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Local church reconstruction underway

Local church reconstruction underway

POCATELLO, Idaho - One of the area's oldest buildings, a recognized historical monument, is getting some major reconstructive work. The Greek Orthodox Church in Pocatello is getting a whole new facelift and upgrades inside as it prepares to turn 100 years old.

"It's one of maybe three or four surviving continuously functioning facilities in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese," said Deacon Seraphim.

There are many historic buildings in our area, scattered in our neighborhoods and in our historic old towns. So when those buildings start to age and need major renovations, it's a sensitive balance between preserving the historic integrity and upgrading sometimes 100 year old wiring.

The deacon of the Greek Orthodox Church said as soon as construction equipment showed up, folks started wondering what was happening.

"I know a lot of people were worried," said Seraphim. "'They're not tearing the church down, are they?' No, we're not, we're keeping everything the same. It just needs to be redone."

And when Deacon Seraphim said everything needs to be redone, he means everything.

"It's going to be a whole new roof, new bell tower, we're going to refinish the pews inside, lay new flooring, new wiring, new lighting," said Deacon Seraphim. "Everything will be new and renewed."

Seraphim says while the congregation has been around for longer, the church itself is celebrating 100 years in 2015.

"It's all original 1915 construction. There have been some patches here and there, but now we've decided that we've got the funds to do it, we've the time, why not now?"

Seraphim also says he's reached out to other churches to find out about restoring stained glass windows. Two round windows on the front of the church were covered up by the original roof and that will change once construction is finished in two or three months.

"Throughout the year we're planning to have some open houses, some guided tours, and we definitely welcome the community to come and see it," he said. "Even if they don't want to come to church."

The Greek population in Pocatello was over 3,000 around the turn of the century. While many went back to Greece, Seraphim says some of the families stayed and are still here.

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