St. Dimitrie Orthodox Church
504 Sport Hill Rd. Easton, CT 06612
/ About / Church History
At the Beginning
Our Founding - 1924

By the turn of this century a small number of Macedo-Romans had settled in the City of Bridgeport, attracted by the many job opportunities offered by its industries.  The group was small and predominately male, those who had come to make their fortune and return.  Their general youth, small numbers, financial status and attitude against permanent immigration combined to prevent more than a loose connection among them. 

The deterioration of the Turkish Empire, the Balkan wars and later the First World War led many of our forefathers to reevaluate their positions here.  Many of those that were here summoned their wives, children and relatives while others came here at the time of the migrations of hundreds of thousands of Macedo-Romans to Romania.

By 1924, the need for a religious and cultural center was obvious.  The leaders of the community decided to undertake steps to found an organization to serve its needs.  On March 24, 1924, the official incorporation of the church corporation took place under the name of the Cultural Society of St. Vasile and today’s church came into being.  There were 24 members of the organization in its first year of existence – Miltiade Babiana, Dimitrie Balamaci, Pulia Cocia, Cociu Cresu, Ahileia Cuscona, Hrista Dimitrescu, Hrista Fatse, Miha Fatse, Theordore Giambazi, Ioan Ghianuly, Haralambie Nastu, Miha Nastu, Petra Nastu, Vanghele Nastu, Zica Nastu, Vasile Nicola, Hrista Pippa, Tom Pittu, Spiro Pittu, Ianuli Puci, Dimitrie Sheri, Ianuli Shimu and Cociu Sramusteanu.  Each paid $1.75 to the new organization as membership dues.

Dimitrie Balamaci Elected First President

The first President of St. Vasile was Dimitrie Balamaci who served in that office from 1924 to 1926.  He was succeeded by Spiro Pittu who served until 1932.  During this critical period steps were taken to expand membership and strengthen the organization.  Dues were raised to $6.00 per year in 1925 and new members added.

Having no church or priest, the members attended weekly religious services at both the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches then established in Bridgeport.  However, close contact was maintained with the Macedo-Roman community in Woonsocket, Rhode Island which already had a church and priest.  When any local member required religious services for a wedding, baptism or burial the call went out to Woonsocket, R.I. for its priest, Father Moloci.  Despite what was then a long and arduous trip, Father Moloci provided his spiritual services when requested. 

The church community struggled on until 1928 when its most critical need – a parish priest – was provided.  The first parish priest was Father John Popescu, a Macedo-Roman who later dedicated his life to the parish in Woonsocket where he resided until his death.  He was ordained in 1928 and arrived in Bridgeport in time to celebrate Easter Services that year.  By the time he arrived the church had changed its name – St. James Romanian Orthodox Church – having officially amended it Charter on February 22, 1928.

Temporary services were held in a building located at the corner of State Street and Hancock Avenue in the West End of Bridgeport where most of the Macedo-Roman community resided.  The first floor of the building had been the former religious home of the Hungarian Reformed Church and was somewhat suitable to the community’s needs.  St. James was allowed to use the premises only on Sunday mornings but it provided a place for the religious community to gather for services in its native tongue.

The search for a permanent church site now intensified.  Diligent effort was made throughout the spring and summer of 1928 which proved successful.  A suitable site was located in July of 1928 at 150 Lee Avenue, Bridgeport.  The site was located in the heart of the Macedo-Roman settlement in the West End and accessible to all.  It was owned by The North Star Building Association, an organization comprised primarily of Swedish Americans.

First Church Building Purchased


Discovery of a possible home touched off a flurry of activity in the community.  Meetings were held at the home of the then president, Spiro Pittu, to discuss financing and other aspect of the purchase.  Finally, on September 14, 1928 transfer of the property was completed and St. James had a permanent home on a 40 x 100 lot.

The dedication and sacrifice of the Church member of 1928 should always be remembered. They willingly assumed substantial financial burdens to build a religious foundation for their children and grandchildren.  In addition to the cash money paid the North Star Building Association, the church corporation assumed approximately $5,000.00 in mortgages to the West Side Bank and borrowed an additional $2,000.00 from the sellers.  In order to pay these encumbrances, each member was assessed the sum of $150.00 payable at the rate of $5.00 per month, a large sum considering the average earnings of that period.  Members further volunteered their time and goods to the alteration of the building for use as an Orthodox Church. Tusha Chiacu provided much of the carpentry work in the interior and others donated icons, pews, and religious artifacts.

Having become settled, the church sought to strengthen its relationship with Father Popescu.  He was formally signed to a one year contract as parish priest in October of 1928 at a salary of 125.00 per month.

Though 1928 was admittedly one of the most active and demanding years in the Church’s history, it did not prevent the community from expressing itself artistically.  On July 23, 1928 the play “Golfu” was presented by an ambitious group of church thespians under the guidance of Director Michael Costulas.  It served as the forerunner of future church presentations.

As 1929 dawned, St. James had grown from a dream and a prayer into a full grown reality.  Yet the members did not rest after the great effort of the previous year but, rather, forged ahead.  On February 3, 1929, new provisional by-laws were adopted which expanded the size of the governing church body from three to eleven officials and established many of the procedural regulations still followed today.  Pandu Sota was elected as the first paid cantor receiving the sum of $5.00 per month.  Nuli Shimu was elected cantor on the left side.  On August 25, 1929, the first church picnic was held featuring “Pulia cu garnet” and Nuli Shimu with his mandolin.

Father Hrista Vasilescu Installed As Our Priest

On September 8, 1929, Father Popescu advised the General Assembly officially of his intention to resign his post as parish priest.  Discussion concerning a successor ensued and Father Popescu suggested his replacement be a Macedo-Roman.  The name of Father Hrista Vasilescu was proposed.  On October 1, 1929, the newly ordained Father Vasilescu was hired as parish priest, a post he held for more than 30 years providing leadership and spiritual guidance to the community.

The year 1929 also saw the organization of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in Detroit, Michigan in a Church Congress convened in April.

The year 1930 opened the decade of the Great Depression, but it proved to be a year during which the parishioners demonstrated an enormous amount of generosity.  Donations of both practical and decorative gifts completed much of the new church building.  Chandeliers were donated by Christy M. Fatse, Louis Cipu and a Frenchman named Deu La Faciu.  The baptismal font was given by Cociu Docu.  Gifts also came from Spiro Pittu (incense burner), Spiro Vasilescu (candle stand) and Constantine Jangely (the large icon of Constantine and Elena).  One gift, the church bell, later involved in the “Miracle of St. Dimitrie”, came to the parish as a result of the generosity of Maria G. Nicola.

The total gross income of St. James was $4,253.00 and its total expenses $3,809.00; a figure which today would probably be insufficient to pay the parish’s utility charges.  Included in the income was almost $1,000.00 from the auctioning of the icons, a tradition which is no longer in practice today.

On July 4, 1932, members of the community participated in the Festival of Nations – they appeared in native Macedo-Roman costume under the direction of Nuli Shimu.  During the year Father Vasilescu voluntarily cut his pay because of the bleak economic circumstances.  In November, the church held its first Christmas pageant.  A buffet dinner in the church hall was held, the admission fee being $.25 for men and $.15 for women.

Ladies Auxiliary Founded


The parish women founded the Ladies Auxiliary, whose contributions to our church are set forth later. A parish baseball team was also officially formed. The St. James athletes were managed by Vasile Nicola. Father Vasilescu further reduced his salary and voluntarily undertook the enormous task of setting up a Romanian School.

Reciprocal membership privileges were established between the Romanian Orthodox parishes in Bridgeport and Woonsocket in 1934. The Greek and Russian churches in our city joined with St. James to establish a fixed fee schedule for religious services that was available to members of all three communities.

George Cashavelly held the post of parish President in 1935, having succeeded Spiro Pittu, who held the position eight of the nine previous years. That same year, Nonda Vasilescu assumed duties as one of the church’s cantors, a position he would hold for decades. On August 4, 1935, the play, Spinterea, was presented. On October 6, St. James was officially consecrated by His Grace, Bishop Policorp Morusca, who came to Bridgeport on his first canonical visit after his own consecration on March 24, 1935. A banquet followed at Rakoczy Hall, where the parishioners contributed the sum of $104 to the church.

There was a move in 1936 to change the name of the church to St. Dimitrie, and while many may have used the Macedo-Romanian derivative, it would not become official for another 22 years. The First Episcopate Congress was held in Cleveland and was attended by the parish priest. Later that year, the General Assembly officially adopted the Episcopate By-Laws. In 1937, the Romanian Mutual Society was formed by a group of church members.

The balance of the decade passed quietly until the opening of hostilities in Europe in late 1939, which ushered in a trying period for the community. The first fears were for relatives in Europe, but soon the anxiety struck closer to home as the bombing of Pearl Harbor signaled the start of the exodus of the young men of the community to fight for our country. Those at home coped as best they could. Special services were held for the servicemen. In 1942, the community sent a letter to Washington, D.C., proclaiming its loyalty to America and democracy. All ties with Romania were denounced until it had its freedom. On October 28, 1945, the church held an eighteenth-anniversary dinner to acknowledge the end of the war and the return of its young men.

Bishop Valerian's First Visit

With the return of the combatants the church returned to normalcy and once again commenced its development. April 20, 1946 saw the first performance of the church choir, under Professor Vamasescu. The parish looked to the future, and as early as 1948, members were proposing alternative sites for the possible construction of a new church building. That same year, the church, in conjunction with the American- Romanian Social Club, expanded its athletic program, and began sponsoring basketball and bowling teams.

In 1951, Bishop Valerian Trifa became religious leader of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of North America. Two years later, on November 18, 1953, His Grace visited the parish, the first visit by a Bishop to the church in 15 years. The year proved to be an exceptionally fruitful one for the church. The first group of young women from the parish were sent to the Vatra Camp created by Bishop Valerian, and they returned with the knowledge and enthusiasm that led to the founding of the church Sunday School. This, in turn, gave birth to the Parent Teachers Association, an organization much like its public school counterpart. Young men were sent to Altar Boy Camp for the first time.

That same year, the Church went into the real estate business with the purchase of a multiple dwelling that was located next to the church building. The building, at 142-144 Lee Avenue, was transferred to the church corporation on September 9, 1953. A committee was formed to manage the property.

On September 27, 1953, the Church Council created a 16-man committee to investigate the purchase of 579 Clinton Avenue. The location had been discovered earlier, and deemed suitable to the community’s needs.

Miracle of the Bell

The following year was highlighted by two memorable events—the founding of the church youth group Mac- AROY, and the “Miracle of the Bell.”

In the early morning of Easter Sunday, 1954, a phenomenon occurred at the church on Lee Avenue that has not been explained to this date. It was the traditional Resurrection services and most of the congregation was outside participating in the service with Father Vasilescu. Only the choir, some 40 strong, remained within the church. At approximately 12:10, Vasile Fatsi rang the church bell in accordance with the instructions of the priest. He then sat down. Father Vasilescu continued the service outside.

When he chanted, “Christ is Risen,” the bell pealed several times again. It wasn’t until the next day that it became known that no person had rung the bell—but the bell mechanism was cumbersome and required a great deal of pull to set it into operation, and the pealing could not be attributed to accident. Why the bell rang will never be known, and the whole event is best summed up in the words of Father Vasilescu: “I can’t explain, I can only accept.”

Activities in and about the church building continued. In 1954, the hall was remodeled, and the next year saw the exterior of the church receive a coat of paint. In early 1955, the General Assembly authorized the purchase of the building and land at 579 Clinton Avenue.

The three years that followed did not have a great deal of activity regarding the construction of the new church. In November of 1956, new by-laws were approved by the General Assembly. In the next year, Mac-AROY donated funds and time, and the members were able to paint the church in preparation for the AROY National Convention to be held in Bridgeport.

In February 17, 1957, the Church committee approved an effort to raise needed funds—the church’s first car raffle. Approximately one month later, on March 11, Princess Ileana of Romania came to Bridgeport to visit our church and to meet with the Women’s Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches.



Church Fire in 1958

The year 1958 proved to be one of sorrow and tragedy for the church community, but from the ashes arose a new will and desire that would culminate in the dedication of a magnificent new house of worship in less than four years.

On August 10, 1958, the church building that had served the community for almost 30 years was destroyed by fire. But the parishioners would not wallow in self-pity. Exactly two weeks after the fire, the General Assembly approved a $200,000.00 building fund drive, an ambitious undertaking for a small parish. On September 18, the sum of $4,500 was appropriated to rebuild and convert the former basement hall at 150 Lee Avenue into temporary religious quarters. On September 21, 1958, the parishioners officially authorized the change  of the church corporation’s name from St. James to St. Dimitrie.

