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The Rev. Dimitrios Alex Pappas swings a censer of burning incense at the start of a service Wednesday evening to celebrate of the annunciation of Mary and also to celebrate Greek Independence Day at St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church.

To celebrate the modern homeland’s 200th birthday, the Rev. Dimitrios Alex Pappas is showing off his great-grandmother’s amalia and great-grandfather’s foustanella. He estimates his heirloom Greek holiday attire is a century old.

The priest at St. Elias the Prophet Church has carved a bit of Greece into a hillside in Eldorado as a center for many second- and third-generation diaspora in Northern New Mexico who rely on the Greek Orthodox community as a cultural connection.

The white church, with its blue doors that match the New Mexico sky, is shaped like a Byzantine cross. Pomegranates hang on the door for the new year in January, and Pappas offers Mass in Greek, Spanish and English to a congregation that commutes from all over New Mexico.

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The Rev. Dimitrios Alex Pappas makes adjustments Wednesday to the flags he put up to celebrate Greek Independence Day at St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church.

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Maria Brignoni makes the sign of the cross Wednesday while attending St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church’s service in Eldorado. The hillside church, which is shaped like a Byzantine cross, draws a congregation that commutes from all over New Mexico.



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Ignatios Patsalis assists the Rev. Dimitrios Alex Pappas at Wednesday evening's service. 

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The Rev. Dimitrios Alex Pappas, holds up the Greek flag Wednesday at St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church as he explains the flag's significance in celebrating Greek Independence Day.

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