Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend. Members of the church pictured, from left, are Ann Papoulas, Ann Charchalis, Robin Knoche, Nick Charchalis, Marianna Raftopoulos, John Raftopoulos, Jeannie Glimidakis, Steve Maneotis, Mary Ruth Papoulas, Kate Peroulis, Dimitra Charchalis and Audrey Anna Charchalis.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend. Members of the church pictured, from left, are Ann Papoulas, Ann Charchalis, Robin Knoche, Nick Charchalis, Marianna Raftopoulos, John Raftopoulos, Jeannie Glimidakis, Steve Maneotis, Mary Ruth Papoulas, Kate Peroulis, Dimitra Charchalis and Audrey Anna Charchalis.

Greek Orthodox Church celebrates 50th anniversary this weekend

— Attending one church in Craig has been more than a ritual for Steve Maneotis.

It's a part of his heritage.

Maneotis, a Craig resident, grew up attending Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.

"We kind of went to two different churches as I was growing up, but the Greek (Orthodox) Church has always been a part of my life in the 47 years that I've been around," he said.

On Saturday, Maneotis will help honor a milestone at the church that has had a life-long impact on him: its 50th anniversary.

Members of the local Greek community built the church in 1958. Until that time, church members met in each other's homes or in community buildings.

"Finally, they said, 'We need to have a church for our children and our grandchildren,'" said Marianna Raftopoulos, Moffat County resident and member of the church for 25 years.

The celebration begins with a Vespers Service at 4 p.m. Saturday at Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 691 Green St.

"It's a significant event," said Maneotis, Saint John Parish Council president, "one where we celebrate the lives of those who helped build this church and people that are part of the church today."

Ticket holders can have a taste of authentic Greek food at a sold-out dinner scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The celebration continues at 10 a.m. Sunday at the church with a Divine Liturgy service, followed by a luncheon.

Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver will preside over the service.

Sunday will be the archbishop's first visit to Craig in several years.

"It's very seldom that he comes to a small community like this," Maneotis said, adding that the archbishop presides over a large area.

Other Greek Orthodox priests will be present for the service, including Father Makarios Mannos from Salt Lake City, who leads the Craig congregation.

"It's a significant step, and we're really looking forward to sharing our church with these people," Maneotis said.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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