Contact: Fr. Panteleimon Dalianis
Sophia Panousakis 630-244-2054
July 20, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Basil Church Re-opens After March 2013 Fire
Chicago, IL – Two years ago, a tremendous fire devastated the 105 year old, St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago. By the grace of God, no one was injured. However, the fire, smoke, and water damage was considerable within the sanctuary. Icons were burned, stained glass windows destroyed, glass chandeliers melted, and a massive hole was opened in the dome, by firefighters, to permit the smoke to escape. Extensive damage also occurred on the lower lever of the building, effecting the kitchen, offices, storage areas, fellowship hall, and possessions within.
The downstairs fellowship hall was restored within five weeks, and Sunday Liturgy resumed in the lower multi-purpose room. Unfortunately, the structural and cosmetic repairs in the main church have been so vast. Work continues. Icons had to be restored and replaced, carpeting ordered, pews rebuilt and restored, and intricate gold leaf applied to the balcony and ceiling. The current projected date for reoccupying the upstairs church space is Sunday, August 16, 2015.
The design and restoration of the church is being led by John Regas, a Chicago-based interior designer. John is a member of the St. Basil parish and has done work on other Orthodox churches in Chicago and Florida. John’s vision, for the restored church is based on churches he has seen in visits to Greece’s monastic peninsula of Mount Athos, a community of twenty-two monasteries in Northern Greece.
“It’s only by God’s providence that we’ve arrived at this day of our returning to our sanctuary entirely restored and renewed,” noted Fr. Panteleimon Dalianis, the head priest at St. Basil Church. “This is a new chapter in our church’s 105 year history, and we’re certain that this is going to be a great chapter in that history. With the southwest corridor of Chicago booming, we feel that we’re in the right place at the right time to minister to the needs of this community, and we pray that God will give us the wisdom and strength to carry out that commission.”
“We’re excited to be moving forward,” noted Anthony Frankos, current parish council president at St. Basil Church. “Most people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into a repair project of this size – it’s been two years and three months in the making. But we’re extremely positive. Things have come together well. And we want to thank all who have supported this project through their time, contributions and prayers. And especially our parish council and our fire repair committee members who have put in countless hours to bring this project to fruition.”
The parish continued having services and maintained all of its ministries during the repair work. Divine worship was held in the downstairs multi-purpose room, Philoptochos Hall. To contribute to the work or for more information contact St. Basil church at 312-243-3738, or visit the website at www.stbasilchicago.org.
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