Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church

Our church has a rich, local history dating back to 1965.  And our Greek Festival is a whopping 49 years young!  Learn more about us, our annual event and the Great Holy Martyr Saint Katherine below.

The Holy & Great Martyr Katherine

Hailing from Alexandria, Egypt – the undeniable center of Hellenistic knowledge – Katherine was the beautiful and intellectual daughter of Constus, a governor of Egypt during the reign of Roman Emperor Maximian (305-312).  There she received an excellent education, studying the works of Antiquity’s greatest philosophers and scholars.  

Soon after Katherine converted to Christianity, Maximian attended a pagan festival in Alexandria where a great many sacrifices were put forth, inclusive of the bodies of Christians who would not deny Christ. Katherine introduced herself and confessed her faith in the One True God. Her beauty captivated the Emperor.  To win her over he ordered 50 of the Empire’s most learned philosophers and rhetoricians to debate her.  Instead of convincing her to deny her beliefs, through her own words they came to believe in Christ and so, were all burned alive by his orders.
 
 
 
 

Our Church's History in Melbourne, Fl

Saint Katherine traces its roots back to 1965 when nine Merritt Island residents sought to create a new Parish.  By 1966 their charter was signed and approved by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese – Diocese of Atlanta, setting out a future for the Greek Orthodox community in Brevard.
With their charter secured, the young parish began quickly fundraising for a community center in Melbourne and found, along a quiet stretch of a then two-lane Wickham Road, a few acres of land nestled amongst Slash Pine forests and cow pastures. The growing community purchased an additional acre a few years later.  The Hellenic Community Center, which still stands today, was completed in the Spring of 1968 and was used as both a social hall and the Church on Sundays. The first service was conducted on Pascha (Greek Easter) of that year. 
The Greek Orthodox Church of Brevard County, incorporated in the State of Florida in 1974, adopting the original 1965 Charter established by the Hellenic Community Center.  Within a few more years design & construction began on the current Church building and sanctuary.  Built with the sweat-equity of some parishioners who still attend Saint Katherine to this day, it was envisioned by a few of Saint Katherine’s most celebrated creatives, with the Church’s simple design being abstracted from village churches in Greece and traditional boat construction.  It employs an array of glue-laminated structural supports which were prevalent in the architecture of that period.
 
In June of 1980, Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church became its official name and in the decades that followed within its simple shell, liturgical accoutrement (including the brilliant Byzantine-style mosaics of internationally-famed Italian iconographer Sirio Tonelli) were added to its interiors, layering them with Church traditions set forth for centuries.
From those early days, our Greek Orthodox community has grown from across three Counties and as we plan for our future with an enlarged Community Center and idyllically landscaped campus grounds, we are also designing the Orthodox Garden Estate & Anastasi (Resurrection) Chapel at Florida Memorial Gardens.  Envisioned as a place of peace, rest and repose with objects and landscape in conceptual and physical dialogue, it respects and will physically represent our 2000 years of Orthodox history in built form.

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