The church building at the southeast corner of 61st and Michigan
also traces its beginnings to 1909. when Greek immigrants organized SS.
Constantine and Helen parish. Like St. Anselm's, SS. Constantine and
Helen's boasts a famous novelist, Harry Mark Petrakis, author of the
award-winning book Pericles on 31st Street, among others. Harry's
father, Mark E. Petrakis, came to the Greek parish as its pastor in 1923.
The present church was constructed following a fire in 1926 and completed
in 1928. Among the prominent Greeks who served on the building committee
was Andrew Karzas, the wealthy theater owner, who with his brother built
the lavish Trianon Ballroom at 62nd and Cottage Grove in 1922.
In 1948 the Greek congregation sold their Michigan Avenue church to
the Episcopal congregation of St. Edmund's and moved to South Shore where
they built a massive temple at 74th and Stony Island Avenue. Once again
as a result of racial change, the Greeks relocated in 1972, this time
to suburban Palos Hills. In addition to a new $2.3 million church complex
(1976), SS. Constantine and Helen parish supports the Koraes Elementary
School in Palos Hills, the second oldest Greek Orthodox day school in
Although St. Edmund's Episcopal Church did not move to 61st and
Michigan until 1948, the parish was one of Washington Park's early institutions.
Founded in 1905, the congregation moved three years later to a church
building at 5831 S. Indiana. As white families left the neighborhood in
response to racial change, many moved to Kenwood and Hyde Park where they
affiliated with St. Paul Episcopal Church at 50th and Dorchester. On July
1, 1928, St. Edmund's took on a new identity as a black parish, and twenty
years later the congregation moved into the former Greek Orthodox church
at 61st and Michigan. The above photograph shows St. Edmund's Episcopal
Church at the southeast corner of 61st and Michigan in1980.
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