The Beginnings .......
SPRING 1980: Jerry and Ann Marmarellis, George Mavros and Pheme Yeo met in the Marmarellis home to discuss plans for initiating the formation of a Greek Orthodox Church in Citrus County. At the time, the closest church was 80+ miles away.
FALL 1980: First meeting held in Ernest & Gloria Glover's Restaurant. 63 present, first Board elected; George Mavros, President, Euphemia Yeo, VP; Gloria Glover, Secretary; Ann Marmarelis, Treasurer; Board Members, Chris Xenophon, Edna Xenophon and Charles Manuelian.
OCTOBER 1981: Fr. George Papadeas, Priest of St. Demetrios in Daytona Beach held an Agiasmos Service at a Church Hall in Inverness. With the blessing of His Grace Bishop John of Atlanta, he offered to travel from Daytona and serve on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month.
Fr. Desmund Gill, Priest of the Roman Catholic Church of our Lady of Fatima offered us the use of his parishes' facilities thanks to the efforts of Gloria Glover. We were most hospitably received for two years by Fr. Gill and the Inverness Roman Catholic community.
MAY 7, 1982: Parish officially incorporates in the State of Florida and receives Tax Exempt status from the State and Federal authorities.
DECEMBER 1982: The late Don Bradshaw, an Inverness Attorney, donates to the church 2 1/2 acres on the outskirts of Inverness as a result of the efforts of Ernest Glover, one of the original members. While it wasn't the ideal location to serve the parishioners from all over Citrus County, it provided an opportunity to create a "home" for those early years.
AUGUST 15, 1983: Precisely on the Day of Panaghia we signed for a $48,000 mortgage for our first building after a down payment of $20,000.
DECEMBER 24, 1983: First Liturgy in our new building was celebrated on Christmas Eve. Fr. Papadeas having retired from his parish in Daytona, commences to serve on Sundays, twice monthly, instead of Saturdays.
AUGUST 11, 1985: Membership votes to purchase 10 acres in Lecanto and sell the present building.
DECEMBER 31, 1986: 10 acres purchased on S.R. 44 in Lecanto for $99,000. Down payment of $14,250 and mortgage of $85,650.
MARCH 20, 1989: 1.3 acres on S.E. corner of Lecanto property sold for $70,000.
SEPTEMBER, 1989: Mr. George Scheffer, Prof. of Architecture at the University of Florida and a member of our church in Gainesville donated a 3 dimensional model of our proposed Lecanto project. His gift gave impetus to the community's efforts.
NOVEMBER, 1989: $25,000 raised from spontaneous enthusiasm at a community luncheon at Emily's Restaurant in Homosassa to pay off the Lecanto property.
JUNE, 1990: 0.2 acre frontage right of way was sold to State of Florida for $18,000 for the 4 laning of S.R. 44.
NOVEMBER, 1990: Our Building in Inverness is sold to the State of Florida for $80,000.
DECEMBER, 1990: We occupy temporary quarters until we are able to occupy our proposed building.
JUNE 13, 1992: His Grace Bishop Philip blesses new property and ground is broken for new parish center. Parish Council dedicates future chapel in honor of St. George, patron saint of our Priest, Fr. George.
AUGUST 31, 1992: Mortgage agreement officially entered into for the construction of new building.
FEBRUARY 13, 1993: By popular vote our Parish is officially named ST. MICHAEL the ARCHANGEL. At the Banquet, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Cantonis of Tarpon Springs, donated the huge sum of $100,000 as a show of appreciation for the Herculean efforts of the community in establishing a church in our area.
JUNE 12, 1993: Exactly one year from the ground breaking, His Grace Bishop Philip blesses the opening of the 11,500 square foot building, a multi-purpose hall, which was dedicated as the CANTONIS PARISH CENTER.
|Archbishop Iakovos Bestows Medal of St. Paul on Parish President and founding member George Mavros
The Present ........
Since 1993, The Michael the Archangel Parish has continued to grow in both spirit and membership.
AUGUST, 1993: Parish creates Banquet Service under the leadership of Mr. George Kanaris to assist in paying parish mortgage. First Banquet held in Cantonis Parish Center.
NOVEMBER, 1993: First Greek Festival held in new facilities. Community support overwhelming.
DECEMBER, 1994: Mr. & Mrs. Michael Cantonis announce the establishment of a Trust Fund instituted for the cost of building the future Sanctuary. Their initial contribution was $52,000.
