Southern Californian Orthodox Greek Church Reaches Out to Latino Community

September 21, 2002

Source: Los Angeles Times

On September 21, 2002 the Los Angeles Times reported that "in recent years, St. Sophia [Greek Orthodox Church] has helped start a free summer camp for underprivileged youth, raised funds to help provide uniforms for a nearby public school and counseling, art and tutoring programs... St. Sophia has been a driving force in transforming the neighborhood from an embattled bus corridor between downtown and the Pico district into a bustling business district officially christened the 'Byzantine-Latino Quarter.' [Many say]... the changes have been sparked by Father Bakas, 56, an effusive, dynamic man who was born in Greece, raised in New Mexico and assigned to Los Angeles in 1995. An amalgamation of spiritual leader and tireless salesman, Bakas rolls out a passionate vision in which religious and civic forces are marshaled to unify neighbors and improve an area troubled by some of the highest crime, poverty levels and unemployment rates in the city."