Progress continued at a blinding pace. During October, Deacon John Shunda became Father Vasilescu’s religious assistant. The church also purchased another parcel of land on Clinton Avenue for $7,500, which was necessary to complete a rectangular parcel for construction. Design of the church and hall was awarded to the architectural firm of Reisner and Diamond, who commenced work immediately on a building plan that would conform to the site, provide aesthetic beauty and satisfy the community’s religious and social needs.

On November 11, 1958, a kick-off dinner for the building fund was held. The importance of the occasion was heralded by the presence of His Grace, Bishop Valerian. Donations and pledges of money to fund both the construction and furnishing the interior of the church came from most parishioners, and the success of the drive amazed the community. The pledge of each member was set forth in the commemorative book that was part of the church dedication ceremonies in 1962, and while space does not permit further acknowledgment of individual contributions here, suffice it to say that without these substantial donations, the Church could not have been built.


Three Honorary Members Named

The generosity of people outside the Bridgeport community further spurred the effort. The community gave special recognition to three of the donors and bestowed upon them life membership in the church. The three were Theodore Tonna, of Worcester, Massachusetts; Elia Caleshu of Long Branch, New Jersey, and Costa Bebe of Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

The Berkshire Construction Company was selected to build the church and hall. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place in 1959, and construction began. During March of that year, a fundraising Minstrel, under the direction of Michael Shola, was held at the Bassick High School auditorium. On June 28, 1959, Father John Shunda was elected parish priest to succeed Father Vasilescu, who retired after 30 years of service.

In early June 1968 Father Shunda resigned as parish priest and the community undertook a search for a new spiritual leader. The call was answered by father Stephen Feica who arrived in Bridgeport on February 2, 1963 with his wife and four children. One of his first official religious services heralded a sad occasion for the community, the death of their beloved father Vasilescu. Father Keyhayes and Father Feica presided over the funeral services on February 16, 1963.

Our new priest immediately settled into his new role and within a month of his arrival published the first Sunday bulletin, which was designed to keep parishioners aware of events and happening within the community. The weekly bulletin was well accepted by the parishioners and has continued to date. Father Feica also started adult religious classes and the preoteasa established classes for the women in such things as Easter egg decorating, sewing and cooking.


Choir Visits Vatra

The following year, 1964 proved to be an active one for the church. The National AROY Convention was again held in Bridgeport utilizing our new parish hall. The choir also had the distinction of making a trip to the Vatra. Church representatives attended on October 17, 1964 the dedication of the new education building at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York (St. Dimitrie’s had generously donated funds for the construction of the building. Father Feica was sent as the church’s representative to the 50th Anniversary celebration for the parish in Akron, Ohio.)

A variety of improvements were made to the church properties in 1964. Two icons from the old church were restored and installed in our new religious home. A cantor’s stand and cross were purchased with monies from the Father Vasilescu Memorial Fund. Externally, lights were installed around the church to accentuate its beauty. The hall also received its share of attention. A glass-enclosed bulletin board was completed and installed. The kitchen received a set of enclosures designed to close it off from the hall proper. Draw drapes were hung on the windows in the rear of the hall.

The interior of the church was not yet finished and plans were made in 1965 to complete the iconastasis. The hand carved cantor’s stand, Bishop’s throne and vigil light were done by our own master craftsman, Tusa Caranica. Artists were commissioned and in a short while the work was completed. The church committee also authorized use of the hall on Friday night by the parish teenagers. The project was officially dubbed “Teenage Recreation Night” and conducted under the supervision of a designated chaperone and the parish priest. Two ping-pong tables purchased earlier in the year were utilized.

New Parish House - 1967

By 1967 the need for a parish home for the priest became apparent. The search was conducted in the vicinity of the church but the only suitable quarters available proved to be a one family dwelling at 42 Merchant Street some distance from the church. The house was purchased that same year and the Feica family moved in. The year before had seen the founding of the Sportsmen Club.

In 1969 the Deacon Nicholas Cracin became assistant parish priest. On May 17, Bishop Valerian visited the parish and met with the Church council in a general review of affairs.

The first four years of this decade have been active ones. Deacon Laurence Lazar aided the parish priest with services in 1972 and also supervised the Sunday School Program. The burning of the mortgage took place in 1973. Improvements were also made to both the interior and exterior of the church. Externally, a beautiful steel and brick columned fence was erected around the church grounds. Completed in 1973, the fence provides the protection for which it was originally sought yet does not distract from the aesthetic value of the church buildings. Internally, the dome of the church was completed, the paintings being donated through the generosity of the Ladies’ Auxiliary. The chandelier was also purchased and installed, the result of an effort and kindness of Theodore Tonna. A new Epitafil, a gift from father Vasilescu Memorial Fund, will soon grace our religious home.



Chandelier and Dome Completed


In 1973, our dome was completed with the icon of Christ “Pantocrater” and the adjoining icons by Fr. Felix Dubneac. The church was occupied by a massive scaffolding for months. Fr. Felix together with our new “sculptor in residence” Tusha Caranica already advanced in age would climb to the top together to assay the work. Finally, the large crystal chandelier obtained through the generosity of Mr. And Mrs. Theodore Tonna far over $10,000 was installed and chosen by President George C. Fatsy and committee. Our church home was now complete. The cost of the iconography was generously donated by the Ladies’ Auxiliary. February 1973 saw the official turning on the chandelier and its dedication in the presence of the Tonna family.

It was also in 1973 that Fr. Feica was voted in again as parish priest until his retirement in 1979.


Fr. Vasilescu Epitafil

A beautiful hand carved Epitaf (Tomb of Christ) was purchased in 1974 by the Vasilescu family in memory of Fr. Hrista Vasilescu, our pastor for over 30 years who baptized, married and buried so many parishioners. It is still used every Good Friday and is still a beautiful tribute. It was in this decade, also, that the giving out of red eggs for the Resurrection became firmly established.

Building Fund

Our community doctor, Nicholas Sholler, was honored with a dinner and “roast” in 1974 for all of his work and devotion for the church and community. He was presented with a beautiful portrait in oil.

Having completed its work the “building fund committee” was dissolved in mid-decade. In these days our annual budget was a “whopping” $30,000 as compared to our budget of $250,000+ in the ‘90’s. There are just too many names to list from the hard- working committee, but there are certain men that have to be mentioned such as Tom Tanase, Tom Lambro, Charles Vangel, Nick Nicola and Tom Dumitrie.

The St. Dimitrie Day banquet was still only $5.00 per adult and $2.50 for 16 and under for a full course meal. And yet, with these meager finances, the parish house next was purchased in 1976 by 18 members lending $1,000 each for a down payment and guarantee for a bank mortgage.

Our 50th Anniversary

It was October 1974 on St. Dimitrie’s Day that our parish’s 50th anniversary was celebrated with a formal dinner at Mary Journey’s Inn. Archbishop Valerian was in attendance the whole weekend and it was a glorious celebration. The Epitaf was formally blessed with Prifteasa Vasilescu attending the emotional event. Prifteasa and family also donated the cantor’s stand area (the strana) and the cross on the altar. A memorial service was held for all of the founders, priests, prifteasa, and parishioners who had departed. (May their memories be eternal!) All the beautiful plants used for decoration were brought to the shut-ins who couldn’t participate in the gala celebration.

The 50th anniversary banquet and program brought in. $8,500.

The meeting room in the parish home was furnished by the Seferi family and named Clanthi Seferi room in her memory, together with the table used in the center of the church.



Spiritual Retreat Weekend

President Peter Costulas made the arrangements to invite Mother Alexandra (the former Princess Ileana of Romania) from the Ellwood City Monastery to speak as part of our spiritual edification. A very large gathering of our parishioners participated and is still fondly remembered by those in attendance. For many it was the first time they had seen an Orthodox nun!

The BiCentennial - 1976

Women Members of the Parish

In 1975 a momentous decision was made to allow women to be separate members of the parish with full rights of membership rather than as a family unit. (It sounds rather “male chauvinist” now, but traditionally the women joined the Ladies’ Auxiliary and the men the Parish Council and the whole family unit enjoyed the privileges of membership.) many of the women objected, but it carried a majority vote (of men.)


Tonna Testimonial

In January 1976, a festive Testimonial Dinner was given by the church to honor our major benefactor and supporter who made possible so much of what we have, Theodore Tonna. A beautiful brochure was distributed with Mr. Tonna’s likeness and events of his life to keep as a remembrance of this “Horatio Alger” of the Macedo-Romanians. Archbishop Valerian was also in attendance for this major benefactor of the Episcopate, as well. His Eminence came cheerfully to our parishes in spite pf some danger to himself because of all the adverse publicity to his person that was taking place at this time.

It was the same year that the Merchant Street rectory was sold relieving us of a considerable financial burden. At the end of the year our budget had reached $40,000.


America’s Birthday

This year, of course, would be a very special year for our whole beloved country since it was the Bicentennial (200 years) of the founding of the United States. The church sponsored a special dance in honor of the Bicentennial and our parish’s 14th anniversary in our new church. The donation was an unbelievable $5.00 for dinner and dancing. The hall was decorated in red, white and blue and looked very patriotic. At the same time the drawing for the Cadillac raffle took place that brought $9,000 to the church.

Archbishop Valerian had a special dream for many years for the preservation of our heritage. His special project was to become the Romanian Heritage Center at the Vatra. Mr. Tonna was one of the first supporters with a $10,000 bequest. He became one of the Board of Directors and Mrs. Tonna still remains in his stead.


Social Times

There were many dances, raffles, picnics and dinners held throughout these years for the benefit of the parish’s upkeep, which was becoming more and more costly. And with all these events our parishioners were enjoying themselves immensely in a social setting.

Fr. Feica’s daughter, Diane, with Peter Costulas had arranged a “Cabaret” musical evening of entertainment with some of our local reminiscent of the old minstrel shows directed by Mike Shola.

The St. Dimitrie Day Dinner of 1977 will be remembered as a “classic.” Naum Colimitra of New York joined our “folk singers” from Bridgeport: Christy M. Fatse, Margarit Ghitsa and Andrei Rigea to entertain us in a program of old time Macedo- Romanian songs. What an event – they rocked the house and the applause was deafening! (All these wonderful men are now gone.)

Fr. Feica celebrated 25 years of ordination and would be honored at a later date because of his heart attack.

The Ping-Pong Club was reactivated, meeting on Friday nights in the Church hall with a good turnout and special events with their wives.



Bridgeport Post Newspaper Series

The local newspaper, The Bridgeport Post ran an extensive series of full-page articles on the ethnic groups that make up our city. Our community was greatly favored with 2 weeks coverage that shows what an impact our relatively small group makes.

St Dimitrie Dinner - 1978

The St. Dimitrie Day Dinner of 1978 had another Cadillac raffle chaired again by our ubiquitous “raffle- teer” John Bileca with a profit of $11,000. Honorable mention was given to Peter Pucci at this time who had been maintaining our church grounds and odd jobs man without any renumeration for many years and finally retired in 1984. Another invaluable worker for the church was Christy Fatsy.

In 1979, Dr. Sholler, who had retired from his medical practice but not from his church involvement formed a fund-raising committee for purchase of other property and for upkeep of the facilities.


Change of Leadership

Fr. Feica had suffered a debilitating heart attack in 1978 that forced him to retire. The search for a new priest didn’t look very promising until a young chaplain in the Army chose to retire from the military to begin a parish life. And, so Fr. Nicholas Craciun was installed as our new pastor in January 1979. He brought new hope and energy to the parish for a bright future and inspired many, but unfortunately his tenure was short-lived.



Dr. Sholler had been petitioning the parish council to organize a Retiree’s group but nothing came of it. With Dr. Nick’s impetus, the Seniors group was organized, meeting on Thursdays and still functions to this day. Through all the years they have worked diligently and contributed labor and finances in excess of $30,000 to the church. Now in their golden years they still help at various functions, but obviously enjoy their social life together even more.


Tonna Hall

In September 1979, the name of the parish hall was officially changed to the “Theodore Tonna Center” in honor of our major benefactor.

An ambitious redevelopment and restoration project was undertaken for the building. New roofs, pavements, painting and other major work were completed for a cost of $66,000.


Sam Giavara Establishes the Endowment Fund

The decade of the ‘80’s begins with Fr. Jonathan Mayo, a young convert from St. Vladimir’s as our interim priest until a new pastor could be found.

The Century Club had been started as a precursor to the endowment fund but it lapsed when its purpose was accomplished.

