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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsDowntown South Carolina Greek congregation raises dome

Downtown South Carolina Greek congregation raises dome

A crane raises the 45-ton dome in place on the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Columbia.
With dozens of parishioners, construction workers and the curious looking on, a giant crane lifted a 65,000-pound steel dome Friday morning and set it atop the structure that will be the new home to worshippers at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.
The Rev. Michael Platanis, the parish’s leader, blessed the dome with holy water and led the gathering of about 300 in prayer.
Shortly thereafter, workers with Hood Construction, the project’s general contractor, placed the 52-foot dome atop the church. “It was very quiet going up,” Platanis said. “But once it landed, people clapped. Once we saw the line go slack, everyone cheered.”
(source: the state)
The dome, lined with a protective mesh, will be covered with a thin layer of aluminum that will be painted gold. The dome, which will weigh roughly 45 tons once completed, will be adorned with a Justinian cross, making the church a distinctive new element of Columbia’s Main Street.
“Any place we build these churches, they become instant landmarks,” said Christ Kamages, the architect of the Byzantine-style structure. The central dome building, hearkening back to the architecture of the early church, serves as witness to the power of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ, he said.
“For Columbia, you have a faith that goes back to the founding of Christianity,” said Kamages, who is president and chief architect of CJK Design Group of San Francisco.
Holy Trinity, whose current sanctuary fronts Sumter Street, welcomes thousands each year to its Greek Festival, giving tours and explaining the history of the Eastern Orthodox congregation.
The new sanctuary, a $6 million project, features 20 8-foot windows circling the dome and expansive interior space, allowing for even more expression of traditional Orthodox iconography, including a large medallion of Christ that will be hung inside the dome, Platanis said.
The design of the 9,500-square-foot church is based on 6th century architecture but incorporates all the modern structural elements available today.
The cast stone masonry and stucco building will seat 550 when completed and will include an attached chapel.
Platanis said the congregation, established in Columbia in 1936, will host a door-opening service, called a Thyranoixia, and a consecration service once the building is completed in early 2011.
In the meantime, project milestones like Friday’s dome placement are moments to celebrate.
“It was very, very smooth and very, very beautiful,” Platanis said.

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