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Friday, October 4, 2013

St. Nicholas is a multi-ethnic church

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The members of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Pittsfield were pleased to see The Eagle’s "Then and Now" pictures and description in the Sept. 22 Eagle about the changes in our church from 2007 to the present.



We would like to correct a persistent misconception that our parish is exclusively a Russian church.
The word "Russian" was removed from our name in 1980. While historically the church in Pittsfield was built by immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and other Slavic countries, for over 30 years the church has been a multi-ethnic community. A majority of our members were born in the United States, and many have ethnic ties to Russia, Greece, the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Ethiopia, Syria and other Orthodox Christian areas of the world.

The church realized years ago that a strictly Slavic identity did not reflect our true essence and would limit our growth. We are part of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), an autocephalous (independent) branch of the Orthodox church that traces its origin to the 1794 arrival in North America of Orthodox missionaries to Kodiak, Alaska. Our services are entirely in English, and we honor our ethnic diversity through our historical roots in Orthodoxy. Our recent Open House/Festival (Sept. 7) featured foods and traditions from several cultures, and we welcome those who are interested in the ongoing practices of a truly pan-Orthodox parish.

Our patron saint, St. Nicholas of Myra and Lycia, was from ancient Anatolia! We are eager for The Eagle to identify us as the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.
IRENE VASSOS

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