The Endowment Fund was firmly established in 1980 as a permanent fund for our future maintenance of our church to be kept in perpetuity. Sutiri (Sam) Giavara began the action by bringing the parish council the idea and pledged $10,000 to kick it off. Theodore Tonna had pledged to match the three highest donations and so the Fatse brothers; Nicholas and George P. came forward with $10,000 each. Immediately we went from zero to $60,000 in no time at all. All the other parishioners donating to the original fund are honored with a plaque in the vestibule for bringing the total to $120,000, a princely sum.

The Memorial Fund has been combined with the Endowment so that memorial donations could be made directly and the loved ones are memorialized in a glass enclosed, leather bound “book of life” opened to a particular page on the anniversary of repose. Sam has been chairman for many years with Nick Fatse, Bob Nicola and Bill Balamaci assuming the responsibility and overseeing the fund, which now totals $405,000.



New Parish Priest and Bishop

New hope came to the parish in June 1980 with the arrival of our new permanent parish priest, Fr. Dimitrie Tatalescu who came with his family from Romania. Again, he was a bright young man with real energy but limited in his fluency in English who learned quickly and stayed with us 10 years. He had understudied Fr. Hategan in Cleveland so he came with excellent credentials. He too invigorated our church school and the parish and taught us much in the understanding of our faith. He became advisor to the Pan Orthodox Clergy Association.

At this time the parish donated $500 to the Vatra dormitory fund where so many of our youth enjoyed their summer camps.

In September 1980, a special general assembly was convened to vote for an auxiliary bishop for our episcopate. Our delegates carried our unanimous decision to the Cleveland gathering that chose to elevate Fr. Nathaniel Popp to the dignity of bishop.

In this same year our parish house was officially dedicated to the memory of Fr. Vasilescu with a permanent plaque placed at the doorway.

In 1981 a new project was undertaken by the parish council - the weekly Fish Fry that was popular but, unfortunately, ended within the year.




In the fall of 1981, an event that would prove to have a profound and lasting influence and effect on our church’s financial health in promoting her projects and, especially, in interacting with the general community even to this very day took place. It was a one and a half day affair chaired by Bob Nicola and Bill Balamaci that first year. The Harvest Festival, as it was called, featured our ethnic foods, pastries and crafts. The responsibilities overall always fall to the chairpersons who oversee everything in detail. The expertise and culinary talents of the ladies was the mainstay under the able guidance of “captain” Helen Vangel, who directed the work crews. She passed the mantel to Marian Coca, Peter Shanazu and Tom Muzea (who still handles all the church dinners.) Another person indispensable to these kitchen crews until today is Vichia Fatsy.

That first small affair brought in a total of $8,000. In 1982, more people got involved as the word spread of our cooking, the affair grew to gross $27,000 annually.

Today the Festival is our major witness to the greater Bridgeport community of our faith and ethnicity. We have tours of our church and explanations of our faith and religious materials in addition to the preservation of our ethnic heritage and foods.

Each chairperson has done a wonderful job growing the Festival and each year it becomes bigger and better. The past four years, under the guidance of Florence Costulas and Gina Cook the Festival has been fine-tuned to the point that the festival brings over $46,000 and the church realizes over $35,000 net annually to help our operations. The sponsors give a major boost to the success of the festival, this year contributing $14,000 through the efforts of Peter Costulas and Andrei Colimitra.

It has become one of our main supports in addition to our stewardship dues and donations. But more than this, it brings us together in a spirit of brotherly love to work for the Lord’s Holy Church and together with our fellow Orthodox Christians from our sister churches who give us a great deal of support. The Festival this year, 1999, was especially blessed with a large group of young people and children who worked hard, preformed our native dances, and did kitchen and cleaning duty, inspiring all of us with the hope of our future. And they made friends among themselves that will last a lifetime.

The chairmanship and working crews for these affairs are truly a great labor of love for our church and community. It’s impossible to thank everyone who does work to make the Festival a success, but we do acknowledge the chairpersons of the Festivals.

Past Festival Chairmen

1981 Robert Nicola, William Balamaci, Audrey Fatsy

1982 Robert Nicola, Audrey Fatsy

1983 Helen Vangel

1984 Helen Vangel

1985 Robert Nicola, Peter Shanazu, William Balamaci

1986 Robert Nicola, Peter Shanazu, William Balamaci

1987 Peter Shanazu, John Cook

1988 Peter Costulas, Andrei Colimitra

1989 Victoria Bileca, Maraina Coca

1990 George V. Fatsi, George C. Fatsy

1991 George V. Fatsi

1992 Robert Nicola, William Balamaci

1993 Theodore Schuster, George C. Fatsy

1994 William Balamaci, Theodore Schuster, Loretta Tanacea

1995 No Festival – Gold Raffle    William Balamaci, Michael Fatse

1996 Mariana Coca, Florence Costulas, Gina Cook

1997 Florence Costulas, Gina Cook

1998 Florence Costulas, Gina Cook

1999 Florence Costulas Gina Cook

2000 Peter Shanazu, Sr., Marian Coca, William Balamaci

2001 - 2002 Peter Shanazu, SR., Elaine Bernard, William Balamaci

2003 Peter Shanazu, SR., Marian Coca, John Cook, Ovidiu Ocrain,


In 1982, the Church School sponsored a bus trip for the students and community to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the Alexander the Great exhibit, “In Search of Alexander,” a much acclaimed show of our pre-Christian culture and heritage.


Archbishop Valerian Retires

Sadly, in July 1984, Archbishop Valerian retired after an illustrious 33 years of service to the episcopate. In spite of the persecution that he underwent his   last few years and his ultimate exile to Portugal, he left us a legacy that would be hard to surpass let alone equal for the small group that we are. He was a man of vision and practicality, and we owe our sure footings as a diocese to him. In September, Bishop Nathaniel was unanimously chosen as the new bishop of the Episcopate to carry on the work of his predecessor.



Our proto-psalt, Christu Zdru retired and was honored the following year after 22 years of service. George Coca replaced him, the 4th in line since our founding: Pandu Sota, being our first chief cantor, followed by Nonda Vasilescu. Dr. Sholler also retired from his medical practice that year and was honored at the St. Dimitrie Day Dinner, although he remained active in parish affairs for many years.

It was in this year that our weekly coffee hours after Liturgy began and successfully continues due in large part to John Cook. We gave $500 to St. Vincent’s Seminary for the new dorm and have a line item in our annual budget of $500 each for the Seminary and our missions.

In 1985, David Oancea, then a student at St. Vladimir’s, volunteered his services for our Sunday School program. In ’84-’85, our midget basketball team won its first championship.

We donated $500 to the Episcopate meeting in Cleveland in 1985, honoring Fr. George Calciu, a modern confessor of the faith imprisoned over a period of 21 years in Romania who was finally freed and allowed to come to America.

At the St. Dimitrie Day Dinner that year, Paul Ghitsa, a long-time epitrop, and Vasile Fatsi, assistant cantor since his arrival in Bridgeport, were honored posthumously for all their service and devotion to the church.



On Labor Day weekend, the First Macedo- Romanian Congress in America—a colloquium presentation of works pertaining to our culture — was organized by Professor Aureliu Ciufecu at Sacred Heart University. It brought participants from many countries and walks of life.

In January 1987, Archbishop Valerian Trifa reposed in exile in Portugal (Memory Eternal). His name would later be cleared of all charges from Romanian authorities with information brought out by highly placed informants.

On April 23, the large construction project L’Ambiance Plaza, collapsed, killing 28 men. Bishop Nathaniel visited our parish in May, and made a special stop at the site as well as a Parish Council meeting to offer prayers.

During this time, Inter-Orthodox Bible Classes were moved to our church for four years. Florence Marsala was honored for being the secretary of the Parish Council for many years. Fr. Dimitrie’s suggestion for an Easter Card similar to the Christmas Card in ‘88, continues with great success even today. The Cadillac raffle that year brought in $21,000 (tickets were sold for $100), and the Endowment Fund reached $200,000.


Victoria Bileca First Woman President

For the first and only time in our history, a woman was elected as Parish Council President, Vicki Bileca. (Even the United States hasn’t progressed this far yet!) She proved to be an able administrator and is still heavily involved in parish administration.

After the revolution in Romania, the “Help Romania Fund” coordinated by our parish, brought in the largest single amount in the Episcopate. Over $22,000 was distributed to the people of Romania.

And Seraphim Rohlman, our altar boy Supervisor, was ordained to the priesthood in Alaska.

Wedding Musical

St. Dimitrie’s Day Dinner this year had an ambitious hour program of entertainment—”Numpta Romaneasca”—the recreation of a Macedo-Romanian village wedding, with the songs, dances, and customs in traditional costume. It was quite a production (preserved on tape) directed by Catrina Colimitra and assisted by George Coca. Many. Many a tear was shed, intermixed with raucous applause of enjoyment and laughter that day. This was another classic!


Changing Times

Fr. Dimitrie had decided to accept His Grace’s invitation to become the Episcopate’s representative in the effort to aid the people of Romania. In February, the parish sent him off with a testimonial that filled our hall to overflowing.

Mother Alexandra reposed at this time and the church sent $500 in her memory to the building fund of the monastery. Fr. Michael Koblosh served our cycle of services for Pascha until our new priest arrived.

Fr. Cornel New Pastor

Right after Easter, Bishop Nathaniel sent us our new priest, Fr. Cornel Todeasa, our current pastor who served his first liturgy on May 5, 1991. We’ve been most fortunate in receiving young, well-educated and devoted men as our priests. Fr. Cornel had served in Washington, and St Paul, and was well experienced being a parish administrator. He’s been a good listener to our problems and an equalizing influence in keeping us in harmony. He is also one of those famous sons of the Sibiu Seminary, like so many of our Episcopate priests. His wife, Psa. Louisa, has high credentials in her own right and is an extremely talented Sunday School director, teacher and musician. Fr. was officially installed as parish priest in May1992, by His Grace Bishop Nathaniel. Fr. Cornel brought us hope and peace after Fr. Dimitrie’s departure and our parish has progressed steadily under his care. Under his loving care, the history of our parish now continues under Father’s administration.


Replacing Old with New

Not only did we begin our year with a new parish priest, but also a new heating system. The old system was original equipment from the time our building our church. In 1992, we converted from oil to gas heat for church and hall at a cost of $36,000 (the amount of the whole annual budget in the ‘70’s!)

At Palm Sunday Dinner of 1992, Dr. Sholler was honored on his 80th birthday.

In the summer of ’92, the church was centrally air- conditioned by the generosity of the Ladies Auxiliary and the Retirees. How necessary it seems and is now, although we did without for so many years supposedly in comfort!


Aid For Romanians

The overwhelming majority of our original founders were Romanian from the Korce district of Albania. The country was in upheaval and needed great assistance and to that end a committee of aid was formed with Fr. Cornel as chairman and Constantine Vanghele as coordinator between our community and theirs in Europe.

When the communist government was finally overthrown, the people of Korea began to rebuild the Romanian church that had been closed and destroyed in the 1950’s. Bishop Nathaniel gave his blessing to the group and began the drive with a substantial donation from the Episcopate Council of $5,000. The Society Farsarotul gave $10,000, the Ladies Auxiliary $1,000, the Parish Council $500, the Society Perivolea $500 and the parishioners and church gave the remainder of the $30,000 that was sent from here. The Romanian government and a consortium of businessmen from Romania have given in excess of $75,000 and glory to God-the church has been constructed. What a powerful witness to their Orthodox Faith and Romanian heritage! Besides monetary help, over 200 boxes of clothing and food have also been sent, as well, and an equal member of boxes to Romania.


Help to Romania

The people of Palazu Mare, Constanta, Romania, also began to build a new church. And since many of our newcomers are from that area, and Pipera, Bucharest, the parish and individual parishioners have helped them as well. Over $3,000 was sent to Palazu, in addition to the sound system for the church. Help was also given to the churches of Pipera and Pleasa, Albania. Our faithful have always been generous givers to help others in their need and they’re to be commended. We’ve always considered it a blessing to be able to build up a church.


A new pan-Orthodox organization took form in 1992, called the Fellowship of Orthodox Churches in Connecticut, to bring a united effort of our endeavors with the possibility of building a senior citizen complex. Today they hold an annual fund raising dinner with invited speakers, distribute scholarships, and promote charitable endeavors. Fr. Cornel and our church were among the original members, and Father serves as a spiritual advisor and this year Bill Balamaci serves as president.

The Society Farsarotul celebrated their 90th anniversary!


Future Planning

A new advising organization was formed in 1992 to aid in the direction the parish would take and to offer a continuity from council to council. Former presidents and members of parish councils would meet to plan the future as much as it is in our hands. The Long Range and Planning Committee allows the parish council to concern itself with the most pressing demands of the parish which this committee can devote its time to larger issues. It’s proved essential to our community’s well being more than once.

