Sunday's groundbreaking ceremony at Saints Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church kicked off construction of the Andrew and Anna Chafoulias Memorial Hall and Educational Center.
Connie Maragos, groundbreaking committee chair, said, "Jim and Gus Chafoulias were the chief donors for this project in honor of their parents." It is a gift on behalf of all of Andrew and Anna Chafoulias' children, who also include siblings Kalliope, Mary and Ted.
"This project started in October 2012," said Tim Kelly, chairman of the Building Committee. "Our old church building on the corner will be torn down. A new fellowship hall and bookstore will be built in its place and connect to our new building.
"Simultaneously, we will be adding an addition in what is now the parking lot," Kelly said. "This will have six multi-use classrooms and offer storage. Last month, we received final approval from the city to build. Once we get the building permit, it will take about eight months to complete the project."
The Rev. Mark Munoz gave the religious blessing, and Kalliope Chafoulias, along with the Building Committee, used shovels to perform the traditional breaking of the ground.
Maragos said there is a 1954 time capsule in the old building that will be opened when that building is torn down. The Building Committee has put together a new time capsule which will be placed inside the new construction. It contains a photo of the current congregation, newspapers from Sunday, and a 1915 letter from a colleague in Oxford, England, to Dr. William Mayo, which encouraged the building of a Greek Orthodox Church in Rochester. The letter suggested the name to include St. Cosmos and St. Damian, two surgeons who performed their services for free. The church held its first service in June 1954.