The Greek Orthodox Community of Kimisis Theotokou was founded in 1931, initially known as the “Greek Orthodox Community of Bay Ridge” which was located on 4th Ave and 32nd St. In 1932, the property at 239 17th St. was purchased by the community and then Fr. George Menexopoulos. A year later, the parish moved to our present location at 224 18th St. with the hard work of the parishioners and newly joined Fr. Simeon Emmanuel.
From that point on, the parish began to develop its organizations and identity. In 1933 the Ladies Philoptochos Society was initiated, and in 1936 the Chiaki Adelphotita of Aghia Markella was established. Also in 1936, Fr. John Strongilos joined the community and would remain at Kimisis for 24 years. In 1937, the Archdiocese of North and South America officially recognized Kimisis Theotokou as a Greek Orthodox Parish.
By the 1940’s and 50’s, the community began to undertake the responsibility for a Parochial School. In 1956, Fr. Titus Siligardakis was assigned to Kimisis and was instrumental in the development of the school.
In 1964, the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the school took place. Soterios Ellenas became the benefactor and namesake of the school and in 1966 the Soterios Ellenas Parochial School opened its doors to fifty-four students.
In 1970, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos consecrated the Chapels of St. Irene and Aghia Markella. Also in 1970, Fr. Titus was elevated as the Metropolitan of Rethimnos and Avlopotamou, Crete, and Fr. Evdokimos Kokkinakis arrived as the new priest. Three years later, Fr. James Bogiatzis joined Kimisis. In the same year, Willam Hionas was honored by the community for his generosity, the Parish Council board room was renamed in honor of James Manos, and Kimisis as a whole was honored for its excellence in youth ministry, primarily for it’s scouting program which was established in the 1960’s.
1985, marked the arrival of The Very Rev. Damaskinos Ganas. During Fr. Damaskino’s time at Kimisis the parish has undergone significant improvement. From the mid-1980’s to present day, the church proper and the church hall were renovated. The Soterios Ellenas School was expanded to include a new wing and library.
In 2005, with great pride, the school premises was leased to the Hellenic Classical Charter School, which was the first elementary charter school to offer the Greek Language in the Metropolitan area.
For the last nine years, under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Damaskinos and youth advisor James Pristouris, the Youth programs of the parish have flourished, along with the hard work and dedication of our beloved parents and volunteers. Kimisis Theotokou currently has a tremendously active GOYA, JOY, and HOPE program for our children ranging from Pre-K to High school seniors. The Youth of Kimisis Theotokou (YKT) are also active with athletics and events throughout the Direct Archdiocesan District.
Beginning in 2007 to this year, renovation has been completed on the lower church hall as well as the Narthex. The elevator from the Narthex, to the Lobby and the lower hall was completed in 2010. New icons and mosaics have been added to the Narthex and Nave, and this wonderful beautification still continues.
As our community continues to grow, we look forward to the future. With God’s blessing and the intercessions of the Theotokos, our community will continue to respond to the needs of our parishioners and neighbors, teach the culture and heritage of our forefathers, and continually spread the Gospel of Christ!