Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England

This profile was last updated in 2014

History

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, referred to as the “mother church” of the Greek Orthodox Church in New England, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Boston and the seat of the Metropolitan of New England, Bishop Methodios. Founded in 1903, it was the first Cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere. It is now officially designated as a Boston landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. For ten years before the parish was established, members of Boston’s small Hellene community came together when possible to hold services in rented halls. A permanent priest was finally brought from Greece in the early 1910s. The church housed a reading room, schools for teaching English to immigrants and Greek to youth, and hosted a Greek ladies’ benevolent society. From the mid-1960s to the 1980s, the Greek community discussed whether to relocate the Cathedral to deal with the increasing suburbanization of its members and the deterioration of the surrounding neighborhood. The result was not relocation but renovation and rejuvenation projects designed to stem the exodus of members. Renovations continued intermittently until the early 1990s and included the construction of a community center, chapel and meeting space in Brookline.

Description

The architecture of the cathedral, built between 1923-4, is Byzantine in style with a large central dome and four smaller domes. The interior architecture features soaring arches that are supported by immense pillars capped in classic Greek design. From the 1950s on, various artists were commissioned to decorate the cathedral with Byzantine iconography. The radiant stained glass windows, which date from 1943, and the large crystal chandeliers also contribute to the visual majesty of the cathedral’s interior.

Activities and Schedule

Services are held every Sunday morning and on Saints’ feast days. Cathedral organizations include the Greek School (teaching Greek language and Hellenic history, geography, religion, and culture to students in kindergarten through grade 7) and the Cathedral Sunday School (teaching Greek Orthodox religion to students from preschool to grade 12), as well as a Youth Association, the Cathedral Choir, the Senior Guild, and the Philoptochos Society (a benevolent organization). Every Friday, a playgroup called Mommy and Me is held for mothers with small children. Once a year there is a Greek Festival at the community center with food, music and dancing.