PARISH PROFILE: New Hampshire's Mother Church - St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Manchester, New Hampshire

This profile was published in the April 20, 1998 Orthodox Observer, and can be read in full online -

PARISH PROFILE:  Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral

LOCATION:  Manchester, New Hampshire

FOUNDED:  1905

St. George Cathedral parish embodies the quintessential Greek experience of 100 years ago in this country.

New England, with its flourishing textile mills and shoe factories, attracted tens of thousands of the Greek immigrants who came to this land in the 1890s and early 1900s.  Today, Greeks comprise about 10 percent of Manchester's 100,000 people.

Manchester, sitting astride the Merrimack River in southern New Hampshire, was typical of many towns and cities in the region with plenty of low-paying factory jobs for newcomers, including children, willing to work 12 or more hours a day under grueling conditions.

The Amoskeag textile mills were among the largest in the world and employed hundreds of Greeks in the early years of this century.  A large number came from Sparta and from the mountain villages of northern Greece.  However, the first recorded Greek settler in the city was a doctor originally from Crete names Zevoudakis, in 1893.

In 1898, two brothers, George and Peter Xanthathis opened a candy shop.

According to a parish history, by 1905 there were 300 Greeks living in Manchester, when efforts began to organize a parish.  An ecclesiastical brotherhood, "St. George," was founded at a meeting in June and a board of directors was named the following year.

Church services were conducted in private homes beginning in 1896 when a Father Kaparellis visited Manchester several times over a three-year period to conduct Liturgy.  A room at City Hall also was used for a time. . . . .