Jun 19, 2013 4:53 PM by Brian White

Greek Fest canceled due to church fire

UPDATE: The Greek Festival will not go on this year because of the fire, St. Demetrios officials said. However, a fund raiser for the church has now been finalized.

The church has remediated much of the smoke damage in non-burned areas. Painting in halls and rooms has been completed.

It has not been yet been determined whether the Church will remodel or rebuild elsewhere.

For more on the fundraising event to be held at the Fox Theater click here. To donate to St. Demetrios, click here.

TUCSON- Today marks three weeks since a late night fire nearly destroyed St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.

But even in places untouched by the flames, the smell of smoke lingers. "That smell of destruction is everywhere," says Father Earl Cantos.

Shards of glass sit outside the building, smoke damage stains the walls and yellow caution tape covers the steps leading to the main church. "I like to say that you're not defined by what happens to you, but you are defined by how you respond," Father Cantos says.

Over the last three weeks he has used that message to guide the church's members. He says their spirit stays strong, despite the emotional and monetary losses. "We had to reimburse all people who had rented our hall, so that was a big chunk of change," Father Cantos says.

In the next few days they will find out from the city whether or not the church must be torn down. "It's quite a process of trying to vent it and do ozone cleaning," Father Cantos says.

He doesn't think they will be able to restore it, but he knows members will not lose faith in the church's future. Father Cantos says one option is to rebuild at an undeveloped property they own along River Road.

He says the once they hear from the city, the decision will fall with church members and the community. "You have to give glory to God in everything that happens and somehow we believe that even though this has been a terrible, dramatic thing for us, some good will come from it," Father Cantos says.

The church plans to hold a benefit concert next month and Father Cantos says they're looking for an indoor venue to host the concert. Ideally it would be able to hold 800 to 1,000 people. If you would like to help, contact Father Cantos at his office at 888-0505, or contact Cheryl at the Ward 3 office at 791-4711.


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