Cathedral History

The first known Greek Orthodox Christians in the Richmond area arrived in 1896. More arrived at the turn of the century and a Greek Benevolent Society was formed in 1906. Many of the early immigrants came from Asia Minor, choosing the city because of a thriving economy. When a sufficient number began congregating for fellowship and celebration of Church and Greek holidays, it was decided to form a Church community. This took place in 1917, when a priest was assigned and the community began to worship in rented facilities. The parish purchased its own worship center in 1920, and a decade later moved to a larger facility, which had previously housed an Episcopal congregation.

Many priests contributed to the growth and early success of the new community, but only served for short periods oftime. With the arrival of Fr. Theodoros L. Sideris in 1937, greater stability prevailed. When he was elevated to the episcopacy in 1954, Fr. Constantine N. Dombalis began his ministry, which would last for forty-one years. Under his guidance, the Church grew and took on an active role in ecumenical and civic affairs.

Fire destroyed the sanctuary in 1957 and the national leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Archbishop lakovos, blessed the grounds for a new facility on Malvern Avenue in 1959. The former pastor, Bishop Theodosios of Pittsburg, returned for the first service in the new structure in 1961. The Church was designated the Cathedral of Virginia in the bicentennial year 1976. Two former communities previously served by Saints Constantine and Helen, namely Charlottesville and Fredericksburg, now have thriving communities of their own.

The Cathedral offers the full regimen of liturgical, sacramental, educational, and community activities. Fr. Nicholas G. Bacalis began his service to the community in 1996 and is assisted by Fr. John Manuel, who was ordained by Archbishop Demetrios at the Cathedral in 2001. Fr. Manuel oversees the Christian Education and Youth Ministries of the Cathedral. Our Greek cultural heritage is enhanced through the Greek School and fraternal organizations. The community is blessed to have Orthodox Christians of many different ethnic backgrounds. At the basis ofthe entire ministry is the continuing dedication ofthe Cathedral membership to our God incarnate in the three persons of the Holy Trinity. May our gracious Lord continue to bless our Cathedral community, her members, and the ministries she undertakes.