PARISH PROFILE: Holy Trinity - St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Cincinnati, Ohio

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

PARISH PROFILE:  Holy Trinity - St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

LOCATION:  Cincinnati, Ohio

FOUNDED:  1907 - oldest parish in Ohio

This parish reflects Christ's statement to the Apostle Peter that "the gates of hades will not prevail" against His Church.

For the original Holy Trinity community, Greek politics and the Great Depression undermined its existence, but did not prevail.

The Greek Orthodox Christian presence in Cincinnati began to the 19th century.

According to an extensive history by retired Judge John Steven Moralies, several Greek's came to Cincinnati as early as the 1840s, when it was the nation's sixth largest city and a center for many industries.

Among the most notable 19th century Greeks in Cincinnati were Professor John N. Zachos, who collaborated with famed educator Horace Mann to establish Antioch College in Yellow Springs; Captain John Christy, who fought in the Civil War and later patented several inventions relating to the steamship industry, then a major industry in Cincinnati; and Lefacio Hearn of Levkas, who became one of the outstanding writers for the Cincinnati Enquirer and won national fame.

Most of the pioneer settlers arrived between 1880 and 1900, during the first large wave of Greek immigration to the United States.

Steps to organize a church began in 1907.  An itinerant missionary priest, hieromonk Fr. Nathaniel Sideris, hearing there were a number of Greeks in the city, came to Cincinnati from New Orleans by steamboat in May of that year and organized the first parish in the state of Ohio.

Fr. Sideris served as the first permanent resident priest.  However, he left in 1908 because of his questionable canonical status as a priest.

Interestingly, after Fr. Sideris left Cincinnati, he moved on to Detroit, where he established the first Greek Orthodox church in the city, Annunciation. . . . . 

The parish experienced considerable turmoil in its early years.  "The volatile termperment of the Greek immigrant often clashed with the spiritual leader of the parish,"  Judge Morailes writes in his history.  "The parish councils were  . . . .