The history of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church had its beginning in the year 1911 when the first influx of Greek immigrants began to arrive in this country. The stay of many of these immigrants was short-lived, since with the outbreak of the Balkan wars in 1912 a large number left in order to fight for the liberation of the Balkans.
Although during the ensuing years they again began to arrive, it was not until 1915 that these arrivals were in great numbers. Many were employed by Bethlehem Steel, while others preferred to establish themselves in business. By 1916 these immigrants, realizing the need and importance of preserving their religion, language and customs, purchased the former St. Joseph's Episcopal Church at 1224 East Forth Street, and this property served the Greek community for forty-six years. The first pastor was the Rev. John Mandranis who came from Asia Minor. Between 1920 and 1930 many of the members left for other areas of the country, but by 1930 a large number returned, this time to establish themselves permanently.
The 30's witnessed a great deal of progress, and Greek parents began to give thought and concern to their children's future. Unfortunately, these plans were interrupted with the start of World War II. With the end of the war in 1945, their children returned home and began making plans for the future.
Many of the young people entered such professions as teaching, engineering, medicine, law and many others. Still others went into the business world, whether taking over the business that their fathers had begun, or entering new enterprises of their own. Realizing that the church on east Forth Street could no longer meet the needs of the community, the present site at 1607 West Union Boulevard was purchase in 1955. In December 1958 it was unanimously voted that a new church, school and social auditorium be built, and ground breaking ceremonies were held in March 1959. Construction of the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was begun in 1960, lasting for two years, with the opening of the doors service (thyranoixia) observed in April 1962.
The new location, the new church, the abundance of space, and the extra facilities were a dream come true. The new church was a symbol of the faith, the courage and the endurance of the Greek Orthodox people. Reverend Steve Sarigiannis was the spiritual leader during the decade of the Sixties. He was the beneficiary of this new beginning and his task was to take advantage of the great progress and to begin actualizing the religious dreams and aspirations of the Greek Orthodox people of the Lehigh Valley.
In the next two decades under the spiritual leadership of Rev. Theodore Sideris, the community continued its sacred mission. The Sunday School and Greek School programs along with a special emphasis on the religious services of the Church brought the community to a deeper realization of its lofty purpose and character.
The beginning of the 1990's marked the arrival of Reverend Michael Varvarelis. Various new programs were added in the life of the community which necessitated the decision of the General Assembly in 1990 to have a second full time priest to deal with the manifold needs of our beloved Community.
Our St. Nicholas Parish belongs in the top 15 list of the largest parishes of our beloved Archdiocese. The Priests and the Parish Council work hard to serve this wonderful community with the many different programs, ministries and projects that are undertaken. We look towards the 21st century with much hope, promise and determination to serve our children and the entire St. Nicholas Community.
In Memoriam - Εις Μνήμην
Archpriest Michael S. Romanchak, 1/1/2012
Our Sunday worship services currently are
from September to the beginning of June.
Beginning July 2nd:
One Liturgy only
(English and Greek)
Divine Liturgy 9-10:30am
Ministries, Programs, and Organizations:
- Sunday School
- Altar Boys
- Church Choir
- Bible Classes (Greek and English)
- Research of Orthodoxy Class
- Spiritual Life and Missions Committee
- Inquirer's Class
- Radio Ministry
- Campus Ministry
- Pre-Marital Counseling
- Vacation Church School
- Dance Troupe (traditional Greek Dances)
- Senior Citizens
- Lending Library
- Welcoming Committee
- Greek School (Children and Adults)
We have programs available for all ages:
- Senior Citizens
- Young Adults (Ages 18 and up)
- GOYA (Ages 13 to 17)
- JOY (Ages 8 to 12)
- Sunday School (Grades K-12)
- Pre-School (3 and 4 year olds)