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History

The Church of the Annunciation is a beautiful and unique Greek Orthodox Church, that combines harmoniously two traditions: externally the ancient Ionian temple and internally a byzantine basilica.

The church

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More than the lighthouse of Orthodox worship for the Hellenic community in Bucharest, much more than a landmark of its city, the Church of the Annunciation encapsulates a precious piece of Greek history of the 19th century diaspora; Harokopos, Zappas, Dragoumis, Halepas, Maraslis, Liokis-Leivadas, Chrissovelonis, Tombros, some of the prominent Greeks without whose efforts our church would not exist.

The idea

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The Hellenic community in Bucharest was formally recognized in 1874 under the name “Orphaeus“ and set as its first priority the founding of a church where liturgies would be in greek, fulfilling the spiritual needs of the community. It would take about 25 years before the idea would materialize.

The decision

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May 15th, 1883: in the home of the Greek ambassador Marcos Dragoumis, a Committee consisting of the ambassador as President, Constantinos Zappas (Vice-President), Nicolaos Chrissovelonis (Treasurer) and four other members decide to raise funds to build a church.

The challenges

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Turning a decision into reality faced many problems: uniting the Hellenic community, raising the necessary funds, securing the appropriate location, obtaining government permits. Sixteen years have gone by since the “Decision” and no material progress. So, in 1890-91 members of the community establish the “Annunciation” society to provide impetus.

The benefactors

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The perennial funding issue was finally solved in January 1898. Under the condition of maintaining anonymity for a year, a prominent member of the community, an immigrant from the island of Kefalonia, promises the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy that he will provide exclusively all necessary funds.

The cornerstone

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25 March 1899: on Greece’s national day, the day of the Annunciation, after the liturgy at Stavropoleos church members of the community go to Pache Protopopescu street to attend the blessing of laying the foundation stone of the Church at its current location.

The basilica

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Long before the blessing of the founding stone, the Press had published that, externally, the Church would resemble the “Theseion”, including a “peristyle” from pentelic marble. Analysing the drawings by the architect A. Lardel and the actual building, it is evident that the construction of the church does not deviate from the original design.

First prayer

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On March 25th, 1901, on Palm Sunday, the same day as the Greece national day, the first Liturgy in the Church of the Annunciation was held. The Greek Ambasador Gheorghios A. Arghiropoulos was present, in the middle of a very large and enthusiastic congregation.

The artists

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Chalepas, Metaxas, Tombros, Liokis-Leivadas all “lent a hand” in the making of the church.

The clergy

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The first priest of the Greek Church was Archimandrite Jean Nicodemus, who served from 1901 until 1925. Others will follow, equally dedicated to serve their higher purpose.

The landmark

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Mixed conceptual elements which converge into an unique architectural achievement.

Recently

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The community is growing again due to new arrivals from Greece. Holy Liturgy is attended regularly by families with young children, Romanians with Greek heritage and others who appreciate the authentic byzantine ritual and serenity.

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