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A Brief History of the St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church
Newport, NH

It is believed that the first Greek immigrants to settle in Newport, New Hampshire began to do so in the 1890's. As was the case across America, however, the majority of the "first generation" immigrants arrived in early 1900's. The majority of this first generation, mostly men, were attracted to Newport by jobs in shoe shops and mills. Others opened their own businesses such as restaurants, fruit and grocery stores, barber shops, cobblers, tailors, etc. In the 1920's, when families became prevalent, the social, education and religious needs of the growing Greek community became more pronounced. A Greek school was established and children attended the school after their regular sessions in the public schools. Although they did not have a church building of their own, Greek Orthodox priests were brought in from other parishes to perform baptisms, weddings, funerals and memorial services. In the 1940's, through the Christian kindness of the Episcopal Church, member of the Newport Hellenic Society began holding sacraments at the Holy Epiphany Episcopal Church, on the corner of Cedar and Cheney streets. Also during this period, the celebration of the Divine Liturgy became more common, and additional church services were conducted for Christmas and Easter.


Baptism of A.S. Saggiotes-1948

Former Students of Father Rizos

In 1949, a Newport town meeting voted to donate a parcel of land near the airport to the Newport Hellenic Society, with the provision that it be named the Robert C. Hasevlat Memorial Park, and that it would fall under the stewardship of the Greek American community. Robert Hasevlat, of Newport, was a tailgunner in the Air Force who was killed over Europe in World War II.
In 1950, the lot where the current church is located was purchased. Fundraising for the construction of the church building began in 1951, and the church opened its doors on June 29, 1952. The beautiful bell tower was added in 1992.
Divine Liturgy at St. Vasilios - His Grace Bishop Ezekiel - 1953

Many dedicated lay people and clergy have served Saint Vasilios over the years. To this day the hallmark of the community is its love-love of God, love of family, love of people, love of the Orthodox Faith, love of the Hellenic culture and love of the town of Newport.

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