Our Parish History
A scene from the celebration of March 25, 1926 at the entrance of the new community church of The Transfiguration of Christ in Corona, NY.
A small group of Greek pioneers living in Corona met for the first time in March 1926 with their primary concern being the establishment of a Greek Orthodox community in Corona to meet the spiritual needs of the Greeks in the area. Their decisiveness manifested itself one week later, on Palm Sunday, when they held their first Divine Liturgy in the church converted from what was formerly a store on Roosevelt Avenue and 94th St. In September, 1926 the purchase of a house located between 38th Ave. and 99th St. was decided, which was consequently converted into a church and remained in use until the opening of the new church in April, 1957.
The first priests who served the community were the Archimandrites Daniel Skarpas and Constantas Statheros, who remained for a short time; and Fr. Nikolaos Andriopoulos who stayed until 1928, at which time Archimandrite Alexandros Gerontidakis assumed the duties of parish priest and teacher for 28 years, until the assignment of Archimandrite Evmenios Tselentakis, on December 1, 1956. He served the community for 27 years and it was during this period that the new church and school were built.
The ever-memorable Fr. Alexandros Gerontidakis with members of the first parish council.
The opening of the new church of Transfiguration in 1958
The year 1955 was a landmark year for the construction of the new church. It was then that the privately owned lot on 38th Ave. and 98th St. was chosen as the site for the new church, which was built through collections and the publication of a special journal, along with the cooperation and participation of all the community members-the tireless workers of the lords Vineyard. On Palm Sunday 1958, the opening of the present day church of transfiguration took place amidst a jubilant atmosphere, with the blessings of the then Archbishop of America Michael.
The dreams of so many thousands of residents were realized. The decades of toil and sacrifice from the tireless faithful, both the notable and the anonymous, had taken form. The beautiful new byzantine church became home to the love and prayers of the Greeks of Corona and the greater New York area. Up until today, this church is the jewel of the neighborhood and the pride of the Greeks who established it, adorned it and continue to maintain it, with ample care and sanctity. Even for those who do not live in Corona now, but who trace their roots from here, this church stands as a unique spiritual center-point.
The ever-memorable Archbishop of America Michael at the opening of the new church. (To the left in the photo is the newly assigned proistameno of Transfiguration; the Very Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Evmenios Tselentakis of blessed memory)
The interior of the Church of Transfiguration prior to the fire of 1988
The interior of the Church of Transfiguration after the fire of 1988.