At the St. Dimitrie Banquet that year, all past and living presidents were honored with icons from St. Dimitrie. Special mention to Robert Nicola, our parish attorney, and devoted worker in all aspects of church work.

We have to mention that our present parish council president, George C. Fatsy, has been our longest sitting president ever in our 75 year history, an honor that was help by our first president, Spiro Pittu, until now.


Royal Visit

In 1993, Princess Marie, Daughter of King Michael of Romania, graced our parish with a visit and attended our annual picnic. It was the first visit of Romania’s royalty since Princess Ileana’s visit in 1957.



St Dimitrie in the 1970s

The St. Dimitrie Day Dinner of 1978 had another Cadillac raffle chaired again by our ubiquitous “raffle- teer” John Bileca with a profit of $11,000. Honorable mention was given to Peter Pucci at this time who had been maintaining our church grounds and odd jobs man without any renumeration for many years and finally retired in 1984. Another invaluable worker for the church was Christy Fatsy.

In 1979, Dr. Sholler, who had retired from his medical practice but not from his church involvement formed a fund-raising committee for purchase of other property and for upkeep of the facilities.


Change of Leadership

Fr. Feica had suffered a debilitating heart attack in 1978 that forced him to retire. The search for a new priest didn’t look very promising until a young chaplain in the Army chose to retire from the military to begin a parish life. And, so Fr. Nicholas Craciun was installed as our new pastor in January 1979. He brought new hope and energy to the parish for a bright future and inspired many, but unfortunately his tenure was short-lived.



Dr. Sholler had been petitioning the parish council to organize a Retiree’s group but nothing came of it. With Dr. Nick’s impetus, the Seniors group was organized, meeting on Thursdays and still functions to this day. Through all the years they have worked diligently and contributed labor and finances in excess of $30,000 to the church. Now in their golden years they still help at various functions, but obviously enjoy their social life together even more.


Tonna Hall

In September 1979, the name of the parish hall was officially changed to the “Theodore Tonna Center” in honor of our major benefactor.

An ambitious redevelopment and restoration project was undertaken for the building. New roofs, pavements, painting and other major work were completed for a cost of $66,000.


Sam Giavara Establishes the Endowment Fund

The decade of the ‘80’s begins with Fr. Jonathan Mayo, a young convert from St. Vladimir’s as our interim priest until a new pastor could be found.

The Century Club had been started as a precursor to the endowment fund but it lapsed when its purpose was accomplished.

The Endowment Fund was firmly established in 1980 as a permanent fund for our future maintenance of our church to be kept in perpetuity. Sutiri (Sam) Giavara began the action by bringing the parish council the idea and pledged $10,000 to kick it off. Theodore Tonna had pledged to match the three highest donations and so the Fatse brothers; Nicholas and George P. came forward with $10,000 each. Immediately we went from zero to $60,000 in no time at all. All the other parishioners donating to the original fund are honored with a plaque in the vestibule for bringing the total to $120,000, a princely sum.

The Memorial Fund has been combined with the Endowment so that memorial donations could be made directly and the loved ones are memorialized in a glass enclosed, leather bound “book of life” opened to a particular page on the anniversary of repose. Sam has been chairman for many years with Nick Fatse, Bob Nicola and Bill Balamaci assuming the responsibility and overseeing the fund, which now totals $405,000.

Cultural Activities

Since 1994, we’ve had various dance groups, musical, and comedic troops from Romania that have performed in our Tonna Center. It’s a wonderful means for our newcomers to have an oasis of refreshment in their newfound land.

The International Institute requested our church to host their annual ethnic dinner this year after Pascha and we obliged with a full-course Macedo-Romanian meal of lamb and fixings and, of course, pita. We opened the banquet for over 125 people with the singing of “Christos FORCC!”

In September, the second Macedo-Romanian Congress took place for the whole weekend, opened in prayer by the local visiting clergy which included Fr. Dimitrie Veriga of Korce, Albania.

The ambitious cookbook project of the Ladies Auxiliary was completed.

In October, we celebrated our 70th anniversary with Bishop Nathaniel celebrating the full cycle of services and our annual banquet in honor of St. Dimitrie.

Spiritual Awareness Weekend

A beautiful spiritual experience never to be forgotten took place on Annunciation weekend, March 24th, 25th, and 26th, 1995. As a project of establishing an annual major spiritual event, we invited Fr. Peter Gillquist, the dynamic leader of the 3,000 plus Evangelical Christians that entered into the Holy Orthodox Church, to lead our retreat. We began with the Vespers service for the Annunciation and Father’s first presentation following. On Saturday, we celebrated the Divine Liturgy and a full day of presentations. What an incredible turnout for this most inspiring speaker – a total of over 500 people for the two days, including a “full house” on Sunday for the Liturgy and sermon.

The following year we had the renowned Frank Schaeffer, son of the internationally famous Protestant Theologian, Francis Schaffer, again with great success and great turnout with luncheon for everyone on all occasions.

Each year we’ve coordinated the spiritual awareness weekend with the Ladies Auxiliary Lenten Retreat, with Mother Gabriella, from Dormition Monastery this year.

In 1995, we began to rent part of our facilities to the Board of Education and later to ABCD, which had been a tremendous income for our church’s work.

The Tonna Family very generously donated a large walk-in cooler for our hall, which has become invaluable, especially for our festivals.

Entrepreneurs Honored

The complexion of our parish has changed and grown over the years. As more and more people moved here from Romania, they found comfort and solace in the Church, and our parish was fortunate to be there for them and grow together with them. Many professionals were among them and they’ve made their mark in American society and continue to do so. Two of these young men who formed a successful robotics company, Nicholas Borcea and Alexander Ionescu, were honored by the young Romanians who are devoted to our parish have become a part of our community and we’re all the more fortunate and blessed because of it.

They donated beautiful hand-carved signs over our church doors with our name as a gift from these young Romanian professionals.

A new kind of raffle was attempted in 1995 that would encourage stewardship and give a token prize and a full dinner and refreshments to the participants. The church realized $26,000 in donations from this approach.


Ordination to the Diaconate

On the weekend of the Epiphany, January 6th and 7th, 1996, bishop Nathaniel visited our parish for the celebration of the Lord’s baptism and to ordain one of our own diaconate. Proto-psalt George Coca became subdeacon on Saturday and Fr. Deacon on Sunday. Our sister parish, St. George Albanian, closed their church that day so Fr. Sergei Bouteneff and parishioners could join in the festive celebration. The proceeds of the banquet following arranged by Prifteasa Mariana were donated to the church. It was a once in a lifetime event because the snowfall that was to become the “Snowstorm of the Century” began during the ordination and kept going.


Special Help

One of our parishioners who had moved away to Texas had a young daughter who needed a new heart. The church prayed for her as a community and sent $500 together with Society Farsarotul’s $500 to the special fund that had been started for her to defray the many thousands needed for her medical expenses.

The church had a special dinner for Nicholas Lee, a young child with a debilitating disease. We raised over $5,000 to help with medical expenses.

We also gave a closed captioned TV to Ionel and Ileana Ciufecu who are both speech and hearing impaired. They’re newcomers to our parish with gifted carpentry skills and we’ve given them monetary help as well as a trip to Romania for all of their help on the properties.

In April of 1996, Romanian Voice TV filmed our church services and televised our church on New York television and to Romania.


Death of Two Friends

Two men who had worked closely together for our community for many years departed from us within a short time of each other. The man who had treated our ailments, Dr. Nicholas Sholler, died and then our former spiritual leader, Fr. Stephen Feica was brought from Canada. His Grace served the hierarchical liturgy and funeral service for a priest with other Episcopate and local clergy. There was a large turnout to bid farewell to Father. The church and her auxiliaries sponsored a lovely memorial repast.

After our ’96 Festival we donated $1,000 to the Greater Bridgeport Fund to help needy students as a give back to the community for our successful Festival and for God’s bounty.

We fully air-conditioned our hall, the Tonna Center, for a cost of $20,000.


Sister Parish

Our sister parish, (actually our mother since it was established first and so many of our parishioners have come from her to us,) St. John’s in Woonsocket, RI, celebrated the 85th anniversary of its founding in 1997. Fr. Cornel and Fr. Deacon George attended their banquet and liturgy with a group of parishioners and our church assisted in their various projects.

In 1998 and 1999, Fr. Deacon George, participated at the White House conference in Washington, D.C. and at the invitational reception for the president of Romania.

The Sunday closest to the Meeting of the Lord called “Papandina” in February has traditionally been observed by the Ladies Auxiliary with coliva and special prayers. Because it’s the day our Lord was presented in the temple, we instituted God parents Sunday when God Parents will bring their God Children to church and they both receive Communion together in honor of their responsibility to each other This year, 1999, there were so many people receiving the Sacrament that they lined up double file to the outside doors.

In March, our proto-psalt emeritus reposed in the Lord. We have been searching for new land for a possible relocation of the church. The $5,000 donation in memory of Nicholas Nicola became the first for the building fund drive.

The altar area was completely redecorated and refurbished in memory of John Babu.

Sunday of Orthodoxy was held in our church combined with the local parishes. His Grace, Bishop Nathaniel was the invited speaker and he honored us with a full weekend of services and a Lenten repast for 600 people.



At the 1998 St. Dimitrie Day Dinner, George Hallas, the founder and driving dynamo behind FORCC, and James Connolly, the Superintendent of Schools for the city of Bridgeport and a wonderful friend and supporter of our community and our Orthodox church in general, were both honored by our community.

During the Christmas break, a new annual event – the showcase of youth talent concert organized by Bill Balamci – takes place for the community. This year, in anticipation of our festival, we had the whole kitchen redone with new ovens, convection ovens, sinks and counters for over $12,000.

We also instituted a Prayer and Support Group that meets the first Wednesday of every month; a “Booklet of the Month Club” with a new booklet read each month and then discussed at the Prayer and Support Group. A group of young adults, married and single, known as the “Eggs-on-a-Stick Group” (since it was started on the Sunday before Great Lent when we do “harahasca”– the egg on a stick), meet together socially. During Great Lent we held Presanctified Liturgies every Wednesday with a short video presentation following the participants. All these are part of the life of the parish and the efforts of her people.

Although this history may seem to be just a compilation of facts and dates and concerned with financial matters of how much was collected and spent with little emphasis on the spiritual, it is a record of the archives and events that have taken place in our parish.

Unfortunately, archives don’t reflect the true spiritual life of the parish and progress one makes in his or her journey with the Lord. Time and again, every parish council, to their credit, has concerned itself with growth of the parish, with the education of our children and youth and with bringing back those who are straying from us.




Ladies Auxiliary

As in their native villages the Macedo-Romanian women contributed their time and effort on behalf of the community. As the settlement in Bridgeport grew so did the contribution of the wives and daughters of the new Americans. By 1931, the need for a formal organization to channel their efforts was recognized.

On January 4, 1932 forty (40) members joined to form the Ladies Auxiliary. It was the purpose of the Auxiliary to organize all women of Macedo-Roman background and to support the new church morally and financially. Meetings were scheduled on a monthly basis and each member paid dues of $1.80 per year. An election was held with the selection of the following officers.

President Alice Janello

Vice President Victoria Pittu

Secretary Alice Cashavelly

Treasurer Athena Chanaca

Comptroller Anna Grigorescu

Counselors Viola Pucci


Two years later, in January 1934, the Ladies made their first contribution of money to the church donating the sum of $37.55. In that same year the Ladies purchased a radio-phonograph console for use on the church hall. From this beginning the financial contributions of the Auxiliary has increased and expanded in a number of directions. The Ladies have, and still are the primary source of the priest’s vestments and related religious artifacts which they have purchased and given to the Church.

During the Second World War, the scope of the group broadened and a donation was made to an outside charity. During February of 1943, the sum of $100 was given to the American Red Cross. In December of that same year, the Ladies purchased kitchen equipment for the church hall at Lee Avenue which enabled broader use of the facility.

Many activities including dances, plays, fairs and dinners were organized by the Auxiliary to finance its many donations. On November 30, 1952, it presented a drama, directed by Michael Costulas, entitled Vruta Al Picuara (the Sheperd’s Sweetheart) which grossed over $1,000. The success of this drama promoted a second effort by the Ladies which resulted in the presentation of Golfu on May 30, 1954. The play was sponsored for the benefit of the Building Fund and resulted in a net profit of $1,475.50.


Orthodox Council Formed in 1955

In 1955, the Ladies of the Auxiliary joined with women from other Orthodox Churches in the area to form the Women’s Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches – a group dedicated to the strengthening of the Orthodox religion through cooperation and interaction. The first representatives of our women were Catrina Fatsi, Elizabeth M. Nicola and Helen Vangel. The Council still functions almost forty-four years later.

