Located on Chicago Trail outside of New Carlisle, the Holy Dormition Chapel of St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church has been a part of the community for nearly 60 years. The connection between New Carlisle and St. Andrew’s, located in South Bend, was established long ago as many of the parishioners lived in the area.
In 1956 Louis Nitsos, a wealthy farmer, gave five acres of his farmland to the Parish to build a chapel in memory of his parents. The chapel was used infrequently, except on the Feast Day of the Holy Dormition.
After a Divine Liturgy at St. Andrew in South Bend, parishioners would drive out to the chapel on Chicago Trail to have a Greek style picnic. At that time, St. Andrew’s was located on Michigan Street in downtown South Bend with limited land to host large events.
Out in the vast farmland, the chapel provided a venue for the parish picnic until the Church moved to its more spacious current location on Ironwood Road. (St. Andrew’s annually hosts a three-day Greek Fest in June, drawing up to 5,000 guests to celebrate Greek culture and food.) As a result, the chapel fell into years of disuse.
However, when Father George Konstantopoulos came to South Bend in 2000, he noticed the neglected chapel had potential and sought to reactivate and renovate the building for weekly use.
Father George credits the grace of God and generosity of the parishioners for the revival of the chapel. Originally with only room to hold 20 people, the building has been expanded to hold up to 85.
While the chapel has been revived, there are still plans to improve the facility in the near future. There is work to be done outside, including landscaping and paving. A decorative wall to enclose the property and a bell tower are also desired.
The chapel will be hosting its 13th annual Holy Dormition Feast Day Parish Picnic on Sunday, August 21, with the proceeds benefiting maintenance and future improvements to the grounds.
St. Andrew's will be closed as services will be held at the chapel. A lunch buffet will begin at 12:30. The cost is $13 per person/$3 for children.
In addition to enjoying the food and fresh air, there will be bounce houses for the kids.
“The aim is to be a place of worship and a spiritual retreat center,” Father George said.
Services are held every Friday, visitors are welcome to come see the chapel and join in worship.