St. Demetrios Church observes Good Friday - Tucson News Now

St. Demetrios Church observes Good Friday with evening procession

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A Tucson church is not letting a fire damage its hopes for the future, as members reflect on their church's own renewal.

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church held its first Good Friday service since a fire burned and gutted its sanctuary in May last year.

About 100 parishioners marched and circled the church following the evening's Good Friday service. People carried the Kouvouklion and Epitaphios, the symbolic tomb of Christ, as members followed head priest Father Earl Cantos.

Cantos said Good Friday service is one of the most moving services of the year and has greater meaning this year for more reasons than one.

A fire burned the St. Demetrios sanctuary on May 29, 2013. The damage was so severe, it will have to be torn down, according to Cantos.

But the fire has not stopped church members from continuing services these past few months at a hall next door.

"Even more beautiful is that God has given us Ascension this year on May 29th, which is the first anniversary of our fire. So as we look toward 40 days from now, we'll be remembering our anniversary of being burned out of our home," Canots said. "But we'll be celebrating liturgically the Ascension of Christ from Earth to heaven. So I think there's a lot of symbolism that makes us very joyous and optimistic about the future."

St. Demetrios plans to relocate to an eight-acre spot on River Road near the Jewish Community Center, according to Cantos. They hope to break ground this winter.

The church's annual Greek Festival, which was canceled last year due to the fire, is scheduled at St. Demetrios' current Fort Lowell Road location this September.

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