A request by the International Institution for participation of our community in its annual ball was answered by the Auxiliary in March of 1958. The International Institute is dedicated to aiding immigrant Americans and to exposing their culture, food and customs to the people of Bridgeport. The women represented our ethnic community.

The activities of the Auxiliary doubled after the loss of the church building on Lee Avenue to fire. They intensified their fund raising efforts including a presentation of the Taming of the Shrew in 1969, again for the benefit of the Building Fund. With this renewed effort, the Auxiliary was able to make a contribution of $19,325.75 to the church. They have continued to aid the church and Building Fund in our new religious home, most recently participating in the decorating of the Church Dome and the installation of the Chandelier. They have also lent great support to Mac-AROY in hosting National Conventions and financially sponsored our youth to the Vatra for spiritual and religious training. Active support has been and still is given to St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary.

Each year the Ladies Auxiliary conducts a full slate of activities. These include trips for the women, the communion breakfast at Easter, decoration of the Epitafil, the Palm Sunday fish dinner, the Mother’s Day party, Papandina, Caraga and Rusa-Liile. They also continue to make generous donations each Christmas to various local charities.

Our Ladies Auxiliary held their 50th anniversary since the date of their founding in 1933. They honored past presidents and members with a dinner dance.

In 1983, to celebrate the 50th anniversary, the Ladies Auxiliary commissioned our famed local artist and parishioner, Costa Mara (Moran), to paint and install the large wall size mural in our parish hall that sets the tone of our ethnic gatherings. It depicts a village in Macedonia with a group of men and women in native costume dancing one of our circle dances.


Undoubtedly our women are always the hardest workers and most devoted to the church. Our Ladies Auxiliary channels these efforts to richly enhance our parish life. Each president and committee brings his or her own particular talents and gifts in the working of the Auxiliary. They have contributed well over $100,000 to the parish as well as their support and presence.

They donated the dome icons and their installation. In 1983 the group celebrated its 50thAnniversary, honoring past presidents and especially its first president, Alice Janello, in a touching candlelit ceremony.

In 1988, together with the “Retirees” group, they gifted the parish with our 36” TV and VCR, giving $1,500 each.

They celebrated their 55th Anniversary with a dinner dance and donated all the backstage curtains for the stage with the proceeds. Again, with the help of the “Retirees,” they pooled their resources and air- conditioned the church for a total of $7,000.

In 1994, an ambitious and long-dreamed project came to fruition under the direction of Florence Costulas, assisted by Gina Cool – a record of all those wonderfully delicious recipes that our moms and wives have used at home. A small committee organized that cookbook that was so popular it went into a fourth printing at $8 a piece and increased their treasury by over $6,000.

Each year the ladies have a spiritual retreat during Lent or co-sponsor the larger retreats with the parish. They still take turns monthly baking the prosphoa (holy bread) for the Holy Liturgies.

They’ve donated to all the appeals for our churches in Albania and Romania and for charitable works here at home.

In 1997 hardworking President Kallie Schuster spearheaded the drive to replace the flooring in the hall at a cost of over $8,000 through pita and bake sales.

In 1998 it celebrated its 65th Anniversary of dedication to the Church. Undoubtedly the ladies are the hardest workers for the parish and most devoted to it. Just as they’re our mothers of our home, so, too in the parish and they bring all of their many talents to our life. And, of course, they still are the cookers and bakers and if needed, candlestick makers for our annual Festival with luscious pitas, breads, pastries, and tigani, as well as sponsors.




The choir came into being in 1945 the result of the dreams and efforts of Professor Nicholas Vamasescu. The first appearance of the choral group was at Midnight Services during Easter of 1945 almost 22 years after the church was founded. The choir was known as St. James Choral Society and was 65 voices strong. The group immediately undertook a program of concerts and related presentations. A choral performance was presented at Bassick High School on November 19, 1946. The choir also traveled to other Macedo-Roman communities to give concerts. In 1948 the first formal election of officers was held and Florence Pittu was selected as President of the group. Later that year the choir appeared in Carnegie Hall in New York for a performance to aid victims of the civil war in Northern Greece.

By 1949, the need for an organ was apparent. A benefit concert was conducted at Klein Memorial on April 15, 1949 to raise funds. With these receipts and other funds an organ was purchased and installed in the loft of the church on Lee Avenue. Betty Culetsu was the first organist.


Virginia Cook Becomes Director in 1951

Under Professor Vamasescu, the choir performed at all regularly scheduled services and at special services if requested. After the resignation of Professor Vamasescu, Mr. James Moran undertook the duties of choir director. His assistant was Mrs. Virginia Cook, who succeeded to the job of director in 1951, a position she has held for the better part of the past twenty-three years, except when James Cashavelly and Sophie (Fatsi) Cashavelly led the choir.

The choir’s organ was another victim of the church fire. The choir was undaunted and learned to sing a-capella with the aid of a pitch which was utilized until the new church was dedicated. At that time they received a new organ and a new organist, Diane Fekete, who still serves in that capacity, although choir is still a-capella.

In 1964 the choir traveled to the Vatra at the request of the Church Congress for a benefit performance, an honor awarded to only the finest choral groups. The trip was made by bus. During the last ten years the choir has sung at almost every wedding and funeral and christenings when requested. The group has also traveled to Woonsocket when the exchange of the pulpits has occurred. In 1972, with the aid of the Ladies Auxiliary, beautiful robes were purchased. Mrs. Cook and her longtime assistant director, Virginia Lity, have recently established a junior choir, now 10 strong, which will hopefully insure a prosperous future for our singers.

One of the most noted groups throughout the Episcopate and locally is our dedicated choir that so much enhances our church services musically. They’ve been invited to the Vatra twice. The last trip (by air this time) was in 1990 to present a musical program and to offer the responses to the services. In 1979 they were invited to sing at St. Vladimir’s Education Day.


Diane Vieira became Assistant Choir Director in 1989.

A long awaited project finally became reality in 1992 – a professionally recorded tape of the liturgy’s responses that sold over 300 copies. The parishioners report they play it at home and in their car, keeping the church close to them at all times.

The Romanian Cultural Center in New York City hosted a musical program by the choir in 1994.

Our choir has one of the largest representation in the Combined Orthodox Choir and all inter-Orthodox affairs. In addition to their contributions of singing, it annually donates to Festival sponsorships and major projects.

In 1995 the choir was honored at the St. Dimitrie Day Dinner in its 50 yr Anniversary – of course, they sang for their meal. Their dedicated director of 48 years, Gina Cook now conducts a group of 35 voices, including a good group of young people.

The Sunday School students, directed by Preoteasa Louisa Todeasa now join in with some of the singing with great enjoyment. Hopefully, these young people will be the continuation of our beautiful choir.

The Sunday School continues to function as our most important investment in our future following the curriculum of our Religious Education Commission.




Prior to 1954 there had been attempts by the young parishioners of the church to formally organize. The first attempt resulted in the St. James Junior Society which was primarily social in purpose. Subsequently, the church youth participated in a program with other Orthodox parishes in the Bridgeport area – the Orthodox Youth Organization.

The youth group officially came into being in 1954 as a result of the dreams and efforts of four young women. Upon their return from a training session for Sunday School teachers at the Vatra they met with Rev. Fr. Vasile Hategan in New York City. Fr. Hategan devoted himself completely to the project as did our then parish priest, Fr. Vasilescu. Through their combined efforts St. James became an official chapter of the national AROY organization.

Mac-AROY stressed religious education but it further served as a means by which the church’s young adults could learn the procedures of the church government. Donations of time and money came from the group. In the first year of its existence, the Chapter donated two stained glass windows which were installed in the church on Lee Avenue. It also contributed to the renovation of the church interior. Chapter members were instrumental in organizing the Sunday School and Mac-AROY provided funds for supplies.

The chapter continued to prosper and in 1957 was the host of the Eight National Convention with Peter Costulas serving as general chairman. Work continued until 1961 when the chapter became inactive, due to the preoccupation of the whole community with the building of the new church.

The dedication of the new church signaled a rebirth of Mac-AROY. Under the new President Peter Shanazu, members were added and activities increased. In the next year, the Chapter donated two portable basketball goals for use in the new church hall. William Balamaci was successful in being elected National Vice President of AROY. Under the chairmanship of Spiro Fatsy, the Fifteenth National Convention was also hosted in Bridgeport in 1964 where the new church hall was fully utilized.

Mac-AROY continued to be active both nationally and locally. It continued its financial sponsorship by sending students to Sunday School Teachers camp and Altar Boys camp at the Vatra. AROY national events have been hosted in Bridgeport in 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1974. The Mac-AROY basketball team has dominated the national tournament with the regularity of UCLA having won the crown for four consecutive years (1970 through 1973.)

The year 1972 was a particularly fruitful one for Mac- AROY. The Chapter distinguished itself by becoming the largest Chapter (51 members) in all of AROY. Mac-AROY also provided the national president, Robert Cipu.

The youth of our church are the key to its future. Through a strong and prosperous Mac-AROY shall we look to a strong and prosperous St. Dimitrie’s in the future.

Over the years as the youth population has grown or diminished, so, too the make up of the youth organization. There always remains a good core group of active youth who desire to be a part of church life. The contact with National AROY has always remained strong as well, as seen by our aforementioned representatives including Marilyn Balamaci, too. In 1982 the national Board met here for the weekend with a well-attended community- wide dance. The Bridgeport Chapter hosted the 1984 National Convention which was a huge undertaking for President Marian (Fatsy) Ocrain, Joann (Cipu) Seamon and Valeria Ciufecu that proved to be very successful. It seems that National Conventions are held here every twenty years so get ready for 2004!

Although recent activities have been more local these past few years, the vitality of the group is extremely viable.

The past six years Fr. Cornel and Psa. Louisa open their home to a group with a bonfire outdoors and a cookout as a “warmer-upper” to start the activities.

They enjoy social activities together throughout the year with bowling nights, pool parties and trips to Radio City in New York. This year they took in a ball game of our own Bluefish at the stadium.

Of course, their primary function is still in the church. Every first Sunday of the month is “Youth Sunday” in our parish and the Mac-AROY members take over the various functions during the Liturgy – readers, epitrops, ushers, choir members and in the altar. On their patron’s day, St. Nicholas, they participate with the Sunday School children at Vespers and they participate in the Sacrament as a group. They are not only students in our Church school, but also our teachers for younger grades.

They have actively participated in our Festivals with their choreographed ethnic dancing and as workers. At all our church dinners they can be found as servers and waiters. And they are all very talented musicians that entertain us at the Annual Holiday Concert.

These youth are not only our hope for the future, but also very much our present. Today, the children of former Mac-AROY members are the nucleus of parish life among the youth. The new millennium is the threshold to a bright future – for themselves, and hopefully, for their continuing participation in our ongoing history and future.


Past Presidents

1953 Dennis Balamaci

1954 Stella Cashavelly

1955-1956 George Cipu

1957 Peter Costulas

1958 Nicholas Cook

1959 Thomas Mustaka

1960 Sutiri Giavara

1961 (inactive)

1962 Peter Shanazu

1963-1964 William Balamaci

1965 Carol Balamaci

1966 Diane Fekete

1967 Maria Giavara

1968 Marilyn Balamaci

1969. Gary Fekete

1970 and 1971. James Balamaci

1972. Patricia Cook

1973. Joanne Fatse

1974 Christine Cipu

Among the later presidents of the Mac-AROY are Steven Kiosse, Christopher Ghitsa, Catrina Ciufecu, Valeria Ciufecu, Marianne (Fatsy) Ocrain, Mary Carameta, Tom Balamaci, Dean Coca, Danielle Babu, Peter Shanazu, Jessica Apuzzo, Scott Cipu and Cara Bernard.




The Retirees group was officially organized in 1973 with Fr. Nicholas Craciun’s encouragement upon the foundation of a group of women who got together for crocheting, baking and church fund-raising.

Its major figures at the time were Victoria Spau, Jennie Morova, Vichia Fatsy, who is still very active, in addition to the other women, and Christy Fatsy, who did all the transporting. Now with an official group open to men and women 55 and over, they were able to accomplish even more in their church work with craft and bake sales. Over these 20 years they have contributed over $58,000 to the work of the parish.

They have often combined their efforts with the Ladies Auxiliary to finance some major projects such as the air conditioning for the church building – at a cost of $7,000 – the stage curtains, and the 36” TV and VCR and the large mixer indispensable in our baking project. In addition, they are annual sponsors of the Festival and as individual members of the group they are a major help at our Festivals. One of the mainstays is still Vichia Fatsy.

Today they enjoy a more social outlook – gathering every Thursday in the church hall for fellowship and sponsoring day trips for the group.

