150 Years: The First Greek Orthodox Church in the United States


During the early 1800’s the first recorded settlers arrived in the New Orleans area, including Orthodox Christians of primarily Greek origin, but also of Serbian, Russian and Syrian citizenship.

Most of the settlers immigrated due to their trades, such as merchants and sailors. An association was formed in the 1840’s to assist those affiliated with the shipping industry. As the Orthodox community increased, the need for a church became more apparent. Early attempts failed, due to a lack of sufficient financial support.

In 1860, Mr. Nicholas Benachi, a businessman and Consul of the Royal Government of Greece, spearheaded an effort to secure a site for the construction of the church, which was also unsuccessful.

Finally, in 1864, Mr. Benachi offered his personal property for a temporary location for worship, thus establishing the first Greek Orthodox Church in the United States.

Until 1866, services where held there as well as other locations, with the Very Reverend Agapios Honcharenko serving as the first priest of the Community.

During that year, Mr. Benachi sold a parcel of property to the Community (for $1,200) on 1222 North Dorgenois Street and, with the assistance of generous donations by Mr. Benachi, Mr. Demetrios Botassis and Mr. John Botassis, Holy Trinity Church was erected.



  1. Very interesting – I wanted to do research about Greeks who may have arrived in the Oregon Territory on the Oregon trail but I left the Spokane, WA area to Arizona

  2. Serge Loukianoff on

    Yes, the there was no regular clergyman assigned to the church. Not until much later was there a priest on a regular basis. The history of Orthodoxy in America is very interesting, however…

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