The Inaugural Years: 1959 - 1962
The post-war influx of Greek immigrants into metropolitan Adelaide saw the need for taking the Church to the people.
This concept of the Parish movement was commenced in the mid-1950s by late Metropolitan Theophylactos and pursued then by their Eminences, Archbishop Ezekiel and Archbishop Stylianos.
The unfortunate death of Metropolitan Theophylactos in 1959 saw the arrival to Australia of Metropolitan Ezekiel, who was soon after elevated to Archbishop.
A group of Orthodox faithful desirous of having a church in the Eastern Suburbs of Adelaide to service their religious and spiritual needs gathered together in an attempt to persuade Archbishop Ezekiel that permission be granted to establish a Church.
These people comprised the families of Anthony Kiosoglous, Orestis and Demosthenes Axarlis, Emmanuel and George Stouppos, Ilias, Stylianos and Dimitri Langanis, Anthony Patsalos, Savvas Mastrosavvas, P. Pappailliou, K. Davos, K. Loizou, John Kapetas (now Rev.J. Kapetas), Dimitri Georgines (later Rev. D. Georgines, dec'd), Philimon Pizimolas, T. Leontiou, Nicholas Badounas, Dimitri Grammatopoulos, Nicholas Markellos and many others.
Under the guidance of the newly appointed parish priest, the Rev. Myltiadis Chryssavgis, the first Committee worked passionately to ensure the establishment of the Community and parish in the Eastern suburbs became a reality.
In order to convince Archbishop Ezekiel that approval be granted over 1,500 signatures were collected from Greek Orthodox faithful resident in the eastern suburbs of Norwood, Kent Town, St. Peters, Kensington, Stepney, Rose Park, Maylands, Beulah Park, Magill, Stonyfell, Wattle Park, etc.
On 24 July 1959 His Eminence visited Adelaide and met with the Executive Committee and others at the residence of the Treasurer, Mr Stylianos Langanis. His Eminence gave verbal approval for the establishment of the Community and Parish.
On 11 August 1959 the Executive Committee resolved that the Church to be erected would honour and have as its patron, Prophet Elias of Thesvis. Towards this end, and to assist with costs, Mr Elias Langanis donated the sum of £500.
In the meantime steps were taken to prepare a constitution and to have the Community and Church registered as an incorporated body. Until this was finalised a decision was reached on 1 September 1959 to purchase the house and land at 87 Beulah Road, Norwood, as the site for the Church of Prophet Elias. The purchase of the site was affected on 11 September 1959 for the sum of £1,500. Until the incorporation process was completed the house and land was held in trust in the names of Anthony Kiosoglous, Emmanuel Stouppos and Stylianos Langanis.
On 22 September 1959 His Eminence wrote to the Committee formally approving the establishment of the Community and Parish under the title of Greek Orthodox Community Eastern Suburbs of Adelaide "Prophet Elias". His Eminence gave His blessing to proceed to build the Church of Prophet Elias and to provide facilities for the Sunday School and Greek Language Community School.
This approval was received with much joy and showed the trust and confidence that His Eminence and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand had in the Orthodox faithful in the Eastern Suburbs.
The first Divine Liturgy service at which the newly appointed priest, Rev. Myltiadis Chryssavgis, officiated was held in the hall of the Norwood Scout Troop in Fisher Street, Norwood. This occurred on 8 November 1959, the Feast Day of the Archangels. The scout hall was to continue to be used until the Church was built on the land at 87 Beulah Road, Norwood.
On 22 November 1959, His Eminence Archbishop Ezekiel visited Adelaide and officiated at the Divine Liturgy which on this occasion was held in the Parish Hall, Church of England, in Beulah Road only three houses away from the site of Prophet Elias. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence, together with Rev. Myltiadis and the congregation, went to the proposed site and the ceremony of the blessing of the foundation stone of the Church of Prophet Elias was held. At the conclusion of the ceremony, over £1,000 was raised by way of donations.
The plans for the new Church were prepared by architect, Kevin Hocking. These were approved by His Eminence and then by the local government body, City of Kensington and Norwood. On 17 January 1960, the first General Meeting of the parishioners and members was held in the scout hall for the approval of the plans and the raising of the loan of £10,000 for the construction of the Church.
In the meantime, the Community and Church received official notification on 7 January 1960 that it was now an incorporated body and the Certificate of Incorporation was received.
The Executive Committee met with the architect and the builders, Messrs Coombe & Kramer, on 22 January 1960 and signed the contract, plans and other relevant documents for the Church construction. Once signed the building of the Church commenced in mid-February 1960.
Within three months the church building was completed and the internal beautification commenced.
On 12 June 1960 the new Church was officially opened at which His Eminence Archbishop Ezekiel officiated and was assisted by Archimandrite I. Kourtessis, Rev. Kyriacos Psalios and Rev. Myltiadis Chryssavgis.
His Eminence returned to Adelaide and participated in the Feast Day of Prophet Elias which was celebrated for the first time in the new Church. This occurred on 20 July 1960.
In January 1962, Rev. Myltiadis Chryssavgis was transferred to Sydney and in his place the position was filled by Rev. Theodoros Stamatopoulos.
Father Theodoros, together with the Executive Committee and Ladies Philoptochos Auxiliary, continued with enthusiasm the work commenced by his predecessor. Father Theodoros in particular served for many years as a teacher of the Greek Language schools.
Towards the end of 1962, the Executive Committee purchased the property at 83 Beulah Road. This became the residence of Father Theodoros.