Having worked in their earlier years for the church, they can now rest and enjoy their golden years. This year they celebrated their 20th anniversary.

The role of Charlie Geambazi and wife, Liz, who have served ten years as treasurer, respectively, has been immeasurable.

The Retirees make up one of the largest groups in our parish family, who even though may be retired, some remain very active in their lives.

Past Presidents

1979. Vasile Fatsy

1980-81 Victoria Chanaca

1982. Vasile Fatsy

1983-85. Betty Nicola

1990-85. Charles Geambazi

1991. Elizabeth Rech

1992-95. Charles Geambazi

1996-97. Theodore Andry

1998-99. Charles Geambazi



American Romanian Social Club


Prior to 1943 many of the male members of the Macedo-Roman community in Bridgeport gathered at a “cafinea” located on Hancock Avenue next to the present club. It was there one day that Ahilea Cuscona and George Shanazu decided that the community needed its own center. A formal meeting was held in the church hall on October 3, 1943 and the club came into being with a membership of 40. Dues were $3 per year and meetings were held quarterly.

With the return of the young men from the war the need for its own location became critical. The appropriate site was found in 1946 at 581 Hancock Avenue, a building within walking distance of the homes of most members.

Our senior citizens especially utilized it as a meeting center during the day. Sports activities played a big part in the club’s history. Until recent times the club sponsored the various athletic teams which represented the community. The baseball teams under the guidance of James Moran were especially remembered for the manner in which they dominated.

In 1969 fire struck the building at 581 Hancock Avenue. New headquarters were found on Wood Avenue to serve the members while the old site was rebuilt and renovated.

The “club” has always been an integral part of the Macedo-Romanian community and its members have always cooperated with the church in her affairs.

President Tom Shanazu has always worked hard both for the church and the club for the past 20 years until his retirement in 1985. His nephew, Alex Moran, took over and was in the process of relocating the club for the West End Redevelopment Project that would take five square blocks of the neighborhood. His premature and sudden death didn’t stop the progress however, when his son, Jim, stepped in and relocated to the new quarters.

There are many fond memories of our old times gathering there, the trips to Boston Red Sox games and its renowned pinochle tournaments and picnics.


Past Presients

Ahilea Suscona,  James Moran, Van Nastu,  James Balamaci. ThomasTanase, Andrew Colimitra, Dimitrie Colimitra, William Chanaca, Thomas Rigia, Alex Moran. Thomas Shanazu




75th Anniversary - 1999-2011

The last year of the millennium, 1999, marks the 75th anniversary of our parish. Plans for this celebration and the dedication book have been in the making all year. Chairpersons Peter Costulas and Andrei Colimitra, together with President George C. Fatsy, have promised a gala affair at the Marriott Inn with dinner and dancing. One surprise at the event will be the presentation to His Grace for missions and special projects of the Episcopate of over $7,000 from the church, Ladies Auxiliary and individual contributions. Those of you reading these lines are witnesses to this historic event. May God bless us all and our future years in this new third millennium.


Note: In any church our size, over such a long period of time, there are countless members of people that have worked hard and diligently with all their hearts for their beloved parish. It’s absolutely impossible to mention them all in this limited treatise.

The names that have been mentioned are those that keep turning up in our history, perhaps being at the right place at the right time, but surely, deservedly as well. There are so many men, women and young adults who have had a powerful impact on our wonderful community. We, as a community, thank all those who have worked and still work so diligently for our church

– treasurers, council members, epitrops, and parish members we honor all of you today. Thank God that He knows our hearts and intentions and it is with certainty that all those good Souls are remembered by Him for all those good works. May the good Lord bless them richly in His Heavenly Kingdom and God bless us all!

First 50 years written by George Coca and Robert Nicola.

Last 25 years written by Fr. Dn. George Coca










Land Search

A Land Search Committee, which had previously been established by the General Assembly, was charged with finding a location upon which we could build a new church.

At a Special General Assembly in December 2000 the Land Search Committee disclosed that it had discovered a 6.5 acre parcel in Easton, Connecticut, which contained a Christmas Tree farm and a single-family dwelling. This property, located at 500 Sport Hill Road in Easton, is the parcel upon which we have constructed our church and hall. (It is 2.5 miles north of the Merritt Parkway and approximately 7.5 miles due north of our Clinton Avenue church). The General Assembly unanimously authorized the Land Search Committee to make an offer with the proper contingencies. The land was purchased in 2001 for $420,000. The seller was very cooperative and held a mortgage for the property.


Parish Attorrneys

The Parish Attorneys have been a very special and extremely necessary, often unsung factor in our parish life. There have been two (2) men in our long history who have worked for the parish without any monetary compensation.Attorney Ken Janello, our first parishioner to become a lawyer devoted many hours and services in bringing to fruition our Clinton Avenue complex. Bob Nicola took over as the church attorney when we were still located on Clinton Avenue. His legal advice and contributions were extremely important to the church as the legal activities intensified with the purchase of properties in Easton, the selling of the Clinton Avenue church and the contractual work to build the new church in Easton. In addition to the legal fees we saved, Bob’s participation on the building committee and parish council was and continues to be a major asset for St. Dimitrie. We are deeply indebted to both of them. May God bless them in our appreciation.



Women’s Council

In 2000 the Women’s Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches of Greater Bridgeport celebrated its 50th Anniversary. This was the first organization of its kind in the United States and its example is still emulated throughout the country. Many of our parish women, who have always been such an important and integral part of St. Dimitrie’s, also devoted themselves to establishing a Pan Orthodox organization with parishioners from other Orthodox churches in the Greater Bridgeport area. The number of our parishioners who helped found and support the Women’s Council is too numerous to mention by name but God knows each one of them.


Church Activities

In 2001 Parish Council President Peter Shanazu, with his able coworkers, organized our first golf tournament, which proved to be very successful-monetarily, and a great enjoyment for its participants. The tournament continued for a number of years and eventually was terminated as the community focused on our Festivals as well as fund raising for our new church. The tournaments were held at various golf courses/country clubs in the area. They always ended with a dinner for all participants and their guests. In the year we purchased our land, we not only had another successful Festival, but also generated extra income with hall rentals, sponsorships, and our aforementioned golf tournaments. There was also a revitalization of the youth in Mac-AROY, which everyone knew was critical to the long-term well being of our parish. The St. Dimitrie dinner that year was prepared by Peter Shanazu Jr. and Dean Coca who planned, served and cleaned up with the assistance of the members of Mac-AROY

With the purchase of the property completed, the General Assembly of May 6, 2001 voted to proceed with the sale of our Clinton Avenue facilities pending Episcopate approval (from His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel and the Episcopate Council). The vote was 149 yeas, 4 nays’ and 5 abstentions. The meeting came to a positive and orderly conclusion under Fr. Cornel’s leadership as noted in the minutes. A Building Fund Committee was formed with Alexandru Ionescu as Chairman and Bob Nicola and Andrei Colimitra as Vice Chairmen. (A $7,000 donation from Nick Nicola’s repose was a kick-start to that campaign much as his generosity had been an impetus to the building of our Clinton Avenue church 50 years ago).

In 2001 we also began our annual tributes to our veterans on Memorial Day with gur (colyva), a Memorial service and the reading of the names of our departed veterans. A red, white and blue flowered wreath from church was then placed at soldiers field at Lakeview Cemetery. The plaque listing all our veterans (the brainchild of Peter Costulas) is still on display in our halls entryway. In 2011, Sam and Gina Giavara sponsored an Awards Dinner for all the living veterans, an ongoing recognition for those men and women who served our country during its time of war- they are truly the greatest generation.

We reinstated our Midget, Junior and Senior basketball teams. Many of our young boys (and girls) grew up participating in those happy times. Fr. Cornel was able to finish his theological studies and received his doctorate in Romania. He also published his first book, which was a collection of sermons, and articles he had written.

At the General Assembly in 2002, a Relocation Fund Committee was unanimously established consisting of George C. Fatsy, Christina Ionescu and Nicola Tudor. This fund was intended to pay the expenses incurred with our land purchase and to secure funds for our new spiritual home. We weren’t ready to move yet but it would soon be forthcoming. A buyer for our Clinton Avenue facilities was found.


World Trade Center - 9/11

While all of this was ongoing a great tragedy occurred in our country that united all Americans in a way we had not seen for a long period of time. On September 11, 2011, the World Trade Center was barbarically attacked and destroyed by terrorists. Not since Pearl Harbor had American soil been intruded upon and so many lives lost. Planes were hijacked and destroyed in NY, Pennsylvania and in our own nations capital, Washington, D.C. The Pentagon was attacked while other major target attempts were thwarted. Thousands of our fellow Americans were killed or injured. The world just stopped for all of us in disbelief and sorrow. (Everyone knows where he or she was when the news was released).

Our church along with other houses of worship were filled with people praying and seeking answers. Special memorial prayers and collections were made for the victims and their families. Each participant received a memorial ribbon and God Bless America was sung with much emotion and pain (as in the past war years). Fortunately, our lives returned to normal, but unfortunately, so did church attendance. The remembrance and commemoration of that day still brings deep feelings even 10 years later and will as long as those who remember it shall live. (To many of the courageous police, firefighters and rescue personnel it is still very real and many suffer from psychological and physical ailments to this day). Our parish has two special connections to that event. One of the firefighters who helped at the cleanup is our own Jeff DeNitto. The other is one of the families here in Easton (one of whom is of part Macedonian heritage) whose son, daughter in law and granddaughter were lost when one of the planes hijacked from Logan Airport struck the Towers.


Neighborhood Decline

One of the major reasons we considered relocating from our beautiful church on Clinton Avenue was the deterioration of the surrounding neighborhood, the associated vandalism to our properties and the car thefts, which required a Security Guard that was employed during services. The parishioners suffered muggings and a drive by shooting in broad daylight. It was truly a dangerous atmosphere. No one lived in walking distance of the church any longer, which was one of the major reasons why the Clinton Avenue location had been chosen. It had become time to leave, sadly so! The Land Search Committee, working together with the Relocation Committee, was interviewing prospective buyers. We eventually were blessed to sell our facilities to the Iglesia Christiana Church for $1,725,000 million , far in excess of the $600,000 the parish counsel originally was told was the value of our complex. God continued to guide us.


New Church Design

At the 2003 General Assembly, a plan for our proposed new church building was presented by another of our parishioners, architect Simona Tudor. Her plan for the church’s design, with some modifications and suggestions, ultimately became the new church we consecrate today, a brick and stucco Byzantine-style structure. In 2001, the parish council officially recorded in the archive (the permanent record) the following: how fortunate we have been to have in our community professionals who have come to our aid free of charge: Attorney Robert Nicola, property realtor Andrei Colimitra, business man Alexandru Ionescu and Simona Tudor, Architect and of course, just a few years later recognition would also be given to Sutiri Sam Giavara as the design-builder who would pick up the pieces and bring us to this day of consecration of our exquisite new church.

In 2003, George V. Fatsi, assistant cantor and son of longtime cantor Vasile Fatsi, was named Proto- Psalt, only the 5th in our long history. He served very capably in that capacity until 2007 when he went to the hospital to have his knees repaired and discovered that he had cancer. Things looked hopeful, but unfortunately he succumbed to an early and untimely departure. He never saw the new church and his burial took place during our sojourn at St. Nicholas Antiochian Church. His assistant, Costache Barguima, took his place as prime-cantor assisted by George Cipu and today also, by Costa Ianus.

When the all English First Holy Liturgy was instituted in our church, George C. Fatsy, the Parish Council president at the time, became the proto-cantor assisted by Bill Balamaci and Bob Nicola and the parishioners who joyfully join in the responses.



Ordination to the Priesthood of our Native Son

On a Saturday in September 2003, Fr. Deacon George was ordained to the priesthood as Assistant Priest with the approval of Fr. Cornel and the Parish Council. The ordination was celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel along with an assembly of local and deanery clergy. There were over 600 people in attendance, many standing throughout the service. Preoteasa Mariana had prepared a generous buffet lunch with the help from her ladies. She hasn’t stopped cooking and baking since with the Festival, pita, bread sales and dinners.

A Spiritual Direction Committee was also formed consisting of various auxiliary representatives who sought to guide the spiritual life of the parish- for feeding of the soul. There was much activity going on in the parish’s life at this time. Negotiations with the groups interested in buying our property were ongoing, architectural drawings

were being brought before the Parish Council for approval, soliciting funds and planning for future fund raisers. The clergy and Parish Council felt it was critical to maintain a spiritual balance, which might get lost in all the secular activities, which were taking place. Retreats, Bible Study groups and other spiritual activities were put into place.

