“This parish one day will be the beacon of Baltimore.”
My name is Father Michael Pastrikos and I am the protopresbyter here, the parish priest here at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. You know I’m sorry to say I wish I was here twenty years ago. Cause this was truly Greektown, you walked and that’s all you heard was Greek in the area. Now you walk hear Spanish, you hear Greek and you hear English. There’s nothing with it don’t get me wrong, I’m not that kind of a person, I love all people. I love the Hispanic, the Mexicans that are here, the Hispanic people that are here. I love them too. I say hello to them everyday I walk put of the church. They’re starting to say hello to me also. So they are also starting to understand that, you know, that this is a melting pot here in America, and we all have to live together. And you know the ethnic background of a civilization of anything, you also, you want to be also be part of that. You do need Greek-speaking priest in Greek speaking parishes, and that’s what this parish is of St. Nicholas. It’s very traditional. Very Greek. It has a taste of Greece here in Baltimore. When i first came here I said we need to put a sign. We need to put a sign outside okay. And we went through the city, and we put the Greektown sign. I said you guys better put a Greektown sign because before it becomes Hispanic. I said that. You know, because we want to keep Greektown as Greektown. And we do a lot of traditional things here in Greektown. If it wasn’t for the church, there would be no Greektown. You could have five thousand Greek in here, it’s not going to be called Greektown, because the church is the center of the Greek people. It’s their spirit. I see the changes, but I accept those changes. I have no people. Locations change. People change. But we’re still strong here in Greektown. We still have that, you know, Greek flavor. We do have our Greek restaurants still here. We have our Greek bakeries; we have our cafenia what we call the coffee shops. But as Greektown itself grew, we had I think at one time, two thousand five hundred families that lived in Greektown. All these houses that you see here, all these neighborhoods, close to the church, they were all Greek homes. You could walk at night, and never be afraid of walking at night. You know, on the streets of Ponca, on the streets of Eastern Avenue here, in this area. We’re seeing a little bit of progress here at Greektown. At one time people thought that we were going to die because we’re inner city, but you know, the good lord has his plans. This parish one day will be the beacon of Baltimore.