Efforts underway to preserve heritage of first Greek Orthodox church in Australia

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Restoration works are underway to preserve the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church (Aghia Triada) in Surry Hills, Sydney.

The church is known as the first Greek Orthodox church established in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, and it has been given State Heritage Status by the New South Wales Government. It is managed by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW (GOCNSW).

Built in 1898 and consecrated on 16 April 1899, the Holy Trinity church originally served the Syrian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox communities in Sydney through Father Seraphim Phocas who was fluent in both the Greek and Arabic languages.

Over time, the condition of the church has deteriorated due to water entry and major tree root damage underground.

In response, the Board of the GOCNSW in conjunction with the Holy Trinity Restoration Committee, have launched the 125th Anniversary Restoration Appeal with the aim of restoring the church to its former glory.

Some members of the Holy Trinity Restoration Committee. Photo supplied.

According to a pamphlet issued by the Restoration Committee, the restoration works commenced in May 2023 with remedial works to the facade of the church on Bourke Street. Subsequent works will be undertaken over a period of three years and in four stages at a total cost estimated at over $1.1 million.

The four renovation stages include:

  • Stage One – March 2023 at a cost of $40,448.00. This stage is currently completed and has been paid for by the GOCNSW from emergency funds.

This stage involved: the repair of the roof and guttering, and installing leaf gutters and guards to prevent downpipe and drainage blockages.

  • Stage Two – 2023/2024 at a cost of $626,343.00. This stage is required to comply with the Order of City of Sydney Council. Works will commence in early June 2023.

Stage two involves the stabilising and new works to the Bourke Street facade, as well as the repair and replacement of stained-glass windows panel.

  • Stage Three – 2023/2024 at a cost of $171,027.00 to be paid for partly from the GOCNSW emergency funds and through cash, in-kind Donations and Fundraising from the Greek Community and Government Sources.

This stage involves the fixing of the internal ceiling and roof cavity area, the preparation of the interior walls and ceiling, the preparation and painting of the church – externally and internally.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church in Surry Hills.
  • Stage Four – 2024/2025 at a cost of $304,537.00 to be fundraised through cash, in-kind Donations and Fundraising from the Greek Community and Government Sources.

Stage four will include: concrete repairs to Bell Tower side returns, replacement of eight elevation side windows and coating works, the provision of a disabled entry ramp off Bourke Street, the replacement of side and main entry doors off Bourke Street, the restoration and cleaning of eroded windows and surrounds, the preparation and affixing of the Honour and Donors Boards, and the preparation and affixing of a marble plaque.

Fundraising events to help these restoration efforts get off the ground kick started with a barbeque on Sunday, June 18 at St Sophia Cathedral in South Dowling Street, Darlinghurst. Later in the year, the GOCNSW and Restoration Committee plan to hold a formal dinner event with local Greek associations in attendance.

The Holy Trinity Restoration Committee consists of: John N Comino, Harry Danalis, Nia Karteris, Chris Skiladellis, Bill Moisidis, Nick Andriotakis, George Boukatos, Con Apoifis, Kathy Samios, and Emmanuel Alfieris.

If you want to make a donation to the restoration appeal, you can contact: Alkis Dracopoulos, General Manager GOC (02) 9740 6022 or by email manager@goc.com.au; John Comino, Coordinator by email johnc@cominodaniels.com.au; or Kathy Samios, 0410 491849 by email samios@live.com.au.

READ MORE: Preserving the heritage at St George Greek Orthodox Church in Rose Bay.

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