Father Eugene Pappas

On growing up in Coney Island in the 1940s and the history of Greek-American businesses in the area

Father Eugene Pappas, the pastor of Southern Brooklyn's Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church for the past 35 years, shares his memories of Coney Island, where he was born in 1940. His family lived at 2812 Stillwell Avenue across from the subway terminal, and he grew up hearing the sound of the trains 24 hours a day. "As much as Coney Island has changed, it remains the same," says Father Pappas, who recalls the sounds and smells of Coney Island in the 1940s and '50s, and tells the history of Greek American businesses in the amusement area.  In the early 1920's, three humble workers from Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay asked the Archbishop to establish a new church in the southern part of Brooklyn. The story goes that the worker's names were Basil, John and Gregory (Vasilios, Ioannis and Gregorios), mirroring the names of the three holy hierarchs of Eastern Christianity --Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, and thus the church, which is on Avenue P in Midwood came to be named Three Hierarchs. Father Pappas hosts a radio program, “Matters of Conscience,” on WNYE COSMOS FM at 91.5 every Saturday at 1:15PM.