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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Greek Orthodox Christians display God's bounty at Festival

An estimated 18,000 people will be served by volunteers before cultural event ends today.
OPINION:  Never in a thousand years would I have imagined contemplating joining a Greek Orthodox congregation. It's funny how we grow and change during our spiritual journey, and I'm at the precipice of falling in love with orthodoxy after receiving the bountiful gifts exhibited at the three-day, 23rd annual Greek Festival held in Marietta, Ga. which ends today on the grounds of Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church.

επίθ. πλουσιόδωρος, γενναιόδωρος is Greek to me but has become more understandable after witnessing the time, love, and effort put into the Festival by volunteers working 12+ hour shifts, doing the utmost for God and community. Evident here are people willing to give and receive blessings.

Let the pictures do the are some of my festival favorites.

Young man surveys map of festival grounds. Comfortable shoes were worn for walking and dancing.
Greek Orthodox Christians are not teetotalers and like to serve liquid refreshments at celebrations.

Mothers and daughters shared colors, belts...
...and smiling braces!

Friday night featured dancing with fire. (Photo by Ilea Johnson)
Greek food is a festival staple which draws crowds every year, despite forecasted rain.

 Hats, scarves, and jewelry were best non-food items.

Cross-culturally, hair threading and caricatures were among Egyptian artifacts.
Protopresbyter Father P. (Dr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou) mingled in crowd in church amphitheater in between dancing sessions.

 A band from Ohio played Greek songs which seemed to last an eternity.

Volunteers at a busy booth were serving Baklava sundaes during the heat.

Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church is a non-profit which sponsors the event every year. Guests can learn about the religion by buying books, especially this one written in plain English.

To learn more about the Festival, go to:

©2013 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.


  1. Being one of the parishioners I'm humbled by your comments and quite proud that you felt so welcomed! We truly feel that there is a hidden gem in America within the various Orthodox churches that are here. In our case this festival gives a chance to showcase the culture of not only Greece but also the ancient Christian faith. Please accept my invitation to visit us again and if possible come to one of the services to see how all we've done centers on the glorification of God - the mystery and reverence in an Orthodox Liturgy cannot be described in words!

  2. Donna Smith writes: I read your article about our sister church, Holy Transfiguration, and your wonderful time at the Greek Festival. That church, its people and priest, are quite a special and blessed lot.

    I, personally, am excited to hear about your initial reaction to our faith, culture, and customs. My family converted after visiting the Cumming, GA Greek Festival 3 years ago. We are not Greek at all – but, have been embraced beyond measure in a faith thousands of years old.

    I wanted to extend an invitation to visit our small Parish, Sts. Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Greek Orthodox Church in Cumming, GA at any time.

    Also, we are having a visiting Priest this coming Sunday, May 26th to participate in our Liturgy as well as speak on “Churching the Nation” in the afternoon. There will be a Southern Style BBQ for lunch. Come if you can…

    +In Christ,
    Donna Smith


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