Salt Lake City, Utah
Hellenic Cultural Association
Greek American History
Greek-owned businesses were already established by 1900 in
Salt Lake City, the hub of mining and railroad activities. By
1904, Salt Lake City's
Greek Town had become the economic,
social, and residential center for thousands of Greeks.
The official life of the Greek Orthodox community of Utah
began on October 29, 1905, with an elaborate religious ceremony
and the dedication of the church of Holy Trinity, considered to
mother church for other communities in the Intermountain West.
The growing community eventually necessitated the building of a larger facility. Consecrated on August 2, 1925, the new Church of Holy Trinity was unique in that it provided Salt Lake City and the Intermountain West with a distinctive example of Byzantine architecture.
The Hellenic Community of Salt Lake City has had a Greek Language School since 1915, a Sunday School program since the 1920s, an athletic program since 1939, a Modern Greek Language Program at the University of Utah since 1949, and organized youth groups since 1946. The Hellenic Improvement Association (HIA) became the catalyst for organizing other HIA groups in Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and California. As result, a National Youth Conference was held in 1951, culminating in the formation of the GOYA. The Mothers Club, formed in 1935 for the purpose of serving the community's needy and elderly, became the Philoptochos Society in 1962.
By the early 1960s, the community had experienced incredible growth with nearly 1,000 children attending Sunday School, requiring two Divine Liturgies and two Sunday School sessions. The necessity for larger classrooms and the change of demographics resulted in the building of a second church. The first Divine Liturgy was held on December 21, 1969, in the newly erected church, Prophet Elias.
Today, the Hellenic Community is one of the largest single Greek Orthodox parishes west of Chicago. The only parish with two churches under one Parish Council, with rotating priests and a unified parish program, this is a united community. Both churches now serve as the religious home to thousands of Utah's Greek Americans, who, like their forefathers, continue to work to preserve their heritage and faith.