Orthodox Churches in the Caribbean

by Shannon Leigh O'Neil, studioD

The islands of the Caribbean are teeming with churches, representing all the world’s most common religions as well as some indigenous adaptations of these faiths. While Orthodox churches are relatively few in the Caribbean, those that exist in the region have devoted congregations and fascinating histories. Among the Orthodox Christian places of worship are Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Ethiopian and Coptic Orthodox churches.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Nassau, Bahamas

With weekly services on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is located near the United States Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas. It was established in 1932 on New Providence Island and still has a small but thriving congregation. The church building seats 100 parishioners who enjoy an abundance of religious services and ministries that take place during the ecclesiastical year. Rev. Fr. Theodore C. Roupas, who was ordained to the priesthood in 2008, serves as the presiding parish priest. (Reference 1)

Our Lady of Kazan Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Havana, Cuba

The first Russian Orthodox church in Cuba, Our Lady of Kazan, with its gleaming gold dome, is a tribute not only to God but also the Russian-Cuban alliance. Construction of the building began in 2004 at the behest of Fidel Castro. Four years later, the finished cathedral was unveiled by Cuban president Raul Castro and Russian president Dimitri Medvedev. It is situated in Havana’s historic old town district on Avenida del Puerto, overlooking Havana Port.

St. Nicholas Church in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

This diminutive house of worship belongs to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of North and South America, which is independent of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is named after the congregation’s patron saint, Nicholas the Wonderworker. Although the church is tiny, with folding chairs that seat only a handful of parishioners, it is ornately decorated with shrines and Ukrainian Orthodox icons. The church is located in the municipality of Puerto Plata, on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast.

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Trinidad and Tobago

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is headquartered in the inland town of Arouca, in the northern part of Trinidad. Established by African missionaries in the 1950s, the church was originally founded under the auspices of the Coptic Orthodox Church and designed to meet the needs of Afro-Trinidadian Christians. A number of clergymen preside over Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo worshippers throughout the island nation, leading ministries in Arouca, Port of Spain, Sangre Grande, Claxton Bay, San Fernando and other towns.

St. Mark and St. Bishop Coptic Orthodox Church in Saint Kitts and Nevis

A church under the direction of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, St. Mark and St. Bishop is in Basseterre, the largest city on the island of Saint Kitts. The presiding priest is Rev. Fr. Shenouda Newman, a former Ethiopian Orthodox priest who received his theological training in Jamaica, Ethiopia and Egypt. After its founding in 1980, the church moved several times before settling in its current location at Basseterre’s Lime Kiln Commercial and Institutional Park.

About the Author

Shannon Leigh O'Neil, a New York City-based arts and culture writer, has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles have appeared in "GO Magazine," "The New York Blade" and "HX Magazine," as well as online media. O'Neil holds a Master of Arts in modern art history from the City College of New York, where she also studied French and minored in classical languages.

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