The origins of the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church date from the early 1900’s. At that time, several Greeks had immigrated to Santa Barbara, opening businesses and settling down. By the late 1930’s, these families dedicated themselves to founding an Orthodox house of worship in order to preserve and perpetrate the Orthodox Christian Faith.
During these formative stages, religious guidance was provided by Father Constantine Genis. Services were conducted in a small chapel at Trinity Episcopal Church and Greek School classes were held at the Louis Lowry Davis Center.
In 1947, the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church was incorporated, and in 1950, a small church was erected at 1124 Castillo Street. The parish became the cultural and spiritual center of the community, providing for the growth of the parish.
By the late 1970’s, the community had outgrown the church facilities. New accommodations were needed for worship services, religious education, and other expanding programs. In 1977, a spectacular site was acquired in the foothills above Santa Barbara and was subsequently blessed by Bishop Meletios of Christianoupolis on December 10, 1978.
A period of sustained work ensued. Considerable research, design and planning were required for development of the new facilities. Following many years, including four major public hearings, the necessary permits for construction were granted. On May 17, 1985, Bishop Anthony of San Francisco presided over ground-breaking ceremonies. Construction began on December 1, 1985 and was completed ten months later.
1985 Parish photo in front of first church on Castillo Street
On October 12, 1986, Bishop Anthony presided over the Grand Opening of the new church building. The church was consecrated twelve years later on October 4, 1998 by Archbishop Spyridon of America. A year previous to the Consecration, the parish hosted His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch on November 8, 1997 while he attended an environmental symposium in Santa Barbara.
Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church continues to share the Light of Christ in Santa Barbara. Her parishioners are dedicated to worship, fellowship and service to the community. We ask that our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless our parish and our city, through the intercessions of Saint Barbara.