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Three Hierarchs Greek Church Teams with Eateries to Provide Meals for Those in Need

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church in Champaign has teamed with local eateries Merry Ann’s Diner and Sam’s Cafe to provide meals for those in need, WCIA 3 News, the local CBS affiliate, reported on June 23.

Henry Ewing who has been homeless on and off for seven years told WCIA that “it’s a blessing to have food.”

“This was something we ended up doing that not only helped the needy in our community but also two very good stewards of our parish,” Lou Laros, Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Parish Counsel Member told WCIA.

The effort includes volunteers who pick up food from the restaurants and deliver to C-U At Home shelters, WCIA  reported, adding that “they’ve also been giving food to essential workers” and “they served their first meal in late March, around the time coronavirus restrictions began.”

“It’s turned from something very, very small with just a handful of people involved to something that’s been relatively large, and we’ve touched a lot of people,” Laros told WCIA.

About 1,700 meals have been distributed, WCIA reported, noting that “the goal is 2,000.”

Fr. Michael Condis, presiding priest of Three Hierarchs Church told WCIA about the effort to give back, noting that “we’re only doing what we believe our Lord has asked us to do, you know. When I was hungry, you fed me.”

The food nourishes the body while the caring of the community helps nourish the soul. Ewing told WCIA that “it’s pretty rough on these streets, but it’s good to have these guys helping out.”

Fr. Condis told WCIA, “When you can sit and look at each other and talk to each other like people, the barriers are broken. Where there’s love, there’s no violence. There’s no need. There’s always a way for a new beginning.”

“The church plans to keep working with C-U at Home even after they reach their goal of serving 2,000 meals,” WCIA reported.

According to the Three Hierarchs Church website, the parish began in 1952, when Gus Leo Furla convinced others to join in the purchase of a house at the corner of Locust and Green Streets, converting two rooms into a humble chapel for occasional services.

In late 1960, Peter F. Tomaras, John Lessaris, Gus Furla, and George Lessaris pledged significant funds to launch a project to build a real church. In 1961, a brick building was erected at the Locust and Green Street site. With the donations of a holy altar, icons, and other religious necessities, the first floor became the temporary chapel. The basement accommodated frequent church and social functions to raise funds toward the dream of a true Orthodox church. The official charter of the Three Hierarchs Orthodox Church was approved by the Chicago Diocese in 1965. 

In 1970, the Green Street building was sold in order to purchase the Mormon church on 1401 W John Street in Champaign. Over the years, parishioners made this new church as "Byzantine" as possible by donations, all the while paying down the mortgage and keeping alive the dream of building a true Orthodox church. 

In 1983, John Trebellas provided both the leadership and the funds that made the parish's dream a reality. The Byzantine-style church, including a Greek Heritage Center, is located just off Devonshire Drive in south Champaign, near the University of Illinois campus. In the summer of 1985, the first service was celebrated in the new Church, and on October 3, 1999, the Church was consecrated in commemoration of the Three Holy Hierarchs – Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom.

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