691 Green Street Craig, CO
Welcome to St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church
The church on Green Street has recently celebrated it's 50th year in beautiful Craig, Colorado.
The following is a “condensed” version of the events that lead to the foundation of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Craig, CO. The “unabridged” recounting can be located in our 50th Anniversary Book
In the early 1900’s saw the first wave of immigration from Greece many young Greek men and women emigrated to the United States of America seeking a better life. Although many of them possessed only rudimentary skills they quickly found themselves migratory work across the country. Eventually, the industrious Greeks found steady work in the coalmines of the Price and Helper, Utah area where many other Greeks had begun to settle. Greeks who settled into this mountainous region were themselves from similar areas in Greece and were well suited to life in the arid climbs of eastern Utah and northwestern Colorado.
These early immigrants worked hard saved their money and in time established homesteads in the Craig, Colorado area. After which, many of the immigrants returned to Greece to visit family, find brides, and return to their lives in America. Where, with the aid of their brides, they expanded their families and businesses and became respected member of the Craig community.
The conclusion of World War II brought about a second wave of immigration from war torn Greece. And the Greek Community of Craig found itself growing even larger. The burgeoning community’s social and sacramental needs were increasing as well, and so in the early 1950’s the Greek-American families of Craig pooled their monies and purchased 8 lots at the corner of 7th and Green to be the future site of a church. In the meantime the local Greek orthodox Community needed to summon clergy from Salt Lake City or Denver to fulfill the sacramental needs of the community: baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
After a falling out with the local Odd Fellows, whose hall was often used as an indoor site for the Craig Greek –American community events, a committee was formed its task was the construction of a church on the land the community in Craig purchased a few years prior. The committee collected donations and raised the funds to begin construction through contacts in Meeker, Grand Junction, as well as Price, Helper, and Salt Lake City. A Salt Lake City Businessman who was instrumental in providing discounted building materials for the project also commissioned Salt Lake City Architect, George Nicholettis to design the Craig facility and assist in its construction.
Building of the church began in fall of 1957, but came to a sudden halt with the untimely death of Tony Peroulis. (Peroulis’ family donated the iconostacion to St. John the Baptist in loving memory of Tony.) Construction resumed in spring of 1958 with the setting of the cornerstone of the church, which was completed later the same year with the first Divine Liturgy celebrated by Fr. Diakandrou.
We meet for worship every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM followed by a fellowship coffee hour in our community center.
Orthros/Matins: 9:00 AM
Divine Liturgy: 10:00 AM
The visitor to an Orthodox Church is usually impressed by the unique features and the external differences between this place of worship and those of the various traditions of Western Christianity. The rich color, distinctive iconography and beauty of the interior of an Orthodox Church generally are in sharp contrast to the simplicity which one finds in many Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. When one enters the interior of the Orthodox church it is like stepping into a whole new world of color and light. The art and design of the church not only create a distinctive atmosphere of worship, but also they reflect and embody many of the fundamental insights of Orthodoxy. Learn more
The divine Baptist, the Prophet born of a Prophet, the seal of all the Prophets and beginning of the Apostles, the mediator between the Old and New Covenants, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, the God-sent Messenger of the incarnate Messiah, the forerunner of Christ's coming into the world (Esaias 40: 3; Mal. 3: 1); who by many miracles was both conceived and born; who was filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb; who came forth like another Elias the Zealot, whose life in the wilderness and divine zeal for God's Law he imitated: this divine Prophet, after he had preached the baptism of repentance according to God's command; had taught men of low rank and high how they must order their lives; had admonished those whom he baptized and had filled them with the fear of God, teaching them that no one is able to escape the wrath to come if he do not works worthy of repentance; had, through such preaching, prepared their hearts to receive the evangelical teachings of the Savior; and finally, after he had pointed out to the people the very Savior, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world" (Luke 3:2-18; John 1: 29-36), after all this, John sealed with his own blood the truth of his words and was made a sacred victim for the divine Law at the hands of a transgressor. This was Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee, the son of Herod the Great. This man had a lawful wife, the daughter of Arethas (or Aretas), the King of Arabia (that is, Arabia Petraea, which had the famous Nabatean stone city of Petra as its capital. This is the Aretas mentioned by Saint Paul in II Cor. 11:32). Without any cause, and against every commandment of the Law, he put her away and took to himself Herodias, the wife of his deceased brother Philip, to whom Herodias had borne a daughter, Salome. He would not desist from this unlawful union even when John, the preacher of repentance, the bold and austere accuser of the lawless, censured him and told him, "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife" (Mark 6: 18). Thus Herod, besides his other unholy acts, added yet this, that he apprehended John and shut him in prison; and perhaps he would have killed him straightway, had he not feared the people, who had extreme reverence for John. Certainly, in the beginning, he himself had great reverence for this just and holy man. But finally, being pierced with the sting of a mad lust for the woman Herodias, he laid his defiled hands on the teacher of purity on the very day he was celebrating his birthday. When Salome, Herodias' daughter, had danced in order to please him and those who were supping with him, he promised her -- with an oath more foolish than any foolishness -- that he would give her anything she asked, even unto the half of his kingdom. And she, consulting with her mother, straightway asked for the head of John the Baptist in a charger. Hence this transgressor of the Law, preferring his lawless oath above the precepts of the Law, fulfilled this godless promise and filled his loathsome banquet with the blood of the Prophet. So it was that that all-venerable head, revered by the Angels, was given as a prize for an abominable dance, and became the plaything of the dissolute daughter of a debauched mother. As for the body of the divine Baptist, it was taken up by his disciples and placed in a tomb (Mark 6: 21 - 29). Concerning the finding of his holy head, see February 24 and May 25. Learn more
The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.
The glorious beheading of the Forerunner was a certain divine dispensation, that the coming of the Saviour might also be preached to those in Hades. Let Herodias lament, then, that she demanded a wicked murder; for she loved not the Law of God, nor eternal life, but one false and fleeting.
691 Green Street
Craig, CO 81625
P.O. Box 848, Craig, CO 81625
Presiding Priest: Very Reverend Fr. Makarios Mannos