Father Demetrios Kazakis is the presiding priest at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in West Babylon, New York. He talks with Markos Papadatos about his future plans with his church.
He has been an integral part of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Babylon for over two years. “Thank God our time at St. Nicholas has already been very fulfilling and beautiful. Since coming to St. Nicholas, my family and I have been warmly welcomed by the entire community and we have all accomplished many things. Two and half years has gone by very quickly and by God’s grace, we will have many more years in this beautiful parish family.”
Father Kazakis shared that he had many positive influences in his life. “Thank God I have been surrounded by many good people while growing up. My mother, Ms. Elaine Kazakis, has always been a role model of faith and love. My grandmother was always an influence to work hard and help others. I have had several influential priests in my life especially my father-in-law, Father Jim Doukas, who serves as an exceptional example of service and Christ-like ministry. I wish I could name more individually, but we would be here forever. If all of us could count the saints as examples or influences within our lives, we would all grow closer to each other and to Christ,” he said.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has some exciting events taking place in the near future. “Firstly, we are continuing the planning of our future Community Center at St. Nicholas. This will serve as our parish’s gathering place, catering hall, educational center and gymnasium. That project will not begin in the extremely near future but our work and prayers are on-going to continue this endeavor. By the end of spring, we look forward to finishing the next phase of our church’s iconography project on the west wall of the church. Many parishioners have worked hard in raising the funds for this project, and it will certainly increase the majesty of our already beautiful church,” he said.
Father Kazakis continued, “Our Youth Ministries at St. Nicholas continue to inspire the rest of our parish family. All our children, and their parents are eager to learn about the faith and grow in Christ and His ministry. I look forward to seeing all our youth grow into faithful young adults.”
The future goals of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are “vast.” “Our Community Center is an integral part of the ministry that we are all working towards within our parish. The future goals of our parish are to continue to serve our families and loved ones, but equally to reach out to our neighbors and greater community of Babylon and Long Island. There is a great need for continued service in our surrounding area. Many people are in need of food and clothing. Basic living conditions that we are used to, are not present in other’s lives. We have accomplished a lot to serve our neighbors; whether it’s a blood drive, Midnight Run, supporting soup kitchens or visiting the sick. We can, and will do better,” he said.
When asked what motivates him from day to day, he said, “My wife and my children motivate me to work hard and serve to the best of my ability. My children are a constant source of energy and laughs. In addition, I am motivated by our parishioners at St. Nicholas. They are very dedicated, loving and willing to work together as a team to achieve our mutual goals. We are led by our faith in Christ, and continually guided through the prayers of St. Nicholas.”
On his concluding thoughts of the Greek-American community, he said, “There are many things going on in our world that can cause confusion and anger. We all should know that Christ is the ‘light of the world’ and by following His teachings through the Church, we can all have peace and love. Our parishes and churches serve as our continual source of faith and culture. These fundamental elements allow us to grow as family. Our faith, our traditions, our language all make us who we are, and in our modern society, it is crucial that we maintain our identity. The Greek-American community in our area and throughout the country must be able to remain strong in our Orthodox faith and proud of our Hellenic Heritage.”