Former members say goodbye to St. Johns church

Greek church

Father Thomas Guerry, former church members and their loved ones gathered to say farewell to St. Johns Greek Orthodox Church. The building is being demolished to make way for a new restaurant. The icons inside the church have been removed and donated to Saints Markella and Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Walton Beach.

Jacob Fuller
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM.

About 20 people attended a service led by Father Thomas Guerry to say a reverent goodbye to St. Johns Greek Orthodox Church.

Guerry said it is extremely rare for a Greek orthodox church to be torn down, so there is no official deconsecration service. He led a prayer service to ask for blessings on the church’s former members.

The church's legacy will live on in what it has passed on at Saints Markella and Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Walton Beach. 

"They gave a number of wonderful, wonderful icons, hand-painted," Guerry told The Log. "Iconography is very, very important in Eastern Orthodox worship. So part of the life of this church will live on there."

Mike Buckingham purchased the church on Hwy. 98 in 2012 for $330,000. He plans to demolish the church to make way for a new building where he plans to open a restaurant.

The stained-glass windows and icons have already been removed, and workers returned within minutes after the farewell service to continue removing roof tiles from the building and prepping it for demolition — which could come sometime in the next two weeks.

The small church was built in the 1980s by three sisters: Stella Marler, Cleo Marler and Vera Walter, in honor of their father John George Maltezos. Stella and Cleo traveled to Aegina Island, Greece, where their father was born, and got blueprints from their family's church. Except for the basement in the original, St. Johns was an exact replica of the church in Greece.

1 2

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top

Local Faves