Northern Michigan will soon have its first permanent Greek Orthodox church. The Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church started construction last week on property in Acme Township.
Since 2007, the parish has been gathering at a rented commercial building in Traverse City. Father Ciprian Streza says the parish covers all of northern lower Michigan.
“We have people traveling as far as Petoskey; we have a family that comes to church every Sunday all the way from Johannesburg,” he says. "We have people in Lake City, Cadillac, Interlochen ... so we cover quite a big area.”
Streza says the parish was started by ten families in 1999. In 2012, the parish bought the five-acre land parcel overlooking East Grand Traverse Bay.
“When we were looking for a property, we wanted to be accessible, inspirational and visible,” he says. “That five-acre property fulfills all the criteria of finding the perfect spot for the sanctuary.”
The church building will be highlighted by a large dome with a cross. It’s expected to be finished next June.