St. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene's Greek Orthodox Church to get new home soon

Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 16:55:39-04

"When we have good times, when we have bad times, we're there for each other,” said Erine Koulianos.

Her church is like a family.

"The spirit I guess of the church is not just the structural, it is truly the hearts of the people,” she said.

The heart of the St. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene’s Greek Orthodox Church has been beating in the strip mall off U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor. A temporary sanctuary after a fire destroyed their permanent almost two years ago.

"Thank God no one was hurt and thank God the holy relics were spared so it was devastating and yet it was beautiful,” she said.

The Archbishop of Greece delivered those relics of saints and they were untouched by the fire of September 2014.

"We had towels and we were trying to wipe the soot and the dirt off of them. I know it sounds kind’ve strange but it felt like you were holding children in your hands and wiping their dirty faces,” recounted Marcia Koutroumanis.

Now the relics will get a new home.

"You're not going to need speakers although you'll want them because of the arches in the ceiling,” said Koulianos.

An architect from Greece planned their new church-- Byzantine with a Basilica-style dome.

Saturday night a fundraiser, a Greek festival, open to the public will help raise money.

"We're gung ho now and ready to go on and build our new church. It was a long haul but we did it with the help of God and the Saints,” said Koutroumanis.

And with a strong heart, growing healthier every day.

"When we adorn it with a beautiful church on the outside, that's the icing on the cake,” said Koulianos.