In the late 80's Greek families from Nassau
County and around the Wantagh area of
Long Island, NY, who envisioned St. Markella
as their Patron Saint had carefully proceed in
faith to purchase a Protestant church located on
1960 Jones Ave. North in Wantagh, NY, to be
their worship center. It was the same building, in which they have been sharing for a couple years; restoring up the holy icons as the Altar Temple Sunday after Sunday. Many believers came through financially and spiritually to raise the Three Hundred Thousand dollars for the down payment for the purchase price of $800,000. On February 29, 1989 the faithful finally had the edifice to call their own church with the first spiritual leader being the Rev. Dr. George Kalangis of blessed memory.
In the next 15 years, the vibrant community experienced many growing pains.Its exciting youth movement, including the growth of its Greek afternoon school along with its inadequate building space, which required frequently major repairs, and the absence of the proper worship space, mandated the building process of its present edifice on the same site.
In September of 2010, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox of America assisted by the Rev. Fr. Sarantis Loulakis, the community present spiritual leader from January 2004 had broken ground to erect the new edifice, which it would be completed in the early fall of 2011.
The new edifice-church will house three spacious classes and a library for its Greek Afternoon school, in order to meet the many religious educational needs of the community; a large social hall with a seating capacity of 350, rendering services for many special occasions meeting the social needs of the community. Its sanctuary, a Basilica Byzantine style edifice will also have the seating capacity of 400 faithful. The Shrine (Chapel) of St. Nektarios and St. Constantine of Ydra will compliment the sanctuary.
Although the mission of the community is to serve the people of the Greek Orthodox faith and its Greek culture, while preserving a village type environment, in addition, it will be the immediate temporal home for the physically and mentally abused children of the area at large as a service to the community expressing the immeasurable love of God and Lord Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Fr. Sarantis P. Loulakis was born in Rhodes, Greece. He and Presvytera Norma Jean have been blessed with a son Polihronis and daughter Anastasia and grand-daughter Sophia.
Fr. Sarantis is a graduate of Venetokleion High school in Rhodes, Greece. He attended the University of Connecticut and is a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, MA. Masters in Divinity (December 2003).
He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate (2001) and to the Holy Priesthood (2003) by Metropolitan Bishop SAVAS of Pittsburgh. He was assigned by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios at St Markella in Wantagh, NY, as his first assignment in January of 2004, after having served as Deacon at St. George Cathedral in Hartford, CT, since 2001 while completing his studies at Holy Cross.