Above:The first Greek wedding took place in the Community on January 22, 1906. Pictured are John Roumeliote and Christina Freemas with the wedding party and the guests who attended the ceremony.

Two brothers from the island of Andros were believed
to be the first Greek citizens of Athens, Ohio. Tony and
John Teffis, as far as can be ascertained, came to Athens,
Ohio, in the early part of the century.

On or about this time, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Aslanides
were the first Greek family to make their home in Athens.
During the year of 1910, the Greek people of Colum-
bus organized so that they might establish a Greek
Orthodox Church. Officers were elected and the first
president of these newly-organized Greeks was Lambros

On March 7, 1910, the Columbus community, the first
in Ohio, was granted a charter by the State of Ohio and
was known as "Greek Orthodox Church, EVANGELIS-
MOS TIS THEOTOKOU." The charter was signed in
this order:
Lambros Mandros*
Charles Makris
Angel Alexopoulos
Anthony Zanetos
Louis Anast

At the time the charter was granted, services were held in a building at the southeast corner of Long and High Streets, and in March, 1913, members of the community rented the old Masonic Temple at 186 South Third Street for the sum of $25.00 a month. Prior to this time, church services were conducted by the itinerant priests, but in the spring of 1913 the first permanent priest of the new church community arrived.

The Reverend Nathaniel Sideris began the first regular
services and that same year— 1913—it was decided to hold elections for officers of the new community. At that time the Greek community of Columbus consisted of about 25 to 30 families, and many Greek bachelors and and very young men who were employed by the railroad.



The Election Committee decided to permit every Greek person in the community to vote, with the provision that each person pay $1.00 in order to vote. Each nominee for the Board of Trustees had to pay $5.00, and those nominated for president, $10.00. It was agreed that the officers and the Board of Trustees be elected by the voters.

During these early years the Greek people of Columbus were divided into two parties and both parties wanted to be in power. The leader of the one party was Angel Freemas and the leader of the other was Lambros Mandros. The former party nominated Angel Freemas for president, while the latter nominated Anthony Zanetos.

Elections were held at the church. They began at ten
o'clock in the morning and lasted until six o'clock the following morning — almost twenty hours. Approximately 450 persons voted and nearly $500.00 was collected. Excitement was so great that the Election Committee thought it best to hire two police officers to keep order and see that proper procedure was followed. Angel Freemas was elected the first president of the Greek Community of Columbus, Ohio.

Beginning in 1914, the Greek people realized the need for a permanent place of worship and began discussing the financial aspects of building a church. For five years there were discussions and committees were appointed. No tangible progress was made until the fall of 1919 when the Board of Trustees ruled that members of the church pay annual dues. This money would help in purchasing two pieces of property on North Park Street which had finally been decided upon as the location of the new church. The great impetus for the decision was the gift of $15,000 in the will of Michael Bouzon a prominent and devoted member of the community, who passed away at this time. The express purpose of this gift was the building of a Greek Orthodox Church within a specified period of time or the money would go to a hospital in Athens, Greece.

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