In Joliet the parishioners of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church are celebrating the church’s 100th anniversary.
The church offers services in both English and Greek on Sundays and is a gathering place for the third and fourth-generation descendants of its original Greek founders as well as people who have married and converted to Orthodoxy.
Maria Maintains, a member of the church and the chairwoman for the anniversary commented to theherald-news.com that the church is a vital part of the Greek Orthodox community as it is “still a place to come together and celebrate.”
The church has made a year of celebrations in honoring the 100th year of All Saints from banquets and a Greek-centric version of Mardis Gras celebrations before Lent.
A Church Built with Steel Meant for Wrigley Field
The building of where the church stands today is not the original structure from 1916 as it was demolished in 1942.
In 1943 the cornerstone for the building that still stands today was laid and many parishioners wanted to build the church in steel.
Due to the war effort there was a shortage of steel, so several parishioners traveled to Washington DC to speak to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The story goes that Roosevelt said: “I can’t get you steel. We need it to save our troops.” So the church’s Rev. Stephen Bithos said “What if we save some souls?”
Following the meeting, Roosevelt diverted a shipment of steel — that was originally bound for the lights of Wrigley Field — to Joilet for the construction of the All Saints church.