We, the Stewards of St.Catherine, commit to placing Jesus Christ, our Lord, God and Savior first in our daily lives.
The first Orthodox Church in Denver was established in 1906. The current Assumption Cathedral has served the needs of a large Greek Orthodox community to the present day. Yet by the early 1980s demographics shifted, both to the south suburbs and to include multi-generations of Greek Americans and other ethnicities. A group of members from Assumption Cathedral originated the concept of building a new sanctuary in the Southern expanses of the Denver metro area.
Once the idea of a new parish solidified, many came forth to support it. Several parishioners built an altar table and icon screen for services. Father Dean Talagan and the newly formed parish celebrated its first Divine Liturgy on April 1, 1984 at Slavens Elementary School, located at Dartmouth and South Clayton Street in Denver, Colorado. Before long the new parish had a Choir, a Philoptochos Society, Sunday School, GOYA and Junior GOYA. The parish was on its way in its temporary home, renting space from the school until 1990.
The application for the Charter for the Greek Orthodox Church of South Denver was signed by 20 members of our originating families. Once His Eminence granted the Charter for the church in January 1985, these members faced the formidable tasks of fundraising, finding a suitable location and naming the church. It was voted to build the Sanctuary first and then a community center. In August 1986 the community voted and approved the present-day site for St. Catherine on South Yosemite Street.
Groundbreaking took place June 7, 1987 – the Feast Day of Holy Pentecost. His Grace Bishop Anthimos with His Grace Bishop Kallistos officiated along with other local clergy. The festivities drew a great crowd of parishioners and visitors, including then Gov. Roy Romer who spoke at the ceremony.
A few years later, the church added the community center and office space, as well as a slab foundation for future growth.
When it came time to choose a name for the new parish, several were suggested. Traditionally, the largest church donor has the honor of selecting the name. However, the parish decided each parishioner should have a voice. So the entire community, including the youth, voted. The ballots were tallied on a chalkboard for all to see, and on April 7, 1985, St. Catherine the Brilliant Great Martyr became the patroness of the new parish.
The “Tranixia” (Opening of the Doors), for Saint Catherine, was held on Sunday, June 10, 1990. Traditionally, after the Opening Ceremony takes place outside the front doors; the Clergy enter the sanctuary first, followed by the person(s) who bid for this honor. At Saint Catherine, to signify the moment, a white dove was released. Following were all the children of the parish, laying rose petals as they walked, leading the procession into the sanctuary. On June 18, 1995 St. Catherine was consecrated with a beautiful ceremony.
The face of St. Catherine has changed since that bright sunny day in June 1990. Many stories could be told of the great adventure to get from here to there and the generations that participated. In 2001 the church expanded from the office/community center to a brand new classroom building, gymnasium/banquet room, with two kitchens, new offices, larger reception hall and bookstore.
In 2005, the Village of St. Catherine began as a vision for taking care of the needs of our elderly. Although the vision was altered to a degree, it still stands as a testimonial of the generosity, hard work and dedication of the parishioners of St. Catherine. In 2007 the beautification project for the sanctuary began by replacing old windows with beautifully adorned leaded glass windows throughout, new paint, ceiling maintenance and repair, refinishing of the pews and six beautiful chandeliers, preparing a beautiful palette for the painting of icons throughout in true Orthodox style.
The faithful of St. Catherine have always been focused with the determination to listen, accept and go forward with God’s teachings. The past 27 years have opened the pathway for future generations to love and respect their church and their faith. They have been taught the value of generosity of love and kind. Beginning within the walls of our parish; traveling through the needs of Orthodox Christians throughout our Metropolis and Archdiocese; continuing on through the needs of those throughout the world. May God continue to bless us with the gifts He has bestowed upon us as individuals and as a community. May our religious leaders continue to set strong examples of wisdom, faith and guidance with His blessings. And may the future years bring with them many generations of faithful to continue the legacy of St. Catherine.
About St. Catherine the Great Martyr
St. Catherine was born in the third century, in Alexandria, Egypt. Being of royal lineage, she was immersed in the great cultural tradition of Alexandria. She acquainted herself with the writings of the philosophers, poets, physicians, and scientists of the Hellenes.
Through the influence of her pious mother, Catherine became a Christian in her youth. Her love of learning led her to the study of the Sacred Scriptures and the writings of the Church Fathers. She became a devoted follower of Christ and an ardent defender of the Orthodox faith.
On November 25, 305, while still in the prime of her youth, Catherine was martyred in the city of her birth during the reign of the impious Emperor Maxentius. He marveled at her loveliness and wisdom but he was dreadfully dismayed by her defense of Christians. Because she was of imperial stock, he did not wish to harm her openly but hoped to humiliate her to submission. He ordered that she defend her faith in open debate with the renowned orators and philosophers of Alexandria. Catherine defeated and silenced them with her brilliance.
The Emperor ordered Catherine be stripped of her imperial garb, flogged and tortured. He ultimately condemned her to death on the breaking wheel, an instrument of torture. According to legend, the wheel itself broke when she touched it, so she was beheaded. Her holy relics were taken by angels to a holy mountain near Mt. Sinai, where they were discovered many years later. The famous monastery of Saint Catherine was originally dedicated to the Holy Transfiguration of the Lord and the Burning Bush, but later was dedicated to Saint Catherine. Because of her royal lineage, St. Catherine is depicted invariably in imperial garments holding a martyr’s cross. She is often shown seated at a desk upon which is an open book. Other books and a celestial sphere are at her feet, indicating her extensive knowledge and wisdom. She is also portrayed with her left hand resting on a wheel, the symbol of progress, but in her case the emblem of her martyrdom.