The Evangelismos Church in east Melbourne has been given a donation to fund massive restorations to repair “significant damages” caused by a fire five years ago.
The heritage-listed church will upgrade its flooring, lighting, and seating following a donation to the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) by a well-known benefactor.
“The works to now be funded … include the installation of a finished floor, the purchase and installation of the churches chandelier lighting and the purchase and installation of the pews for the church proper,” a statement from the GCM reads.
So far, the mezzanine has been rebuilt, the heritage-listed LED light windows have been replaced, and ongoing archaeological work continues to restore the “templo”.
“Andreas Andrianopoulos … recently met with GCM president Bill Papastergiadis, Vice President Tammy Iliou, church priest Father Antonios Vanikiotis and members of the church committee to further commit to funding” the restorations ahead of the church’s 120th anniversary next year.
Andreas and the Andrianopoulos family have close ties and are significant supporters of the restoration of the church and benefactors of the GCM.
The church is the second oldest Greek Orthodox church in Australia and remains a historic staple within the Greek Orthodox community in Melbourne.
“For many years, it was the only church we had, it was a meeting place, a place where we celebrated our greatest joys, and our deepest sorrows,” Mr. Andrianopoulos said.
GCM president Mr. Papastergiadis echoed a similar sentiment.
“Our community was founded with the support of benefactors,” he says.
“Construction of Evangelismos was made possible in the late 1890’s as a result of the generous donations of early Greeks in Melbourne.”
The church closed for two years following the fire which broke out during Orthodox Easter celebrations, leading 200 in neighboring buildings to evacuate and causing caused an estimated $500,000 in damages, according to Mr. Papastergiadis, in mid-2016.