AKA: Greek Catholic Mission Church, Cascade District, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1895

1 story

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817 Lakeview Boulevard East
Cascade District, Seattle, WA 98109

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This church had various address numbers including 817 Lakeview Boulevard (1895), 811 Lakeview Boulevard (1898), and 757 Lakeview Boulevard (1918). The latitude and longitude numbers do not appear accurate, as the church was located on the west side of Interstate 5, not east. 757 Lakeview Boulevard Seattle, WA USA

The church was first listed in the Polk's Seattle City Directory in 1895 as the "Greek Catholic Mission Church." Originally, immigrants from Greece, Russia, Serbia and the Near East joined together to make up this polyglot congregation; they had one thing in common, their Eastern Orthodox faith. During the church's early years, priests with tri-lingual speaking abilities (fluent in Greek, Russian, and English) could be found, many from the Greek-Russian communities in the Crimean Peninsula. An important leader who kept the disparate congregation together between 1905-1916 was Father Michael Andreades. After he left it, however, the Greek faction made plans to open its own Greek Orthodox Church nearby to serve its rapidly growing population. "In 1918 they got the use of an Episcopal church at the corner of Yale Avenue N. and John Street, and in 1921 St. Demetrios’ Church was completed on the corner of Yale and Thomas at the then enormous cost of $50,000. Old timers remember that the parting of the two congregations was an occasion for rejoicing, not sorrow, because 'now there were enough Orthodox in Seattle for two churches.'" (See "Our History,"Accessed 01/14/2014.)

According to the web site of the Saint Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral, this first one-story, wood-frame church had serious foundation problems that made it rickety and ultimately unusable. "As the lot at 817 Lakeview Avenue on the west side of Capitol Hill, donated by George and Mary Nicholas, a Greek-American couple, was mostly a twenty-foot deep hole, the church had to be built up on trestles. Since Orthodox church tradition prescribes that the altar should be in the east end of a church building, the result was that congregation had to enter the church from the west end which hung out over the ravine. Access to the front door, therefore, was by way of a rickety cat-walk running along the south side of the structure." The church celebrated its first service on 09/18/1895 led by temporary priest, Father Sebastian Dabovich; Father Amvrosius Vretta, the permanent head of the congregation arrived in Seattle in 11/1895, and he celebrated the first Liturgy on 11/19/1895. While the church was certainly usable, its poor foundation work concerned the church hierarchy. Again, according to the Saint Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral web site: "The structure of the church building, did, however, prove to be something of a problem. The wooden trestles had been placed directly into the ground without stone or concrete footings and had begun to rot, causing the building to settle. The building was in such poor shape that Bishop Nicholas, visiting Seattle October 20, 1896 declined to consecrate it, merely performing a lesser blessing of a church instead." (See "Our History,"Accessed 01/14/2014.) Despite its poor condition, the church seems to have been in use until at least 1916.


PCAD id: 8661