REVEREND FATHER STRATTON DOROZENSKI, ST. NICHOLAS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
Dorozenski? That’s not Greek, is it?
Yeah, he’s heard the question before—he should have a nickel for every time! As it happens, Stratton Dorozenski—Proistamenos of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Troy—is the son of a Polish tool and die maker and a Greek mother. In the frequent tradition of old-school families, he was raised in his mother’s faith, and so persuasive was she, evidently, that his father converted to the Orthodox faith in the late Sixties and Stratton himself has gone on to become an exemplary leader of the Greek Orthodox Church.
In a rich baritone well-suited to a man who speaks passionately from the pulpit, Father Dorozenski is able to put into easy-to-grasp terms the subtle differences between the two faiths in which his parents were raised, and has as keen an understanding for Roman Catholicism as for Greek Orthodox traditions. This also plays into a conversation about his last name, and the number of congregants that are not Greek. “Roman Catholics need not be Italian, of course—most are not. But it is a Christian church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI.”
The Connecticut born pastor cherishes his European roots, and is eloquent in his description of the valor his ancestors displayed in the Second World War, and the contribution of the Greek people to the world. The soul of his conversation, of course, is the Orthodox faith and the great gift mankind has been given by God through Jesus Christ. In assuming humanity, he explains, God makes it possible for man to participate in divinity. Orthodox Christians d believe that humans may participate in the divine energies of God without loss of their personal particularity. Humans, therefore, become by grace what God is by nature.
As pastor of Troy’s beautiful St. Nicholas Church, Father Stratton is as well versed in parish history as he is in theological dogma: St. Nicholas was originally called The Greek Orthodox Church of the North Side came into being at a meeting in 1936 at the home of Gust Petropoulos in Detroit. Also present during that meeting were W. Barr (Barbatiotis), E. Broussalis, G. Caralis, G. Conn (Kalopesis), G. Demetriades, J. Dritsas, S. Efthiman, K. Giannios, G. Kalyvas, N. Kyriakou, M. Mihalakis, A. Paterikes, C. Stamos and B. Stathakis.
An eleven acre tract of land in Troy, located by Mary Souphis, was purchased in 1987 for approximately $210,000. The purchase was approved by the Parish Assembly and the fundraising was spearheaded by the Dean Becharas family, which donated $250,000 to be used for the purchase and development of the land.
As we know it today, the church were held in 1994 with Bishop Timothy presiding. The marble fixtures had been installed and an artist was hired to handle the touching-up and installation of the murals and iconography. The iconostasis was subsequently installed and George Philipakis, an artist, was commissioned to paint new icons for the iconostasis.