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Stockton, California

Saint Basil Heritage Society

Community History

The 1870 census of San Joaquin County, where Stockton is located, shows that there were Greeks in the county at that time; some came to work on the railroad and some to start businesses of their own.

By the 1920s, a number of young families were established in Stockton. As children of these families were growing, there was deep concern to preserve their spiritual, ethnic, and linguistic identity and heritage, which was precious and dear to our parents and grandparents. This concern, spurred and encouraged especially by the wives and mothers of these families, gave rise to an organization named the Adelfotis, the Hellenic Mutual Society.

The Society also started a group health insurance plan and arranged to have their health needs met at reduced prices. The Society served all Greek immigrants in the area, including the cities of Tracy, Lodi and Manteca. Through the Society's efforts, priests were brought to Stockton for Easter and Christmas services, baptisms, weddings and funerals.

The earliest baptism in Stockton, recorded in the baptismal records of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, was in May 1908.

The parish of Saint Basil was recognized as a religious organization by the state of California in December 1929. The new congregation celebrated Christmas in their new two-story brick church in 1930. To meet the increasing demands of a growing parish, a new church building was constructed next to the first one and was officially opened in 1948.

Looking to the future, the descendants of the of the founding fathers recognized the need for future expansion, and purchased a large piece of property in 1961; then, on January 2, 1971, the Thiranixia, or Door Opening, of the newly completed Church of Saint Basil took place.

Today, Saint Basil has a greater ecumenical and interfaith presence in the city of Stockton, due in part to the parish's response to the fire bombing of three Sacramento synagogues several years ago, and its Hands On philanthropic outreach to the city's disadvantaged through involvement with the St. Mary's Interfaith Dining Room.

In June 2001, the Saint Basil Heritage Society and the Parish Community hosted the third symposium (2001) for the Preservation of Our History: Past, Present, and Future.

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