News Release on Behalf of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Sacramento, CA
SACRAMENTO GREEK CHURCH UNVEILS MONUMENT AT ORIGINAL SITE
SACRAMENTO, CA. The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Sacramento and the Annunciation Senior League (ASL) group, announces the dedication of a monument honoring the original location of the church at 620 N Street, in downtown Sacramento. The monument “Following in the Footsteps of Our Ancestors,” a bronze sculpture created and installed by renowned Sacramento artist Ronnie Frostad, conveys the Greek-American contribution by the immigrant pioneers to the Sacramento community. The monument was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday, June 23, 2019.
“This monument is important to our Greek community, visitors and all Sacramentans so they may learn of our Greek heritage here in Sacramento,” stated Terry Kastanis, President of the ASL group. “We deeply appreciate the architectural firm Lionakis for its significant contribution to this outreach to the Sacramento community.”
The original Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation on N Street was one of the oldest Greek Orthodox parishes located between the San Francisco Bay Area and Salt Lake City. In 1920, about 50 Greek community leaders formed an Orthodox parish and bought the property on N Street for a future church. In 1921, the first full-time priest was assigned to the community and the liturgy was celebrated at that location. The Greek immigrant parishioners sacrificed their earnings to build the church and many of the current parishioners were baptized or married there.
Lionakis, a top architectural firm in Sacramento, worked closely with the ASL group, and donated the architectural design and services to this civic project. From the Lionakis plan, sculptor Ronnie Frostad created a small, detailed bronze replica of the original church at the monument site. The design includes bronze footstep imprints that lead from the edge of sidewalk to the monument. The footsteps signify that the parishioners followed in the footsteps of their ancestors in their devotion and sacrifice to build the church. A plaque commemorating the accomplishments and heartfelt contribution of the immigrant pioneers is featured on the pedestal of the sculpture.
“I am honored to have created the sculpture that represents the Greek immigrant impact on the City of Sacramento,” Frostad added. “Immigrants are very important to our collective heritage and I’m proud to be involved.”
Coincidentally, the founding father of the Lionakis firm, George Sellon, was the architect of the original Greek Orthodox Church on N Street in 1920 and also served as California’s first State Architect.
Statement Provided by Terry Kastanis, President of the Annunciation Senior League, to The Hellenic Journal
On the Inspiration Behind the Monument ~
“Board Member Georgia Econome mentioned to the group that she saw a wonderful monument in a public park in Sonoma, and suggested we do something similar here in Sacramento. The discussion evolved from a plaque on the wall, to a free-standing monument. Once the idea of a monument was settled, the next discussion dealt with where to place it: on the church grounds, protected by a fence, or three miles away at the precise, exact site of where the original church stood in 1921.
The Board opted to being historically accurate by placing the Monument at the original location. Because there are apartments, and other structures there, we were able to obtain a permit from the City for an easement in the public right-of-way, so the Monument sits between the street and the sidewalk at 620 N Street in Downtown Sacramento.”
On Behalf of the Annunciation Senior League ~
“Our ancestors came to this city not knowing the language, some without money and some without skills, but they were industrious by nature. They married, started families, and became permanent members of the community. They felt a need, however, to practice their religion and keep the Greeks united in the new found land.
Their strong faith in the Greek Orthodox Faith and their need to preserve their culture and ethnic heritage is what inspired their efforts to build the first church in Sacramento.
Since the Monument sits in the open, accessible to the passers-by as they travel on N Street, the bronze sculpture of our first church is a gift to the city and is a part of its artistic fabric.”
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