to their efforts, thousands of visitors to the festival are able to enjoy the live Greek music and dancing, authentic Greek foods, and imported Greek wines, beers and other beverages.
For the past two years, BGC members have volunteered at the Greek Festival to bus tables and help in other areas.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SAINT NICHOLAS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
The desire for providing Greek Religious Education and keeping the faith were the inspiration of the first families of the Greek Orthodox Community of Fort Pierce.
The handful of Greek residents back in the late 1950’s were determined to achieve their goals. Monthly informal meetings, socials, picnics and religious hymn singing were very much a part of the community. These informal meetings took place at the old schoolhouse at the corner of Indrio Road and Emerson Road.
Hard benches served as the seats and minutes of the gatherings were taken on a small card table. Very humble beginnings for our community.
Years of dedication, perseverance, enthusiasm, and some disappointments ensued, but the Christian faith never waivered and soon began to intensify. On special occasions, Father Demosthenes Mekras of Miami and Father Stephen Anthony of West Palm Beach would travel to Fort Pierce to offer sacraments, prayers and blessings in the homes of the early members.
In 1961, four leaders of the community gathered and decided, with the consent of all the members, to construct a social hall on Indrio Road. The land was donated and the building was constructed. Strangely enough, the building looked so much like a church that a cross was placed on the top and the miracle of Saint Nicholas was born.
In 1965, the parish received its official charter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. The first priest assigned to serve the fledgling community was Father Constantine Chokanis.
In 1971, with the continued migration of the Greek faithful moving into the area, a more central located was desired.
A larger church (currently our social hall) was erected at our current location. This building served as our house of worship until 1985. The efforts and unending sacrifices of the church leaders and the priest, Father George Mamangakis, led to the construction of our current Church building.
We invite all of our visitors to visit the church during our festival and ask that they pay special attention to the plaque to the left of the entrance, which recognizes the founders of our community. May their memories be eternal.