The General Assembly of 2006 empowered the Parish Council to seek a mortgage for the construction of our new Church. Primrose Construction, the builder, of Bridgeport, Connecticut who was chosen for construction, initially indicated that the church and hall would cost approximately $2 million dollars. As it turned out, after months of deliberations and negotiations and changes to the plans, Primrose was the low bidder at $3 million dollars. The projected date of completion was January 2007! During this time, George C. Fatsy, a member of the Episcopate Council, made a presentation at the Spring Episcopate Council meeting held at the Vatra in Jackson, Michigan to His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel and the Episcopate Council members on behalf of our community and got the approval to proceed with the construction of our church and hall at the negotiated price with Primrose.


President Shanazu Honored

At the 2006 meeting, it was unanimously voted to present outgoing President Shanazu with a plaque for his many years of service and for his tireless work. His term had to end according to the Episcopate By-Laws. We were still in good financial shape at this time and the overwhelming majority of the community was excited about our new prospects. We had over $500,000 in the Endowment Fund and over $120,000 in our Relocation Fund in addition to having paid off most of the purchase of our land. Together with the monies from the sale of the Clinton Avenue properties we anticipated smooth sailing. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans’ don’t always work out as we expect and it would be a time of testing of our faith and commitment to our Lord and to His Church and to the community. In November of 2006, a new social event was instituted as both fundraiser and get together for the Community a wine-tasting and silent auction. It was a great event that brought in $7,000 towards the building fund. The best part, however, is that it continues annually and is organized by all the Mac-AROY members of the past younger generation. They also, run the cafenea and gyro tent at the Festivals. It’s a wonderful means of fellowship for them as well as a time to relive their heyday as young Mac-AROY-ians!


St. Nicholas Our New Home

Our buyers were anxious to move in and we couldn’t stay until the 2006 Pascha to have our last Easter services in our Clinton Avenue home. We moved to St. Nicholas church hall on Park Avenue in Bridgeport. Arrangements had been made with the Antiochian parish to rent their freestanding hall for our usage for an expected 6 to 9 months until the completion of our new church. (This was of course the understatement of the century). The stage of the hall was used as our altar area with a portable iconostasis and our Good Friday tomb as the altar table. It was very presentable. Half of the hall was used for Church seating and the other half used for the fellowship hour together with the St. Nicholas parishioners. Many times St. Nicholas church was used for combined services – English, Arabic, Greek & Romanian. His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel visited and served in the Church during this time. It was a true test of Pan-Orthodox unity and cooperation. They were most gracious hosts and we were like the Guest who came to Dinner – having stayed much longer than either side anticipated. Many lasting friendships were made in those years between our two communities and individuals.



Palm Sunday Dinner Fund Raiser

Our Palm Sunday dinner was to be the first major fund raising event. It was held at Testo’s catering hall in Bridgeport and was free of charge to all since it was to be a Fund Raiser, similar to the one we had when we were building the Clinton Avenue Church. It was very successful monetarily bringing in $305,425 against our goal of $500,000.

From the amount given that day, eight families comprised over one-half of the pledged amounts. The families, in descending order, are: Alex and Christina Ionescu, Robert & Diana Nicola, Andrei & Caterina Colimitra, William & Evelyn Balamaci, George & Audrey Fatsy, Kyratsa Jombur & family, Ted & Kallie Schuster, and Andrew & Alexandra Shillira. Within 10 months from the date of the event, our initial goal of reaching $500,000 was achieved in January 2007. The community, once more, came through. God Bless them all.

The fundraiser for Clinton Avenue was very different times. The community wasn’t as prosperous as today, but people gave deeply, too. The average pledge was $100 - $500 (equivalent to $1,000 - $5,000 today). The committee had brought the old bell from the church on Lee Avenue to the Ritz

Ballroom in Bridgeport to ring as every $5,000 was raised. The bell that was involved in the miracle of the bell was to be witness to another miracle of sorts. It took a while for the bell to ring until Nick Nicola pledged $5,000 and Dr. Nicholas Sholler pledged $7,500 and the bell was rung more frequently helping to build up the excitement. The unknown was hanging on our major benefactor to be – Theodore Tonna, who waited to announce his pledge wanting to see the dedication of the community. The tension mounted as pledges were made and then Mr. Tonna got up to speak. Everyone hung on his every word you could hear a pin drop- and then he made his pledge ---$35,000. Oh, my, the bell was rung furiously. The members of the committee were hugging each other with tears, everyone sprung up from their seats in wild applause. Yes, yes the new church would be possible thanks to our major benefactor – the Tonna Family. They, also, donated our beautiful carved iconostas which graces our church today. Then Elia Caleshu came forth and donated the terrazzo flooring for the church.

Both events were manifestations of the community spirit and great devotion. St. Dimitrie parish was fulfilling the Lords will to build Him a home, a place to worship Him and praise His holy name.

At the General Assembly meeting of January 2009, dues were raised to $250 per member from the $175 dues, which had been set in 1999. The property at 488 Sport Hill Road was purchased on the approval of the GeneralAssembly on December 2008 for $560,000. During this time, the building fund committee met every other Saturday, or as needed, with Andrei Colimitra, our go between for the committee and the contractor for the payment of invoices and other pertinent matters. The huge dome (it is very large in dimension and can easily fit 100 people inside of it) was assembled in Utah and brought to Easton in sections on 18-wheelers. It was assembled on the ground and then lifted by crane and placed on the Dome on a brisk day in January 2008. The large cross was then planted on top of the dome. Fr. Cornel courageously rode up in the cherry picker to bless the cross and dome. Many of our parishioners witnessed all of this, as well as the Connecticut Post ,which had us on the front page the next day as well as a video on their website. Everything was coming into place – so we thought.

Primrose Construction had now abandoned the site, and it then placed a lien against the property. The scramble to secure the building against the weather was now paramount in our minds. The church was now a big yellow building (yellow insulation all around) with a huge green dome.

Leins were also filed by Primrose’s subcontractors who had not been paid by Primrose. When one door closes, however, God always opens another. And this whole project was just one manifestation of the Lords mercy – through the prayers of our patron Saint Dimitrie.


Sutiri to the Rescue

When Primrose notified the parish that he was stopping work, the building committee was left holding the proverbial bag. What now? Who was going to finish the church? Would it ever be finished? As dire as the situation was, the committee got down to work to find another contractor to complete the project. The building wasn’t protected against the elements and needed enclosing from winter weather, snow and rain. Various contractors were interviewed. Sam Giavara was extremely helpful with advice but had his own projects needing completion that prevented him from taking over. Two contractors were in the running after making their presentations.

As the Lord provides, Sam agreed to review the church’s project. Who could you trust more than your own parishioner? Sam consented to take on the task. Sam›s name is the Americanized version for his baptismal name Sutiri which is the Aromanian version of the Greek word Sotir which means, providentially enough, Savior. Sam really lived up to his name as the Savior of this project. He brought in his builder (OWI Construction), engineers, architect, computer and interior design with his wife Gina to review whatever had been done and what had to be redone. His report was very discouraging, but his confidence that it could be done was infectious! Hope had overcome pessimism and prayers had once again been answered.

More redo’s were necessary as we progressed in order to satisfy building codes. Just two weeks before the dome was placed, the town planners had lowered height requirements on buildings and Primrose and his designer computer generated a lowering of the building without thought of the interior consequences. Sam re-engineered the interior height to give us the beautiful vaulted ceilings and apse behind the altar, which was not in the previous drawings.

The church had paid out $1,500,000 for the work done and needed another $2,700,000 to complete the church, including $1,000,000 in rework. There was a major concern regarding cash flow and President Fatsy and Sam Giavara were working on solutions to the problem. Sam, through his rapport with the trade contractors, was able to convince them to complete the work in order to meet the rigorous schedule and open for Palm Sunday while President Fatsy, Fr. Cornel, Fr. George and the parish council were able to work out a $750 assessment on each member that would be used to pay off the contractors. In addition, some of the parish members loaned the church money to assist in this effort. Attorney Bob Nicola, working with Attorney Michael Lynch, had gotten some of the liens released and the bank released the rest of the mortgage money to pay off the contractors and suppliers. The immediate crisis had passed and all were relieved that we were able to keep our promises to the contractors that had worked continuously to complete the project in order to meet our Palm Sunday deadline.


St Dimitrie Dinner - 2007

At the St. Dimitrie Day Dinner in 2007 at Tashua Knolls country club in Trumbull, Sam and Gina were the honorees. In all the years of service to the Church as President of the Parish Council, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Engineering advisor and the spearhead for the Endowment and Memorial Funds (which reached over $500,000 enabling us to purchase our other property) and the successful AROY convention held in Bridgeport where Gina, along with George C. Fatsy, were Co-Advisors to Mac-AROY. Sam had donated $10,000, along with Nicholas and George P. Fatse, who each gave $10,000, matched by Theodore Tonna›s $30,000 to get the Endowment Fund a big head start. All this effort and leadership, on the part of Sam and Gina, was an honor very well deserved and a long time in coming.



Because of the dire need for funds to pay our subcontractors for finishing work a special assessment of $750 per member (originally it was $1,000 in order to pay the monies owed) was added to the dues. Approved by the General Assembly of January 2008, it was instituted for a five-year period. It really helped to reduce the pressure on the parish administration and saved the day. In addition, loans from certain individuals were made, especially from Alexander Ionescu and George Tonna ($100,000 each) and the parish was able to get through another critical period and set us on a sure footing.


Doubling Our Property

As noted, in December 2008, a Special General Assembly was held to purchase the property at 488 Sport Hill Road, the house next door (6.5 acres). The overwhelming majority (113 yeas, 2 abstain) was to go ahead with the purchase for $560,000. This doubled our parking area and gave the parish a rental income as well. The mortgage is covered by the rent and the additional monthly contributions of a few dedicated parishioners who are called the friends of St. Dimitrie.


Our First Service -

Was it really true? Would we really be able to use the church? A temporary Certificate of Occupancy was granted by the town of Easton for Palm Sunday of 2009, Holy Week and Pascha. The Church was filled to capacity and it was a glorious homecoming to our new home, our beloved church. It was bright and sunny and new and yet it looked the same – our iconastasis looked even better here, the bishop’s throne, the cantor’s stands, the icons, the panticrator in the dome were all brought from Clinton Avenue. It was our new beginning and we’ve now celebrated our 3rd Pascha in our church. Our sojourn at St. Nicholas seems so long ago.

The first Festival in our new church was a huge success. Many people came to enjoy the food-and to tour the new church in town.


85th Anniversary

Our 85th anniversary celebration was held in our beautiful new banquet hall. First Selectman of Easton, Tom Herrmann and his wife were our guests and were presented with a check for $1,000 for the town’s most deserving needs. In order to receive, we must give others as well even for the Church. Throughout the years the parish has always donated to many appeals. One of our most heartfelt causes is to help our beautiful little 7 year old, Diana Breaz undergo her treatments. May God hear our prayers.



The Junior group is still organized with Audriana Ocrain as its President and are involved in their activities and as Sunday School students and assistants. The Senior group is not formally organized but do get together in some activities. Both groups are involved in the annual bonfire at the Todeasa’s or now on the church grounds. They’re actively involved in helping at affairs and especially the annual Festival, and of course, in church services. One of their greatest contributions, beside the fact that they are among us worshiping and working, is their preservation and presentation of our ethnic heritage and dances. The Junior group is directed by Marianne Ocrain and the Senior group by Mary Ianus and John Babu. They’re the big hit of the night. The hope of the church is that they continue to grow in faith, devotion and service to keep their involvement in the life of the parish.



Our choir still continues strong under the direction of Gina Cook who has been the Director of over 50 years and her able Co-Director Diane Vieira. New members have joined them and some of our young people, as well, to enhance the beauty of the Divine Liturgy.

In honor of Gina’s long service to the parish, the choir loft has been named the Gina Pittu Cook Mezzanine.


Ladies Auxiliary

The Ladies Auxiliary and certain other women – young and old, of the parish are still the backbone of special events, dinners and other projects. They continue to make, bake and sell pitas, cuzonac, breads and specialty dinners. They are certainly the main supporters of the church’s spiritual process; retreats, presentations and church services as well as its material necessities. With all the hard work of the women of our parish, and the younger generation of women who, also, help and present the annual wine tasting event; they were able to furnish our whole new kitchen and equipment and pay for it at a cost of over $55,000. (It would have cost even more without some great deals). Now these women are preparing for this great day of consecration with all kinds of activities. God bless our Women!!


