RECEIVING THE RELICS IN COVINA, CALIFORNIA
A Humble Beginning
The Saint Nectarios Parish of Covina, California was established on October 12, 1973. Church Services commenced at St. John’s Episcopal Church in La Verne, California, on June 30, 1974. Reverend George Hadjis (1974 -1975) was the first priest to hold regular Liturgy on Sundays for the newly founded Greek Orthodox Church which was then named as Covina-Pomona Valley Greek Orthodox Church in the City of La Verne, California. He was succeeded by Archimandrite the Very Reverend Paul Koutoukas (1975-1977) who was the first full time priest assigned to the Covina-Pomona Valley Greek Orthodox Church.
In May of 1976, property was purchased in Covina for the purpose of building a temporary church. In June of 1976 the name of St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church, by an overwhelming vote, was selected as the patron Saint of the parish. Father Spiro Pieratos was transferred from St. Sophia Parish San Antonio Texas to St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church. He served as a full-time priest from 1977 until his retirement in 1993. Ground-breaking for construction took place in November of 1978. Actual construction began in 1979, with the first Liturgy being celebrated on June 15, 1980.
Envisioned to Become a Permanent Shrine
Father Spiro envisioned that the Parish could and should become a permanent Shrine, dedicated to the healing, Saint Nectarios. He went to Aegina, Greece on September 3, 1979 and relics were given to him for our parish by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Hydra, Spetsae and Aigina, with co-approval by the nuns of the Convent of the Holy Trinity (or as it is commonly called today – of St. Nectarios), which Saint Nectarios had established and where now his remains repose. Since that time our parish has become a shrine with which thousands have made contact for prayer and healing. The brief but beautiful ceremony took place in the Sanctuary of the tiny chapel in which all the Relics are now kept in two reliquaries for veneration. Bringing part of the relics to the United States was a cherished privilege – “One which I long remember with fond memories” said Father Spiro Pieratos. The Relic of this humble Saint now rests in Covina, California, in a temporary Church built in 1980.