St. Demetrios' Cathedral
31st St @ 30th Drive
Astoria, New York
Built in 1927
Sunday 7:30 and 11:00
St. Irene of Chrysovalantou
36-07 23rd Avenue
Astoria, New York
Built in 1972
Sunday 8-12, and Holidays
Located in Astoria, New York, St. Demetrios' Cathedral and St. Irene of
Chrysovalantou serve one of the country's largest and strongest Hellenic-American
As part of the Greek Orthodox church, these cathedrals continue in the
traditions set forth by the seventh ecumenical synod (Nicea II, 787 C E), through which
the use of icons in the liturgical practices of the Eastern Church was legitimized.
The reason there were two cathedrals
is a dispute within the Greek Orthodox Church about the use of the Julian vs. the
Gregorian calendar. St. Demetrios is the Cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
America, which uses (for the most part) the Gregorian calendar. St. Irene belongs
to a group which broke away over this issue. However in May 1998, the group at St. Irene
were reconciled with the main Orthodox church, and at ceremony presided over by the Patriarch Bartholemew of Constantinople the Cathedral was
converted to a "patriarchal and stavropegial monastery".
Exterior of St. Demetrios' Cathedral
St. Demetrios' Cathedral is a slightly modernized version of a the
smaller sort of Byzantine churches that were common in the later period of the empire's
history. It recalls, for instance, the smaller Cathedral in Athens. It also shows the
distinct influence of modern American styles, however: note especially the large windows,
and the pew type seating. Traditional Byzantine churches do not have such windows and the
congretation is expected to stand throughout the liturgy.
St. Irene of Chrysovalantou is simply a large modern barn type church
which has been transformed into an Orthodox sanctuary. The exterior has had some Byzantine
style motifs added, and the interior is a riot of devotional architecture and icons.