Surely St. Basil's parishioners remember when the relic of St. Basil was brought to the church by Father Luke and blessed by the bishop. I was very lucky to be in town. St. Basil the Great was an amazing person whose many achievements/qualities included serving the poor and underprivileged, after having been born into wealthy family -- an important example for all.
Many parishioners also probably know that the church was named for St. Basil by lottery on December 7, 1930 (presided over by the bishop of that time). Stockton area Greeks bought tickets for $5 and wrote the name of the saint they favored right on the ticket. The winners were Stamatia and Emmanuel Xenakis...and St. Basil, of course.
But have you actually seen winning ticket #447? While in Stockton rummaging
wherever I could for historical information about my family, Eleni directed me to photo albums in the church's Fireside Room by saying,
"There are more in the cardboard box on the floor." Voila!
One of those albums has the winning ticket, plus a few other historical documents relating to the consecration of the new church. A letter gives witness to the fact that my Papou George Sarris
was one of the founding Board members. Rows of little slips of papers for each
family included the names of current family members and those deceased -- much
like the slips turned in today for special prayers by the person who baked
the andithoron. My best guess is that each family turned one in for
blessings when the church was consecrated in 1932. In any case, each slip contains important historical information.
There is a lot of information in those albums -- one with community obituaries,
some with Festival pictures/articles, and others carefully
organized/donated by parishioners who wanted to memorialize some Church
milestone or other activities as the church was the gathering place for
all things Greek. Others are just waiting for someone to come along and
reorganize them, to create that comprehensive history of St. Basil's and
the Stockton area Greek-American Community. Will that be you in 2014?