Roots of Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Roots of Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral (HM274W)

Location: Washington, DC 20001
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 54.252', W 77° 1.32'

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Midcity at the Crossroads

—Shaw Heritage Trail —

In 1904 members of Washington, DC's "Greek Colony" — mostly recently arrived immigrant men — held the city's first Greek Orthodox church service above a warehouse on Indiana Avenue near Seventh Street, NW. In the years that followed, they held religious services in various rented locations including the former Adas Israel synagogue, then at Sixth and G Streets, NW. Yearning for a home of their own, the congregation purchased land in 1913 at what was a northeast corner of Eighth and L Streets, approximately where the door to the Convention Center is on the block to your left.

Seven years later, with a congregation of 500, Bishop (later Archbishop) Alexander Rodostolou laid the cornerstone for Saint Sophia, the first Greek Orthodox church built in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. The basement was completed first, and services were held there staring in 1921. Three years later the entire edifice, with its Byzantine style interior, was dedicated.

During World War II, hundreds of sons of Saint Sophia served in the U.S. armed forces, and 14 paid the supreme sacrifice. Thousands of servicemen and women of the period enjoyed Saint Sophia's hospitality in USO-type programs provided by the parish.

The Saint Sophia parish remained on Eight Street for 34 years, with Father (later Bishop) Aimilianos

Laloussis serving as pastor for most of that time. By 1955 the congregation had outgrown its building, so the church was sold to Rehobeth Baptist Congregation, and the parish moved to its current home on upper Massachusetts Avenue NW. The original immigrant congregation had changed considerably by the time of the move, when the majority were American families of Greek descent.

Marker by Events DC in cooperation with Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedra, District Department of Transportation, and Cultural Tourism DC.
©2014, Events DC
HM NumberHM274W
Year Placed2014
Placed ByEvents DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, April 24th, 2018 at 1:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324667 N 4308089
Decimal Degrees38.90420000, -77.02200000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 54.252', W 77° 1.32'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 54' 15.12" N, 77° 1' 19.2" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 701-899 L St NW, Washington DC 20001, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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