Greek community urges action to make St Vasilios hall in Brunswick accessible to all


Parishioners at St Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church in Brunswick West, Victoria are calling for support to install a lift to make the church’s community hall more accessible to elderly, people with a disability, and parents with prams.

The limited access to the church hall first came to the attention of Brunswick local and parishioner, Olympia Raptis, earlier this year. The 49-year-old uses a frame to walk because of her severe sciatica (a type of nerve pain) and she was unable to take the stairs of the church’s community hall to attend a family wake.

“It was embarrassing. It was the most horrible feeling of my life,” Olympia told The Greek Herald.

“I called my husband to come pick me up and I went home and cried for that whole day until I thought to myself, ‘no I’ve got to do something about this’.”

st vasilios church hall
The stairs outside St Vasilios’ church hall. Photo supplied.

St Vasilios church has a ramp at the front entrance, but no ramps or lifts for the faithful to go up to the church hall, despite the church holding a seniors club there every week, forcing the elderly to tackle two flights of stairs.

Ms Raptis gave an oath to herself that once she had recovered, she would take it upon herself to demand increased access to the hall for the elderly, people with a disability, and parents with prams. She believes it will be beneficial for their mental health and a way of increasing socialising between community members.

She launched an online petition urging authorities to install lifts at the church hall and has since attracted more than 5,000 signatures at the time of writing. She also has the support of parish priest Father Ephraim.

Costs for the lift installment are estimated at $90,000 to $100,000 and Ms Raptis has launched a Go Fund Me to help raise these much-needed funds.

“I believe the community has the power to become one, come together and take action,” she said.

You can sign the St Vasilios Church Hall petition here or donate to the Go Fund Me at:




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