Greek Orthodox leader to visit Bellingham this weekend

A regional leader in the Greek Orthodox Church will make a two-day visit to Bellingham this weekend, to help Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church celebrate paying off its mortgage. Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, who oversees the western region of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the U.S., will perform vesper service at St. Sophia at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14. He will also perform the arch hieratical liturgy at 10 a.m. Sunday. A luncheon from 11 a.m. to noon will follow the Sunday service.

Metropolitan Gerasimos' visit to Bellingham coincides with the end of Saint Sophia's mortgage payments.

"We've paid our mortgage for the last 20 years, and we paid it off at the end of 2008," said the Rev. John Contoravdis, who presides over Saint Sophia. He invited Metropolitan Gerasimos to celebrate that accomplishment.

To commemorate the occasion, the church's mortgage will be burned in a public spectacle after the Sunday service, Contoravdis said.

Metropolitan Gerasimos visited Saint Sophia once before, in February last year.