On Mother’s Day weekend, May 13-14, 2017, the historic parish of All Saints in Weirton, West Virginia, “a beacon of Orthodoxy in the Ohio valley,” celebrated its 100-year Anniversary. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America together with Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, led a feast of faith, joy and love.
The faithful of All Saints in this once thriving steel mill town, enthusiastically received the visit of Archbishop Demetrios. Archbishop Athenagoras (later Ecumenical Patriarch) was the first to visit the parish and lay the cornerstone of the present church edifice 70 years ago, in 1947. Archbishop Michael came for the dedication of the new church Sunday, June 4, 1950. Archbishop Iakovos is also reported to have made pastoral visits to the parish once in 1964 and sometime in the late ’70s or early ’80s.
Archbishop Demetrios of America concelebrated with Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh the Ancient Byzantine Archieratical Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, in the magnificent church of All Saints that was filled to capacity. Assisting were Fr. Fotios Milanese (All Saints parish Proistamenos), Fr. Alexander Karloutsos from the Archdiocese, Fr. Nicholas Halkias from Holy Trinity in Steubenville, Ohio, Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos and Deacon Eleftherios Constantine.
His Eminence, in his pastoral exhortations to the faithful, spoke about the reading from the Gospel of Saint John and the dialogue of the Lord with the Samaritan woman. The Archbishop said that the coincidence of the centennial celebration and Mother’s Day is an opportunity to remember and celebrate all the mothers of the century that passed since the establishment of the parish in 1917.
“Today is a very remarkable day,” said the Archbishop speaking later to the local Press. “This community went through difficult circumstances because of the economic factors related to the area but in spite of any difficulty not only they survived, but they kept progressing for 100 years. We have this beautiful church and its many vibrant programs, enhancing the life of the community in an amazing way. It is a joy, it is a celebration and it is an achievement.”
On his arrival, Archbishop Demetrios of America was welcomed at the Pittsburgh airport by Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, Archon Michael G. Psaros, Treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council and a prominent Board member of Leadership 100, Rev. Fr. Frank (Fotios) Milanese, Parish Council President Archon Nick Latousakis, Vice President Nick Tranto and other members of the community.
In the evening, the community of All Saints hosted a Centennial Gala at a nearby hotel with some 350 people in attendance. Psaros, who is a beloved son of this parish, delivered a keynote speech recounting some aspects of the history of the community and its hopes and aspirations for the future.
The Anniversary Gala was planned and executed by a dedicated committee chaired by Mrs. Lamone (Lemonia) Glyptis. Foti John Frangakis served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Nick G. Latousakis offered the welcoming remarks. His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh expressed his pride for this community and spoke of his experiences during his six years as Metropolitan. He said that during this time he has celebrated centennials in twelve parishes of the Pittsburgh Metropolis.
Archbishop Demetrios conveyed the greetings and prayers of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to all in the community and recounted his first visit to this parish in 1966 when he was still a priest, adding that he also celebrates half-a-century long connection with All Saints.