History in Knoxville
The beginning of the Greek Orthodox community in Knoxville dates back to approximately 1915 with the arrival of the Nicola Cazana family. Soon afterwards, many other Greek families migrated to the East Tennessee area. Some of the original founders and their families remain and are a vital part of our community today.
These immigrants’ greatest desire was to preserve and to protect their Orthodox religion, Greek heritage and customs. So great was their commitment and desire, they formed the St. George Hellenic Community Club in 1934. Nick Caracostis served as the first president of the community.
The first Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy in Knoxville was celebrated in 1935 at St. John’s Episcopal Church by Father Demetrios Cassis, an itinerant priest from Roanoke, Virginia. Fr. Cassis and other itinerant priests served faithfully at St. John’s during these early formative years.
In 1939, an official state charter was granted and by 1946, the community had grown large enough to afford its own building. The old Baptist church at 921 Broadway was bought and became St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The church remained on Broadway until 1968.
In order to meet the demands of a growing community, property was bought and a new church was built at 4070 Kingston Pike. The “Door Opening” service was held in 1968 and the altar was consecrated in 1978. Following the Byzantine style architecture and using beautiful mosaic icons, the new building has become a focal point of Orthodox worship in the area. Today, it houses one of the most beautiful examples of mosaic Byzantine iconography in the Southeast.
The members of our community are represented in every facet of life, including business, medicine, education, engineering, law, insurance, and more. Their impact can be felt in positive ways throughout the whole city and the East Tennessee area. In this way, the community hopes to express with service what it feels in the heart – a very warm gratitude to the greater Knoxville area and its people for their kindness and support in the past.
Our church is under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta.
Rev. Fr. Anthony Stratis
Mike Nassios, President
Jim Vavalides, Vice President
Kelly Peters, Treasurer
Brian Hester, Assistant Treasurer
John Corum, Secretary