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Restored Hellenic Church Opens this Weekend

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Parishioners of the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Buffalo return home this weekend. Their newly restored church will host its first services since a devastating fire a year-and-a-half ago.

It was a glorious weekend in late May 2001. The church was celebrating the silver anniversary of its popular Hellenic Festival. But as volunteers were cleaning up from the festival, a fire was discovered in the church. The damage was substantial. Making matters worse, the fire was started by a young parishioner.

Father James Doukas, pastor the the Hellenic Orthodox Church, says the first few months after the fire were difficult and painful. But then, he says, spirits began rising.

Doukas says the church now has a hardwood rather than concrete floor. And the church columns are painted in gold. Much of the restoration was done by professional construction crews. But Doukas says they were joined by parish volunteers, some armed with Q-tips.

Doukas says parishioners will honor Buffalo firefighters and construction workers at a special service tomorrow night. Following Sunday's first liturgy in the restored church, the entire community is invited to an open house starting at 2:30.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Mark Scott's report.