Longest Serving President

George C. Fatsy had already served as President (1971- 1973) (1992-1999) and then again during this crucial and critical period from our move from Clinton Avenue to the move into Sport Hill Road. Because the parish was in such a precarious position and of all the circumstances, the parish council had petitioned His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel and the Episcopate Council to allow an exception and extension of the time allowed by the Episcopate by-laws for consecutive terms. George was given tacit permission and enjoined by the Parish Council, with their utmost approval, to continue to serve his tenure until our financial situation was ameliorated. The onus of responsibility weighed heavily and the burden was great upon his shoulders. The most difficult position is of Parish Priest, but in this case of financial crisis, the heaviest burden was the parish council president. Agonizing over the decisions made and the insufficiency to control those matters, over which we have no control, have all been thrown upon him because of all the circumstances. He served until this year of consecration at which time he serves as Chairman of the Consecration Committee. He is the longest tenure of any president – the other two being Spiro Pittu and Spiro (Pete) Shanazu. His presidency was marked by balance and moderation and he worked hand in hand with Fr. Cornel in keeping the community together.


Our current president, Sam Giavara singled out six members of the community in the September, 2011 bulletin and George was one of them. Serving today as vice president demonstrates unequivocally his zeal for the church and love for the community. The other individuals mentioned in the bulletin were Attorney Robert Nicola, for so many reasons; William Balamaci, our current Secretary who is involved in many activities of this parish; Ted Schuster, our Treasurer for the staggering work of our budget and his computer skills; Preoteasa Marian and Vica Gallen, in the spirit of volunteerism. May God bless all our volunteers for their hard work and devotion to our community.


Church School

The church school continued to be admirably directed by Preoteasa Louisa for many years even in our years at St. Nicholas when we combined our classes. Our church school here at the new church was restarted in the autumn of our first year in Easton. There are 4 classes from elementary to middle school with Kathy Olschan and Betsy Cipu as Co-Directors for 2 years; and now Andrea Brosnan, along with Betsy Cipu and our dedicated teachers. Teachers will only later realize what an impact they have on children’s lives. There is plenty of room for growth and expansion.


Seasoned Citizens

The “youngest” – at least young at heart – meet every Thursday afternoon at the Church Hall. They have a room dedicated to the The Retirees where they have refreshments and the women play Bingo. The men go off into another area for pinochle or just plain good discussion. Unfortunately, their number has diminished, but it is replenished by those reaching that very special age in life. Attendees bring their friends who can join the group, also.

For many years Charles and Elizabeth “Liz” Geambazi were in charge in   coordinating their activities. They did a very admirable job. Eventually, others took over the reins: Tom Muzea, George and Julie Cipu and now for the past few years Peter and Florence Costulas.

When the “baby boomers” retire it will be a first in the history of the parish – baptized, Sunday school, Mac-AROY, married, maybe parish council/ladies auxiliary or other volunteer and retirees – that a person can have gone through every phase of the parish from beginning to end!



Throughout our journey, even without our church, the parish has managed to keep her Annual Festivals, which has grown larger over the years. Starting out as a one day Fall Festival, it’s now a 3-day affair and an additional 1-day event. Besides being a major fundraiser and vital necessity to the parish budget, it’s a wonderful time of fellowship for our parishioners and townspeople. Our Festival sponsors, through their stewardship, especially add to the Festival proceeds. Those young and younger, involved in its production, have developed strong bonds with each other and others find time to renew their long time friendships. It’s a time that we showcase our faith and heritage.

The church tours have become so popular that a good deal of time is devoted to them as people come singly or in groups. It’s become a formidable task and over the years we’ve had various people chairing the Festivals, but the past 7 years have been chaired by Ovidiu (Vito) Ocrain and Patti (Cook) Johnson.


Thank You.....

thank you…

Dear Lord, Jesus Christ,


WE THANK YOU for having guided us, the St. Dimitrie parish, into our 75th year to celebrate the jubilee as You had commanded.

WE THANK YOU for having delivered our fathers and grandfathers to this glorious land where we, their children, might worship in freedom.

WE THANK YOU for having given us men of fortitude, conviction and dedication as our spiritual leaders, the founders of our parish and all the past members and supporters of the church.


75th Anniversary 1999-2011

The 75th Anniversary celebration on October 21, 1999 was highlighted by a dinner held at the Marriott Hotel in Trumbull, Connecticut. There was a live band, which drew additional people who joined the festivities after dinner. It was a nostalgic and fun filled event. A Commemorative book which included the history of the first 75 years of our parish was given to all participants.

The event was a big success financially. The sum of $7,000 was raised for the Archdiocese. An additional $5,000 was raised by the Ladies Auxiliary and others. But the big surprise was the over $35,000 that was donated by the dinner participants for Archbishop Nathaniel’s newest project. His Eminence had been presented with an opportunity to purchase a parcel of property in Detroit which included a beautiful brick and stucco building. This eventually became the St. Andrew’s Mission Center and Monastery, containing a Monastery and its church, a separate Church for a very vibrant Pan-Orthodox Community, offices, dormitories, and an auditorium. Despite the modest asking price it was still difficult for our diocese to secure the necessary funds. Out parishioners were made aware of the dilemma by Parish Council President George C. Fatsy and immediately became the inspiration and impetus for His Eminence to proceed with the project that now brings together international participants for Orthodox outreach and growth. That day also became the inspiration for our own project, the relocation and building of our new parish home. Although it may have seemed a far-off vision at the time, it started our community on the road, which has culminated in the Consecration we celebrate today.




New Events

The parish council has been having both parish and larger community dinners on a semi-weekly and monthly basis in addition to our traditional Palm Sunday and St. Dimitrie Day dinners. It seems that the most lasting dinners and events are the Romanian Unification Day in January, St. Mary’s Dinner in August, Pre-Lenten dinner in November and St. Nicholas Fish dinner in December as well as an Annual New Year’s Eve party and a spring dance after Pascha. These are all done by different volunteers, not necessarily on the council, and many are completely donated.

The parish, also, has an ongoing food drive for the needy and Audrey Fatsy does the care packages for the military, pajama collection for the needy kids and oral hygiene for our soldiers.

Fr. Dr. Cornel Honored

In 2011, Fr. Cornel was honored with a well- attended luncheon and gifts for his 20 years of service to the parish and 30 years of priesthood. In his modesty, he didn’t want any recognition the parish would have done something more formal. Fr. Cornel has served the parish well over the years keeping a balance among the various groups in the parish and has inspired us in our journey to remain faithful and hopeful. All the stress of constructing a new church and the ensuing problems, brought out the best in both Fr. Cornel and President Fatsy in working together for the good of the community.

Our parish was indeed founded by Romanians, the majority of whom came from Macedonia (Albania, Greece, Yugoslavia) and enlarged by those from Romania over the years. There is no doubt that our religious heritage is Romanian Orthodox, thus the name. Even though all Orthodox have the same faith, doctrine and beliefs, it seems every nation gave its own particular little twist to some traditions. Some have kept traditions while others haven’t, so we all have minor details that differ. That doesn’t mean, however, and no one should ever think, that this church is only for Romanians and their descendants. The Lord said that His house was a house of prayer and worship for all people. St. Dimitrie's has always been proud of the fact that everyone who has come to us is welcome. The Church actively seeks anyone who loves the Lord or wishes to know Him. The parish is made up of many Americans of non- Romanian heritage who have joined our parish either through marriage or through a genuine love of the Orthodox faith.



Two Liturgies

When we moved into our new Church, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel gave his blessings to have two Divine Liturgies as requested by some of our parishioners. There were questions, of course, of dividing or splitting the community, which was to be seen. The reasoning was to have an all English Holy Liturgy not only for our parishioners but, also, for those who would be attracted by it. At the same time the second Holy Liturgy could remain the same as before and perhaps a bit more Romanian to keep a status quo. The second Liturgy has the Choir, the first are cantors and people responding.

It seems that both Divine Liturgies are serving the needs intended. Most of the English Liturgy faithful is new to the faith or to the parish. Many of the parishioners who originally attended the combined Liturgy attend both. So that we have many new people in both Holy Liturgies that we wouldn’t have had or didn’t have. And the best part is that the faithful are really enjoying their worship experience. Between the 2 Holy Liturgies the Sunday School classes are held and the children are able to receive Holy Communion at one or the other services.



We have had many departures and funerals in our new Church and all of them have requested donations to the Church in lieu of flowers. However, the parish has had two major bequests in 2011. Mr. Eugene Panaitescu, reposed, and his wife (who just celebrated her 92nd birthday) bequeathed their home to the Church (while she continues to live in it). The second bequest is from the estate of George Seferi who left us acreage in a wealthy town. They all had the Church community in mind. May God grant repose to all those who have fallen asleep in Jesus in the hope of the Resurrection!


Bible Classes

Our continuing education for adults takes place with three (3) classes during the week – 2 daytime (1 in English and the other conducted by Fr. Cornel in Romanian) and a Tuesday evening class under the auspices of the Holy Cross Center and St. Dimitrie’s by Fr. George.

Retreats during the Lenten periods have been and will continue to be presented. Some very interesting videos and discussions have also been given on the subject of Fr. Arsenie, the Saint of Ardeal (Transylvania). Additional services are also held during the week, Vespers, Paraclis, Akathists, Holy Liturgies on holy days and Holy Unction services. This year on

Wednesday, September 14, 2011, the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, some visiting clergy from Romania served at the Divine Liturgy and at the Holy Unction service in the evening. The staretz (Abbot) of St. Dimitrie Monastery in Romania, together with a priest monk and deacon monk, a nun, deacon and cantor from NYC. Together with our clergy and cantors held a healing and forgiveness’ service for a large group of faithful. It was a beautiful service and seemed like Holy Week!

President’s Sam Quote

As soon as we finish with the Consecration, I’m preparing for our 100th Anniversary. The 100th Anniversary of our parish is a mere 12 years away. Start getting ready! May the Lord allow all of us to witness that milestone in the life of this community. We are here to stay – we’re not going anywhere else nor are we moving again. This beautiful parcel of God’s country shows all His handiwork that God has created, in wisdom has He made them all. The iconography is beginning to adorn our church walls. The platytera icon in the apse over the altar was just completed in time for the consecration. This was done at no cost to the Church by a donor who remains anonymous for now. The overall iconography will be painted on a donor basis as well. Hopefully, it can be done by the 100th Anniversary.


When King David made the collection for the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, scripture says then the people rejoiced as a result of their willingness, for they offered willingly to the Lord with their whole heart. (1Chronicles 29:9). King Solomon, at the dedication of the completed temple, prayed the house built for your name, hear their prayer and their supplications from your dwelling place in Heaven and sustain their cause and be merciful to your people – when the people saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the house, they bowed their faces to the ground – and worshipped and praised the Lord saying For He is good, For His Mercy endures forever

2 Chronicles 7:3-

Message from Fr George M.Coca

This is the day of our consecration of our Temple, which the Lord has helped us build. We pray that He is pleased with our offerings and sacrifice and that He is pleased with our faithfulness to Him and to His holy Church. It’s truly in hindsight that we can see His mighty accomplishments for us in the face of our travails. He has been our sure and certain guide through the desert to our holy land and our Temple.

In gratitude to the Lord, we bow down before Him;

In gratitude to the Lord,

we acknowledge His guidance;

In gratitude to the Lord, we glorify and worship His sovereignty over us;

In gratitude to the Lord, we bless Him for having accomplished for us this beautiful Church;

In gratitude to the Lord, we thank Him for the leadership with which He has provided us;


In gratitude to the Lord, we bless Him for this faithful community of St. Dimitrie.



*Note. In any church our size, over such a long period of time, there are countless numbers of people that have worked hard and diligently with all their hearts for their beloved parish. It’s absolutely impossible to mention them all in this limited treatise. The names that have been mentioned are those that keep turning up in our history, perhaps being at the right place at the right time, but, surely, deservedly as well. There are so many men, women, and young adults who have had a powerful impact on our wonderful community. We, as a community, thank all those who have worked and still work so diligently for our church – treasurers, council members, epitrops, and parish members we honor all of you today! Thank God that He knows our hearts and intentions and it is with certainty that all those good Souls are remembered by Him for all those good works. May the good Lord bless them richly in His Heavenly Kingdom and God bless us all!

Rev. Fr. George M. Coca

When King David made the collection for the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, scripture says then the people rejoiced as a result of their willingness, for they offered willingly to the Lord with their whole heart. (1Chronicles 29:9). King Solomon, at the dedication of the completed temple, prayed the house built for your name, hear their prayer and their supplications from your dwelling place in Heaven and sustain their cause and be merciful to your people – when the people saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the house, they bowed their faces to the ground

– and worshipped and praised the Lord saying For He is good, For His Mercy endures forever

2 Chronicles 7:3-


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St. Dimitrie Romanian Orthodox Church 504 Sport Hill Rd. Easton, CT 06612 (203) 268-8237


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