Significant And Successful Changes In Spiritual Leadership At St. Nicholas – QNS.com

Significant And Successful Changes In Spiritual Leadership At St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas Greek Church in Flushing, with the largest Greek Orthodox congregation in the United States, underwent some significant changes this year.
While the Church lost their beloved pastor, Rev. Father George G. Passias, when he was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese, they gained a new church leader when Rev. Father Paul C. Palesty took over and began serving the congregation.
The transition apparently went over very well according to parishioners, and although Father George is missed by all, Father Paul has been greatly welcomed and has been praised for his efforts to integrate himself into the life of St. Nicholas.
After serving his parish family at St. Nicholas for 19 years, Father George began serving his Archdiocese – in the highest position a married priest can obtain – in September.
In his new role as Chancellor, Father George supervises the Greek Orthodox clergy and works with the Holy Cross Theological School to help formulate education policies. As a "teacher of priests" he will also be responsible for establishing Greek Orthodox monasteries throughout the United States.
Under the leadership of Father George, who was fondly called a "player-coach" because he was so involved in all aspects of church life, the membership of the church doubled, with more than 2,300 families attending services.
Aside from his spiritual contributions, Father George was highly praised for his work with the youth members of the Church, and remembered for the many programs he created to ignite a fire of faith in youngsters, including many activities he ran out his own home.
As Chancellor, Father Paul will help the Archdiocese mark its 75 anniversary this year, an important celebration for the more than 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians currently in the United States.
While faced with perhaps tough shoes to fill, Father Paul, a former St. Nicholas altar boy said he was definitely up to the challenge of leading the largest Greek Orthodox Church in this country into the 21 century. He said he was looking forward to being at St. Nicholas at least as long as his predecessor.
Father Paul said he is working hard to learn the names of the more than 5,000 parishioners, and to continue the many successful programs run by the Church as well as establish new ones.
The new pastor said he hopes to expand the church’s community outreach programs, finding ways to fulfill the needs of the growing and diverse population of Flushing – for people of all faiths. He stressed that he hopes to continue finding ways to inspire faith in the young, without neglecting the elderly.
Father Paul, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1978, has served as a spiritual leader in churches across the country, and for the past seven years was the pastor of St. Demetrios in Merrick, Long Island.
In just several months, Father Paul has thrown himself into life at St. Nicholas. He participated in the extremely successful annual church festival in October, he does one-on-one counseling, fully supports the open-door policy of the Church which makes the clergy extremely accessible to the public and plans moving weekly sermons to keep and attract even more parishioners, anxious to embrace orthodoxy.

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