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After the Second World War, the number of Greeks in Toronto expanded rapidly, mainly due to the influx of immigrants from Greece during the 50's and 60's. The need arose for a new Greek Orthodox Church in the west end of Toronto to accommodate the growing population. In 1961, on the recommendation of His Eminence Metropolitan enagoras of Elaia, an offer of purchase was made to the former North Parkdale United Church congregation, located at the corner of Sorauren and Galley Avenues. A Building Fund Drive for the collection of monies was initiated on July 21st and continued for only one week until July 28th 1961. With the help and the generosity of all the Omogenia of Toronto, $50,000 was raised in just one week for the downpayment of the new Church. Although the asking price was $225,000, the offer of the Greek Community of Toronto for $160,000 was accepted, and the deed of ownership was signed on the important religious date of August 15th 1961. 

The Opening of the Doors Church Service (Thyranoixia) was held on Sunday July 16th 1961, presided by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Elaia, assisted by the two Community Priests, Father George Demopoulos and Father John Koulouras. Many important dignitaries were in attendance at this first service, including the Ambassador of Greece to Canada, His Excellency Mr. Ioannis Kalergis; the Greek Consul General in Toronto, the Honourable Michael Dountas; and the entire Greek Omogenia of Toronto, who came together to celebrate this most important event in the life of the Greek Community of Metropolitan Toronto. Since the Church deed was signed on August 15th 1961, the day on which the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Dormition of the Theotokos - the most important Feastday of the Virgin Mary - the Church Council unanimously decided to honour the new Church with the name "PANAGIA", (meaning "ALL-HOLY"), and named Evangelismos (Annunciation) of the Virgin Mary . It was also announced that regular Church Services would start on Sunday September 24th 1961, where the giving of the Name "Panagia" was liturgically celebrated with the Divine Liturgy and Paraklesis to the Panagia. Instrumental to the raising of funds was the first Parish Council President, Mr. Peter Palmer, and the first Philoptochos President, Mrs. Ourania Granitsaris. Father George Demopoulos was appointed as the first Parish Priest. 

The Panagia Church has celebrated many important historical events in its 35-year history. Every two years, Panagia Cathedral is the setting for the swearing-in Ceremony for the incomming Council of the Greek Community of Metropolitan Toronto Inc. The Church building was solemnly consecrated with the Engainia Ceremony on Sunday May 5th 1963 by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Elaia. To commemorate this occasion, 2,000 keys were issued to the founding members, honoured with the title "Kleidiouchos", with the dates of purchase and consecration embossed on them. In a letter dated November 14th 1967, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America announced to the congregation that the Evangelismos Church was being elevated to the status of a Cathedral Church for the 9th Archdiocesan District, whose inauguration would be celebrated by the new Titular Bishop Theodosios of Ancona on his arrival in Canada. In another letter dated March 21st 1979, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos announced that His Grace Bishop Sotirios of Constantia, was elected as the first Bishop of Toronto by the Holy Synod of Constantinople, and that his enthronement would take place at the Cathedral Church of the Annunciation on Tuesday May 8th 1979. When Canada was elevated to a Metropolis in July of 1997, the Holy Synod of Constantinople also elected the former Bishop Sotirios of Toronto as the first ruling Metropolitan Archbishop of Toronto (Canada), and his Enthronement Liturgy was celebrated at the Evangelismos Cathedral on Sunday September 29 1996, in the presence of five bishops, 35 Priests, and over 2,000 people. 

The Church of Panagia has known days of glory and joyous celebration, but more recently, also a time of sadness and a heart-breaking experience. On the morning of April 3rd 2000, the interior of the Church was entirely gutted by fire, and this necessitated that services be re-located to the Community Center in the back of the Church. The Greek Community of Metropolitan Toronto, under its President Costas Menegakis, immediately responded to this tragedy by starting a restoration fund for Panagia; by hiring the foremost Greek Architect in North America who specializes in Byzantine Church Architecture; and securing the Canadian National Exhibition - Queen Elizabeth Building for the celebration of Holy Week and Pascha Services in both 2000 and 2001. 

The Panagia Church has been served by some of the most dedicated, distinguished and well educated Priests of our former Archdiocese and now Metropolis. The first Priest was Father George Demopoulos, who served from 1961 - 1964. The second Priest was Father Constantine Andreou, who served from 1964 - 1990, and was the longest serving Priest of Panagia. Upon Father Costas' retirement, Father Apostolos Ananiadis served as the third Priest from 1990 - 1996. Upon Father Apostolos' retirement, Father Peter Avgeropoulos was appointed as of September 1st 1996, and has the distinction of being the first Canadian-born Priest who has remained to serve in the Greek Orthodox Church of Canada. 

Compiled from the Archives of Panagia Church by Fr. Peter Avgeropoulos