For the better part of 40 years, Greek American Ioanna Kazogli has been teaching Greek language and dances to the children of Holy Trinity in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Ioanna Kazogli, who comes from Athens, Greece, emigrated to the United States 52 years ago. She is the founder and instructor of the dance group “Flame,” which includes 20 children of various ages and abilities.
“We are very proud of these children. They dance with grace and pride,” she told the National Herald, adding that she also teaches traditional Greek dances to American children.
Kazogli said that she never regretted coming to the United States, where she has carved out a wonderful life. Kazogli has two children, one daughter and one son, and three grandchildren.
The first Greek immigrants arrived in Fitchburg in the 1880s. By the end of the 19th century their numbers had grown considerably. Not having an Orthodox church of their own, they often traveled to Lowell and even Boston to attend church services.
In 1912 a group of Fitchburg Greeks decided that something had to be done. The next year, they invited a wandering priest to conduct baptisms and weddings in homes. In 1914 the pharmaceutical company “Liggett Drug” began hosting church services. By 1916 a group of Greeks had established an ecclesiastical organization, and an Orthodox church was finally founded on October 23, 1921.
In 1928 Father John Michailidis was appointed the church’s first priest. He served for 30 years as priest and teacher of the Greek language.