The West Rand Hellenic Community is celebrating the Annual Feast Day of Saint Andrew The First Cosen to be held on Sunday 1st December 2013 at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Andrew, 26 Amajuba Street, Noordheuwel, Krugersdorp.
The Church service will be officiated by the Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria His Eminence Damaskinos.
The Founding of our Community
In 1968 a few Christian Orthodox inhabitants of the West Rand in Johannesburg decided to make the dream of building a church a reality. They approached the Krugersdorp municipality with a survey of the Greek Orthodox population on the West Rand. With the initiative and untiring effort of Mr. Andreas Z. Hajipavlou, the community was allocated 3 stands on the 4th November 1969 in the new suburb of Noordheuwel, Krugersdorp, measuring 8000 square meters at a token cost of R50 each. The ground, together with legal and other expenses, cost a total of R500.
This event led to the founding of our community at a meeting held in the home of Andreas Hajipavlou. In February 1970, the Hellenic Community of the West Rand was formed to serve the Greek speaking population from the boundaries of Johannesburg in the East, to Carletonville in the West. A Constitution was adopted with the valuable assistance of Mr. John Callinicos and Mr. Pelops Angelopoulos, the President and Secretary of the Hellenic Community of Pretoria. The first council was elected with the late Mr. A. Palexas as President. The honor of Honorary President of the Community was bestowed on him unanimously in recognition of his untiring work in the community, for his guidance, assistance and financial help to many immigrants making South Africa their new home. After his death, this honor was bestowed on Mr. Andreas Hajipavlou who had initiated the founding of the Community and served 16 years on the Council and as President.
At the inaugural meeting, the first funds (R500) to start building the Church of St. Andrew were collected, the first receipt being issued to Mr. Andrew Christofides of Silverfields, who later became an active council member. After this modest start, the first festival (Panigiri) was held in November 1972 on a leveled piece of ground where the church stands today. The princely sum of R700 was raised. Since then the Panigiri is held on the nearest Sunday to the 30th November and has become known amongst the Greek Orthodox population of Gauteng, in fact though-out the whole country, for its authentic folk atmosphere and hospitality.
The building of the church, designed by Lano Michaelides and built by Nestor Kitalides and John Augustides, commenced in 1972 and was completed in 1974. The total cost of the building, icons and complete furnishings of the church, cost the small community the grand sum of R125 000. The iconostasis which dates to over 100 years, was given to St. Andrews by the Pretoria Greek Community and is from the old Pretoria Greek Church which was demolished and rebuilt in another part of town. The iconostasis was made to fit into the new church and today pays tribute to the magnificent workmanship of yesteryear.