Parish History

Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church and the Greek Orthodox faith, just like many other ethnic and religious backgrounds, holds a deep and rich history in Aliquippa.  Starting from the first Greek immigrants to settle in Woodlawn at the turn of the century in hopes of a better future working at the J&L Steel Mill, the Greek community grew.  By 1912, a Greek "hub" could be seen in Logstown and Superior Avenue (Plan 7). Passers through could get a taste of Greece on the streets of Aliquippa.

All of this growth sparked the need for a place to worship near the home, as opposed to the only option available at the time which was taking a train and trolly to the Pittsburgh Greek Church.  In 1917 in the Capiris Brothers' Theater on Franklin Avenue, a group of Greek immigrants met to form a Board of Trustess with the intention of overseeing the building of a Greek Church in Woodlawn.  One year later, on August 15, 1918 the first Divine Liturgy was given by Father Constantine Liacopoulos and in 1921 after 3 years of hard work the temple had been erected on Kiehl Street and the Greek Orthodox Church in Aliquippa was born.

The Greek community grew and grew through the years, along with the church.  Many organizations and fundraisers with great intentions were created all from the unity and faith of the church.  Greek school and Sunday school classes were started to ensure the survivial of heritage and language through the generations.

Throughout the 50's it was noted that the now 30 year old building and community center were becoming inadequate for future use.  A board was established with the purpose of starting a fundraising campaign and getting estimates on a new church building.  Finally in 1956 a lot was bought on Davidson Street in the New Sheffield section of Aliquippa.  Also a building contract was awarded to Greentree Construction Company for $187,087.

During the building process of the new church on Davidson Street following Easter services, a fire broke out in the old church due to an unextinguished candle.  The fire devastated the wood building causing complete damage to the building.  However, with this tragedy came new hope as the building was being finished for the new church.  

This new church rang in a new era of hope and prosperity.  Groups such as GOYA and JOY were organized for the youth.  The Alter Boys also continued to serve the church by assisting the priest and cantors.  The Philoptochos Society and Ladies Philoptochos Society continued to be an integral part of the community.  

Staring in June of 1978 the first Street Festival was initiated.  Starting as a three day event it quicklly gained popularity and was made a week long affair.  Weeks in advance, parishioners volunteered their time to bake and prepare all of the food and pastries.  This event is the Church's largest fundraising project and requires the help of everyone.  All of this hard work pays off when you get to stand back and watch the community learn about different dishes from Spanikopita to Pastitsio.  Also, Church tours are given to teach of our faith.  The atmosphere is always memorable, just walking around you hear the sounds and see the sights.  "Greek Honeyballs" shouts Stanley Simantiras in the kitchen.  Walking outside brings you straight into the Hellenic dancing in the streets of the Kalamatiano playing in the background.  Tents are setup to enjoy eating in the summer weather and the smell of Papa Duke's Gyros fills the air.  Among all of this culture, there is a carnival atmosphere present also.  Taking a stroll up to the field brings you the joys of carnival rides sno-cones and carmel apples.  The whole week of the Greek Festival is always one to create memories and new friendships.

Recently, our church has remodeled it's interior and exterior giving it a fresh new look for years to come. This church was founded by men with a burning passion to make a successful life for themselves and to ensure the existence of their faith and culture in Aliquippa.  91 years has brought great change and the next 91 will bring even greater change for greater good of the community.