Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Nashville, Tennessee, is under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit. The Metropolis of Detroit is a part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
A BRIEF HISTORY
HOLY TRINITY GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH, NASHVILLE
The first Greek Orthodox settler of Nashville came from another large city in the United States. In 1884, Mr. Frank Mooney, a staunch Greek immigrant from the city of Sparta, was living in St. Louis with his three brothers. His primary way of earning a living was peddling fruits and candies on a pushcart. He was a progressive young man with a vision for the future, and heard about the opportunities Nashville offered in fruit merchandising. It was decided that one of the brothers should come to Nashville to survey the situation. Following this, Mr. Mooney himself arrived and began a business selling fruit and candies. His descendants, along with the descendants of many other pioneer families, are still active members of the parish.
When early Greek immigrants began increasing in Nashville at the turn of the century, the need for a religious and cultural center became evident. In 1905 the first attempt at this was effected under the name of the Greek-American Mutual Help Association “Socrates.” Besides its benevolent objectives, this association endeavored to fill the colony’s religious needs by inviting Greek Orthodox priests from Atlanta and Memphis to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Later the association affiliated itself to the Panhellenic Union and adopted its name.
Until 1917, priests from other cities conducted the worship services in Nashville. It soon became clear that it was costly to call a priest to come to Nashville every time there was a Liturgy, Baptism, Wedding, or Funeral. Devout Greek Orthodox women spurred their husbands in the task of developing the idea of establishing a permanent church community in Nashville. Not long after this, contributions began pouring into the general fund. A committee decided to purchase a building on 6th Avenue. This site was formerly The Wallace School, and before that, a section of Vanderbilt University. After appropriate modification was done to transform this structure into a Greek Orthodox Church, in 1917 the church community was named Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.
As the congregation grew and dispersed itself throughout the greater Nashville area and beyond, and as the need and desire to re-locate became clear, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church moved to its present 13½ acre site on Franklin Road in May of 1986. A new community center built at that time served as a temporary place for worship. Groundbreaking for a new church sanctuary took place on March 3, 1991 and the current classic Byzantine-style building (modeled on “Aghios Sostes” on Syngrou Avenue in Athens) was completed by March of 1992. Future development of the property calls for at least one more building, which will house offices, classrooms, a parish library, and a daily prayer chapel. Landscaping will accommodate a picnic area, badminton and volleyball, an herb and flower garden, and an outdoor patio.
Over the years, Holy Trinity has undergone significant changes in its makeup. Among the 120+ member families, there is still a sizeable portion of Greek background, including Greek immigrants, but primarily Greek-Americans of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation. In addition, since the mid 1970′s Orthodox Christians from other cultural and national backgrounds have joined and play a vital role. These include: Orthodox from Lebanon and Syria; Copts from Egypt; Ethiopians and Eritreans; Russians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, and Serbs; Georgians and Romanians; and, within the last few years, a number of Armenian and Assyrian refugee families. Further, the significant number of converts from non-Orthodox backgrounds has climbed to nearly 50% of the Parish. Therefore, while still retaining its Greek Orthodox spiritual and cultural roots, Holy Trinity is today a richly diverse parish that reflects the worldwide composition of the Orthodox Church.
Since the time of its original charter in 1917, many priests have served the parish. Among the most recent are: the late Fr. Steve Zannis (1952-1960); the late Fr. John Sfikas (1962-1977); the late Fr. Paul Michaelides (1978-1979); Fr. Gregory Wingenbach (1980-1983); Fr. Mark Arey (1983-1988); the late Fr. Nicholas Capilos (1988-1990); Fr. Harry Pappas (1990-1995); Fr. George Vaporis (1995-2004); Fr. Mark Arey again (2004-2007); Fr. Nicholas Harbatis (2007-2008); and Fr. Gregory Hohnholt (2008-present).
The Parish is administered by the Parish priest and the nine elected lay members of the Parish Council. Organizations include the Greek Orthodox Ladies Society “Philoptochos” (“friends of the poor”), devoted to the church and social concerns; a church school program for toddlers through high school; Choir; Chanters’ group; the Young Adult League (YAL); the Greek Orthodox Youth Association (GOYA) for teenagers; the Circle of Abraham (for Senior citizens); and a Greek language program for adults and children. Programs and special activities include catechism (basic teachings of the Orthodox Church) for adults, weekly Bible Study, periodic Wednesday evening “Family Night,” and an annual spiritual retreat. The Order of St. Anna is a volunteer program caring for the holy things in the Church. We have men’s softball and basketball teams, and an annual Greek Festival (September), Bake Sale (December) and Greek Night (a dinner dance) event occurring usually in the spring. There are also many committees in which members of the parish can also become involved for example: Stewardship, Iconography, Outreach and Philanthropy. The parish also supports the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) at Vanderbilt University. Also affiliated with Holy Trinity are a chapter of the American Hellenic Education Progressive Association (AHEPA), a men’s fraternal organization devoted to fellowship, education and philanthropy, and The Daughters of Penelope (affiliated with the AHEPA). We also have two Greek dance troupes: Palamakia for adults and Parthenon for children.