Monday, June 29, 2015
As many Troy-area residents know, St. Nicholas is home to Opa! Fest, which gives community members a chance to experience authentic Greek food, music, dance, and more. This year’s festival, held June 26-28, also featured a special exhibit entitled “The Human Face of God”.
Though the church currently located at 760 W. Wattles Road can trace its religious history back about 2,000 years through apostolic succession, the congregation that would become St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Troy first came together in Detroit in 1936. Originally called The Greek Orthodox Church of the North Side, and then St. Nicholas Hellenic Orthodox Church, church members continued to meet in Detroit until 1990.
Detroit’s declining population in the 1960s and 70s precipitated a move out of the city, as St. Nicholas’ membership was down from 800 to 350 families by 1985. A study revealed that Troy was now more central to St. Nicholas’ parishioners, so it was here that an 11-acre tract of land was purchased in 1987. Ground-breaking took place in 1990 and the Detroit St. Nicholas church was sold to a Mormon congregation for $700,000. This capital helped to offset the building costs for the Troy church; the first phase was budgeted at $1,500,000. Meanwhile, St. Nicholas’ church services were held in an elementary school in Troy.
By 1992, the first services were held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Troy. Murals and icons removed from the Detroit church were installed inside, as were marble fixtures including the liturgical altar, baptismal font, and prayer stands. In keeping with Orthodox tradition, no steeples—representing man’s finite reach to God—were built; rather, the church was topped with a large dome. The circular form was designed to remind congregants of God’s infinite and eternal nature. The many columns inside the building symbolized Christ reconnecting heaven and earth through his death and resurrection. In 1994, Opening Door ceremonies for the church and the ground-breaking for a cultural center were held.
The Troy Historical Society coordinated a “Place of Worship” tour at St. Nicholas earlier this month, giving participants a chance to view the architecture of the building and learn some of the church’s history from Fr. Stratton Dorozenski. THS’ Place of Worship Tours continue this summer with St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church on July 15 and Shir Tikvah on August 19. Visit https://www.troyhistoricvillage.org/events/ for more details and registration information.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.