HISTORY OF SAINTS CONSTANTINE AND HELEN CHURCH
Now celebrating our 90th anniversary, the history of the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church parish actually begins in the late 1800s when young Greek immigrants came to settle in Detroit and the surrounding area. Some of these families began holding meetings in a rented hall on Myrtle Street in Detroit. In 1930, the first board of trustees was elected for the official Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. Under their guidance, this small congregation started holding liturgical services in a variety of locations. For the first two years, services were held in a private home. Later, they moved to a hall above the Strand Theatre at 14th Street and Grand River. Throughout this period the entire congregation was raising funds with the idea of building a permanent place of worship. In 1937, the Archdiocese of North and South America officially approved the goal of building a church for all northwest Detroit Greek Orthodox citizens.
Thus, a church community, which began with a handful of families, blossomed into the focal point for spiritual and social activities for more than 750 Greek families. This community primarily drew its members from the west side of Detroit, Dearborn and surrounding areas. It also provided the base from which the Greek Orthodox parishes of Holy Cross in Farmington Hills and Nativity of The Virgin Mary in Plymouth Township were established.
The decline of the city and populations’ exodus to the suburbs following the Detroit riots eventually took its toll on the church. By the early 1980’s, the remaining Saints Constantine and Helen parishioners felt it necessary to move from their Detroit location. They purchased 25 acres on Joy Road between Wayne and Newburgh in Westland. In 1986, the Hellenic Cultural Center was completed. Church services were held in the cultural center where a large photograph of the beautiful white marble altar from Oakman Boulevard church stood as a reminder of the boxed pieces, held in storage, to be reconstructed in the new church. Groundbreaking for the new church was held May, 1994, and the building was completed in September 1996.
The church is now about to enter a new phase of development, with the installation of iconography. Fundraising for Phase One: East and Dome, has begun, with installation scheduled to begin in 2021.