DECEMBER, 1994: Mr. & Mrs. Michael Cantonis announce a "Matching Funds" drive, pledging $25,000 in matching funds for monies raised with the expresses purpose of reducing the mortgage.
JANUARY 8, 1995: His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos visits St. Michael's. Bestows Medal of St. Paul on founding member and life-long Parish President - George Mavros.
NOVEMBER, 1995: Mr. Chris Kamages, AIA present community with a vision of future sanctuary.
JULY, 1996: Fr. Nicholas Samaras joins St. Michael's. Parish begins to celebrate the Divine Liturgy every Sunday.
AUGUST 22 and 23, 1998: Fr. Papadeas retires following a Banquet and Testimonial in his honor and honor of our beloved Presvytera Bessie Papadeas.
EASTER, 2000: Iconographer Elias Damianakis installs Icons on first Iconostasion built by Richard Lovelace, a member of our community. Icons and iconostasion designed to be transfered to future chapel of St. George to be built when sanctuary is constructed.
OCTOBER, 2001: 9th Annual Festival ends with huge success.
DECEMBER, 2001: Parish Council votes to re-acquire 1.3 acre parcel (less approx. 0.3 acres purchased by State for S.R. 44 widening)sold in March of 1989 for approx. $6,000 giving opportunity to increase visibility and parking for facility.
JANUARY, 2002: The year begins with a mortgage balance of less than $150,000, excellent festival and banquet service proceeds.
FEBRUARY, 2002: Vision Team moves ahead with community building tasks to solidify growing parish and parish needs.
SEPTEMBER, 2002: Youth Group organized.
OCTOBER, 2002: 10th Annual Festival ends with huge success. Highest net proceeds give community a financial boost.
DECEMBER, 2002: Year ends with Mortgage Balance at less than $150,000.
APRIL, 2003: Parishioner Peter Surgzich bequeeths $40,000 on his death towards paying off of mortgage.
AUGUST, 2003: Mortgage paid off. Mortgage Burning Dinner - Dance and unveiling of future time table scheduled for September 27th, 2003.
SEPTEMBER, 2003: Building Committee appointed and plans initiated for the building of the Sanctuary and Administrative Offices.
Mid 2004: Planning to begin in earnest for Sanctuary and Administrative Office space.
FEBRUARY 28th, 2005: Groundbreaking Ceremonies were held. His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios assisted by several area clergy blessed the construction site of the Church Sanctuary.
JUNE, 2006: Rev. Fr. Ioannis Vernikos was assigned as the Parish Priest at St. Michael's. Fr. Ioannis will be the first full-time resident Orthodox Priest in Citrus County.
OCTOBER, 2006: General Membership overwhelmingly votes to build sanctuary.
SEPTEMBER, 2007: Site Permt approved by Citrus County authorities.
SEPTEMBER, 2007: Site work begins for Phase 1 of Church Building.
JANUARY, 2008: Building Plans approved by Citrus County authorities.
MARCH, 2008: Contract signed with Elder Construction for the building of the Sanctuary following the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios.
Spring 2008: Church construction begins with an estimated completion date in late 2008 / early 2009. The 6,500 sq ft Church Building will provide for a Byzantine space of worship for area Orthodox Christians. Phase 2 (Chapel and Administrative Building) and Phase 3 (Classroom space and meeting spaces) will proceed in the future as funding permits.
Sept 2008: Fr. Demetrios (Jim) Simeonidis is assigned to serve the parish and provide pastoral and spriritual leadership.
January 2009: Dome raised on the eve of Epiphany.
February 2010: First Divine Liturgy held in new church.
May 2010 (Pentecost): Thyranoixia held with His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios officiating.
July 17, 2011: Fr. Jim and Presvytera Olympia re-assigned to serve Holy Tribity in Orlando as the assistant Priest. Fr. John Hays and Presvytera Ginny assigned by His Eminence to serve Archangel Michael.
Sept. 2012: Fr. John Hays leaves parish.
Sept 2012 - July 2013: Parish Served by metropolic Clergy
July 2013 - present: Parish Served by the Rev. Fr. Michael Petrides
|What the new dawn shall bring
The Future .........
We ask all Orthodox Christians of the West Central Florida (Citrus, Hernando and Marion Counties) to come grow spiritually with us and live these exciting and once-in-a-life-time experiences.
|The Archangel Michael
Our Prayer ........
May our Guardian and Patron, the Archangel Michael save us through his intercessions as we endure the heardships of tribulations and temptations in our journey to come.