Holy Trinity's Greek Orthodox Church rises in McCandless
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People driving past the corner of Babcock Boulevard and Cumberland Road in McCandless may soon be able to imagine that they're seeing a traditional Greek village: Gleaming white, gold-domed church on a hill flanked by homes and businesses.
McCandless Crossing's fourth and final phase of development is starting to take shape as Holy Trinity's Greek Orthodox Church rises from its newly-poured foundation.
Featuring Byzantine era architecture with the distinctive gold dome, white stucco and brick façade, Holy Trinity's church will rival the architectural beauty of Divine Providence's castle-style Mother House, which sits directly across the street.
"In old world Greece, life followed the church. We're adding an important spiritual home to this area, and we plan to fully open our doors to our neighbors," said the Rev. John Touloumes, Holy Trinity pastor, noting that the church's community center will be open to the public.
"We look forward to adding value and facilities to the area," Father Touloumes said. "We believe this was a God-chosen place for us."
According to parish council member George Dickos, 55, of McCandless, the new church will seat 338, plus 50 standing. The community center will seat 400 and feature a full kitchen.
"La Roche had stipulated that they would only sell the land to an institution," Mr. Dickos noted of the 10 acres purchased in 2007 with funds from the estate of a donor.
"We've talked with [McCandless Crossing developer] Kevin Dougherty of AdVenture, and they will put the road in."
The congregation moved to the North Hills in June 2011 and has since been conducting services in the former Northway Elementary School in Ross on Browns Lane while members wait for their nearly $8 million church to be finished in the spring of 2013.
Last week's "Taste of Greece" food festival generated funds for the new building.
"We feel very welcomed here," said Father Touloumes, adding that it is his congregation's intention to become an integral part of the North Hills community.
As one of the first buildings to break ground there, Holy Trinity Church will provide the cornerstone of McCandless Crossing's new town center.
Plans include a movie theater, grocery store, retail stores, childcare facility, townhomes and a hotel.
"The whole design and beauty of the complex will round out the [development], creating a crossroad of body, soul, mind and a community that cares about people," Father Touloumes said.
First Published May 31, 2012 5:26 am