Carrying the Beacon of light, "the Orthodox Faith", the true Holy Catholic Apostolic Faith founded 2000 years ago by our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, John Gretes, who is acknowledged as Norfolk's first Greek immigrant, settled here in 1898. Shortly thereafter, George Christopoulos and his wife Paraskevi arrived. The names of Christopoulos and Gretes appear frequently as the founding fathers of the Greek Orthodox community, here, in Norfolk Virginia.
As the community's leader, George Christopoulos led a small committee raising $300 to appoint a priest and start a building fund for a church here in Norfolk.
Previously, the spiritual needs of Norfolk's Greek residents had been served on an irregular basis by the Rev. Fr. Constantine Doropoulos who traveled from Baltimore, Maryland to serve Liturgy, using the facilities of St. Paul's Church on St. Paul's Boulevard and City Hall Avenue.
It was not until, March 3, 1911, Sunday of Orthodoxy, (see Greek Orthodox Holy Days) when the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the newly appointed, Rev. Fr. George Smyrnakis, our community's first Holy Father. At that time services moved to Christ and St Luke's Church which stood at Freemason and Cumberland Streets, serving celebration to our 25 member congregation.
1913. Saw, our first parish general assembly electing a board of trustees, and the first president, George Christopoulos. Six years later, following an intensive fundraising drive, the church at Freemason and Cumberland Streets was purchased.
While the church on Freemason Street served us well, the ever-growing Greek Orthodox population facilitated the need for a larger complex, in 1943, a new church building fund drive was initiated. The General Assembly in 1947 authorized the purchase of a parcel of land located at Granby and Fife Streets, our present location.
The fifties were a time of great expansion for our community. Fundraising, planning and construction were all underway to create our new facility. Moreover, through the efforts of our faithful, in 1952 construction of our new church began. Following Groundbreaking ceremonies in 1953, a comer-stone was laid in 1954, and on March 27, 1955, the first services were held our new and beautiful Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Granby Street.
Since those founding years interest in our faith has grown ten fold not only for the Greek-American Faithful but for people of different walks of life which has again facilitated expanding, building a bookstore, meeting rooms and many classrooms for the spiritual development of those faithful.
Visionary and then Parish Council President Theodore R Constant, helped meet and complete the next phases of development, Our He1lenic Center opening on March 8, 1959 and in 1960, Rev. Fr. Bithos and his family moved into the church's newly completed parish house.
Continuing with Mr. Constant's vision, our community has again expanded adding to it, with all the art and beauty of a true Byzantine Church, Saint Theodore's Chapel.
Today, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral is a true spiritual center of almost seven hundred families, people from all lifestyles, and all sharing in one thing, the one true light of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.