The history of St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church dates back to the late 19th century when Greek immigrants began calling Jacksonville “home”. In 1916 a residence was purchased and converted into the first Greek Orthodox Church of Jacksonville. Over the next 90 years, parishioners have worshiped in three different buildings which included a church in the downtown area and our beloved church on Atlantic Boulevard.
In 1959, the Atlantic Boulevard property was purchased and in 1967 construction began. The first liturgy was held in 1968 and since then has been a place of innumerable weddings, baptisms, funerals and the center for the liturgical life of the faithful in the greater Jacksonville area.
As the third oldest Greek Orthodox Church in the state of Florida, St. John the Divine has always centered itself around the Lord’s teachings and being a Holy Sanctuary for families to grow in their spiritual journey with Christ. Through this 90 year journey, the parish has grown to more than 350 families encompassing people from various ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds all sharing a common love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Orthodox Faith in which we believe.
During the 1990’s, St. John the Divine parishioners began to address the future necessity of a new church campus under the leadership of a long-range planning committee which led to the purchase of approximately 20 acres on Beach Boulevard. This milestone led in to the formation of a group of experienced professionals within our parish who form the Millennium Building Committee.
The St. John the Divine General Assembly of May 22, 2005 unanimously approved the selection of Papadatos and Associates of New York as the Master Planner for the new Church project. Through countless hours of meetings and diligent planning, the committee addressed several current challenges and those on the horizon for our growing parish. At a Special General Assembly held on May 7, 2006, the community of St. John Divine unanimously approved the Master Plan of our new Church complex on our Beach Boulevard property which was purchased in April 2000.
On August 16, 2008 at a Special General Assembly, the Millennium Building Committee made a presentation to the community on the “Conceptual Building Elevations of the Master Plan Vision”. The following motion was unanimously approved: “We the Millennium Building Committee of St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church, having unanimously approved the Conceptual Elevations of the Master Plan Vision as presented and with the unanimous approval of the Parish Council do hereby recommend to the General Assembly that they too approve the same Conceptual Building Elevations of the Master Plan Vision as presented today as the Community’s Long Range Building Vision for the Beach Boulevard Property.”
A combined delegation of Millennium Building Committee and Parish Council members traveled to Atlanta on September 10, 2008 to deliver the “Conceptual Building Elevations of the Master Plan Vision” briefing to His Grace Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta. On October 16, 2008, His Grace Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta bestowed his permission and blessings on the community to proceed with the building program.
The Millennium Building Committee along with the Capital Campaign Committee have utilized the results of a Feasibility Study conducted by Father Constantine Zozos, other parish financial data, Master Plan information, construction costs estimates, and debt service to develop a sound financial plan to recommend the initial building concept whose scope falls within the financial means of the parish. The Building Committee along with the Capital Campaign Committee recommended that the initial building concept include a Church and a Family Life Center. The financial plan along with the recommended building concept was presented and unanimously approved by the Parish Council on March 14, 2011.
On April 3, 2011, with the blessings of his Eminence Metropolitan Alexios, a Special General Assembly was held where the community unanimously approved proceeding with launching the Capital Campaign based on the recommended building concept.
On May 19, 2013, a Special General Assembly was held and the community approved the updated financial plan and milestones and authorized architect Steven Papadatos to proceed with design work.
On October 18, 2015, the Community approved to proceed with the sale of approximately 8 acres of the 23 acre Beach Boulevard Property for the construction of a charter school. The Purchase and Sale Agreement for the sale of the 8 +/- acres was approved on February 22, 2016, with final closing of the sale occurring on October 13, 2016 for $2.4 million.
On September 24, 2017 as part of the Centennial Celebration for St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the new Church property. His Eminence Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America, His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Louh, Rev. Dr. Milton Magos, Deacon Athanasios Kartsonis, along with the faithful Parishioners laid the Cornerstone for the new Church.
On August 20, 2017 at a Special General Assembly, the community approved the general lay-out of the Church Campus, authorizing the Building Committee and project team to proceed with design, engineering and construction at a cost not to exceed $13 million. In addition, the Community approved the contract for Sauer Incorporated, the design-build contractor for the new Church Campus.