‘Christmas Miracle': Chicago church facing auction saved by last minute $2 million donation

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago, Illinois. In 2018, an anonymous group donated million to prevent the church from being put on auction. | Facebook/Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church-Chicago

A congregation in Chicago, Illinois that was facing an auction on their building has been saved by a last-minute $2 million donation from an unnamed group.

Holy Trinity Hellenic Orthodox Church was scheduled to go on auction last Friday due to several issues including being $8 million in debt after a bank foreclosed on the property.

However, around midnight last Thursday, the church received a phone call from a group offering $2 million to help the congregation buy their property from the bank. 

Parish Council President Stanley Andreakis, told the Associated Press in comments published Sunday that the donation was a “Christmas miracle.”

“We feel like kids. You wake up at Christmas and you have a present,” explained Andreakis. “You are like, ‘I get to keep my church.’”

The Rev. Nicholas Jonas, presiding priest for Holy Trinity, took to social media on Sunday to warn that while the $2 million helps, the church “has not been saved yet” and supporters “must continue to stay vigilant.”

“Most importantly, EVERYTHING STILL DEPENDS ON THE BANK 100%! An offer was made but it depends on the bank to be realistic and empathetic in their response,” posted Jonas to Facebook.

“Right now we need to embrace and enjoy the GIFT OF TIME!!! We must continue to fervently PRAY FOR OUR HOLY TRINITY!”

Founded around 120 years ago, Holy Trinity has endured a recent series of setbacks, including declining membership and attendance attributed to changing neighborhood demographics.

Another source of trouble for Holy Trinity has been recent litigation between the church and its school the Hellenic American Academy, also called the Socrates School.

Metropolitan Nathanael, head of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, said in a statement published by last month that the Church was doing what it could to help the embattled congregation.

“The Metropolis has been working with the Church (Holy Trinity) on this matter for years, and that as the new Metropolitan, I established a special ad hoc committee, per Archdiocesan regulations, to determine the best path forward for the Church given the recent turn of events,” stated Metropolitan Nathanael.

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