Greek Orthodox bishop to lead inaugural service at McCandless site

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The new Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in McCandless will open with a ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and the celebration will continue with three days of events.

His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, the Greek Orthodox bishop, will lead the congregation, clergy and choirs into the church for the first service.

Construction on the $8.9 million project began in December 2011. The complex includes the church, which seats 365 people, and Holy Trinity Center, a community center and banquet facility.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event of a church,” said the Rev. John Touloumes, pastor of the congregation of 300 families.

“For some members in their late 70s, 80s and 90s, they'll have that joyous experience again.”

One day before Pentecost, which is Sunday, the congregation will commemorate the Saturday of Souls. The names of deceased members will be remembered.

“This is an extra blessing from God,” Touloumes said of the timing for the opening. “The church not only looks forward, but it recognizes its history and foundation all the way back to the days of Christ and his apostles.”

George Dickos, parish council president, said the project began a decade ago when the church was located on Pittsburgh's North Side. A vision committee was tasked with developing a plan to build in the North Hills.

In 2007, the committee found property at the corner of Babcock Boulevard and Cumberland Road.

The parish council “was implementing what the general assembly approved and what the vision committee recommended,” said Dickos, of McCandless.

Over the past 17 months, the vision took shape and the results “exceeded everyone's expectations. It has been an amazing blessing to be a part of this,” he said.

The pastor is direct about his hope for the seven-day-a-week church: “We're looking to become a center of life for the area, not just to make our own home here.”

A community open house with tours and tastings is planned from 2 to 6 p.m. July 28 at the church. Visit for details.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353.

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