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The History of the Annunciation Cathedral Of the Metropolis of Chicago, 1892-2010

by Rev. Fr. Nicholas Nikokavouras, Dean Emeritus

The Annunciation Cathedral of Chicago was established in 1892 by a group of people who had emigrated from Laconia and some of the Greek Islands. The community first rented a hall on Randolph near Union Street and asked the Holy Synod of Athens for a priest. Fr. Panagiotis of Ithaca was signed as the first priest and in March of 1892 the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated.

The Greek community later rented a Masonic Temple on Kinzie near Clark, a more suitable location for worship. 1893 saw the first archieratical liturgy celebrated at the church when Bishop Dionysios Latas from Zakinthos visited America as a representative to the World's Columbian Exposition. After Fr. Phiambolis in 1899, two other priests continued to serve the Annunciation, Fr. Nectarios Mavrokordatos and Fr. Theodoros Prousianos.

In 1909 the community purchased the lot on which the Cathedral stands today from the estate of Dr. Edward Charles Henrotin at a cost of $18,000.

1910 saw the completion of the Cathedral at an estimated cost of $100,000. It was modeled after a Cathedral in Athens and today stands as the oldest surviving building in Chicago constructed as a Byzantine church.

In those years the Annunciation church was served by Fr. Constantinos Nicoletopoulos and was succeeded by Frs. Hariton Panagopoulos and Constantinos Hadzidemietriou.

In 1927, under the spiritual leadership of Fr. Niketas Kesses, the Annunciation community purchased land on the North side of Chicago to build the Solon Greek School and a chapel which was dedicated to St. Demetrios. Gradually this small chapel became the St. Demetrios Church which is still found at 2727 W. Winona today. Fr. Niketas Kesses served the church with great zeal and dedication for 44 years.

During the Great Depression the community rallied to save the churches and massive fundraising activities were inaugurated to reduce the burdensome indebtedness. Also in 1930, due to the widening of La Salle Blvd., the entire church building was lifted off its foundation and moved back. In October of 1933, the Annunciation Community hosted the 5th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress.

In 1940 the two churches were renamed the United Greek Orthodox Churches of Chicago, the Annunciation – St. Demetrios.

1942 saw the Annunciation named as the Cathedral of the Second Archdiocesan District by His Eminence, Archbishop Athenagoras who subsequently because the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The first national conference of the youth of the Archdiocese was held in Chicago in 1951 and the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Cathedral by Archbishop Michael.

In 1971 Fr. George Economou came to the Cathedral and served it as parish priest for one year. Various priests from St. Demetrios served.

In 1973 Fr. Nicholas Nikokavouras of Corfu was assigned to the Cathedral by His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos and serves as Dean Emeritus today.

In 1977 the renovation of the Cathedral was begun. The iconography of the dome was completed in 1981 by the iconographer Stathis Trahanatzis, who returned in 1990 to complete the four evangelists on the pendentives and the Platyera located in the Apse of the Sanctuary.

In 1983 the Annunciation Cathedral and St. Demetrios were separated into two communities.

In 1990 the Cathedral was honored by the presence of our late Patriarch Demetrios I who greeted and blessed the children of the entire diocese.

In 1992 the community of the Annunciation Cathedral celebrated its hundredth anniversary of Orthodoxy in the City of Chicago. This is a golden page in the history of this community and brings honor to the Greek immigrants who brought and spread the Greek Orthodox Faith to this great land. Fr. Demetri Kantzavelos was appointed assistant priest of the Cathedral in 1992.

On January 1, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago appointed Fr. Stamatios G. Sfikas as Dean of the Annunciation Cathedral.

The Annunciation also has the traditional stasithia which were used for seating the elderly. The community today has some 400 families who with zeal and dedication support the Cathedral to continue its rich spiritual mission throughout the next century and be the beacon of Orthodoxy in the Metropolis of Chicago.

Orthros and Divine Liturgy
Sunday School Begins immediately after Holy Communion
Sunday, November 19 – 8:15 AM

Divine Liturgy
Tuesday, November 21 – 9:00 AM

Great Vespers of St. Katherine
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 601 S Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60644, USA
Friday, November 24 – 7:00 PM

Orthros & Hierarchical Divine Liturgy
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 601 S Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60644, USA
+Feast of St. Katherine
Saturday, November 25 – 8:30 AM

Orthros and Divine Liturgy
Sunday School Begins immediately after Holy Communion
Sunday, November 26 – 8:15 AM

Great Vespers
Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church 5649 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660, United States
Wednesday, November 29 – 7:00 PM

Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy
Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church 5649 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660, United States
Thursday, November 30 – 8:30 AM

Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy & 6 month Memorial of Metropolitan Iakovos
Sunday School Begins immediately after Holy Communion
Sunday, December 3 – 8:15 AM

Orthros & Divine Liturgy
Feast of St. Barbara
Veneration of her Holy Relic
Monday, December 4 – 9:00 AM

Great Vespers of St. Nicholas
St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 10301 Kolmar Ave, Oak Lawn, IL 60453, USA
Tuesday, December 5 – 7:00 PM

Orthros & Divine Liturgy
+Feast of St. Nicholas
Wednesday, December 6 – 9:00 AM

Orthros & Divine Liturgy
+Feast of St. Anna
Saturday, December 9 – 8:30 AM

Orthros and Divine Liturgy
Sunday School Begins immediately after Holy Communion
Sunday, December 10 – 8:15 AM

Great Vespers
Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church 12307 S Ridgeland Ave, Palos Heights, IL 60463, United States
Feast of St. Spyridon
Monday, December 11 – 7:00 PM

Orthros & Divine Liturgy
+Feast of St. Spyridon & Veneration of his holy relic
Tuesday, December 12 – 9:00 AM

Vigil for St. Elefterios
Great Vespers, Blessing of the Loaves, Orthros, Anointing, Veneration of the Holy Relic & Divine Liturgy
Thursday, December 14 – 6:30 PM

Orthros and Divine Liturgy
Sunday School Begins immediately after Holy Communion
Sunday, December 17 – 8:15 AM

Christmas Fast
Wednesday, November 15 – 12:00 AM

Meeting of the General Assembly
Sunday, November 19 – 11:30 AM

Cathedral Office Closed
Thursday, November 23 – 12:00 AM

Feed The Hungry
Annunciation Cathedral
Thursday, November 23 – 11:30 AM

Catechism
Tuesday, November 28 – 6:00 PM

125th Cathedral Gala
The Drake Hotel 140 E Walton Pl, Chicago, IL 60611, United States
Saturday, December 2 – 6:00 PM

Family Night
Lincoln Park Zoo 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, United States
Zoo Lights Family Outing
Saturday, December 9 – 4:30 PM

Parish Council Elections
Sunday, December 10 – 11:30 AM

Feed The Hungry
Annunciation Cathedral
Tuesday, December 12 – 11:30 AM