Shortage Of Skilled Help Forces Rector To Do Work
SHORT OF SKILLED HELP because of the press of war wort, Rev. Spiridon Dora, pastor of Saint George’s Syrian Orthodox Church, is shown here repairing the 40-foot high ceiling of the church. Father Dora built the scaffolding, himself. The work will be slow and dangerous, but Father Dora said he didn’t mind, and that he’d get it done.
Rev. Spiridon Dora, the rector, met the acute labor shortage in Norwood by putting on some old clothes in place of his vestments and going to work as a carpenter and painter to make necessary repairs on the St. George’s Syrian-Greek Orthodox Church on Atwood Avenue, South Norwood.
Working at dangerous heights in ripping out the top ceiling of the high dome of the church auditorium and painting the cross atop of the edifice, Father Dora didn’t show a bit of nervousness but went on with his somewhat dangerous work like an experienced carpenter. He was well over 60 feet above the ground when he stood on the pinnacle of the building to paint the cross.
It all came about when the church committee decided that the plaster in the dome was too rotten —having rotted from moisture—to allow it to go for another season. The project called for tearing down the plaster and replacing it with copper.
However, when churchmen went looking for carpenters it was learned that they were pretty busy on defense projects and to hire a carpenter for repairing the dome of the church would mean, indirectly, hampering the war effort. Another fact seemed to block the repair project when the committee found that copper was not available.
Now the plaster was beginning to drop down in the auditorium where the people attended Mass but it was still a discouraging situation for the committee to find a way to make the repairs. But it was all solved by Father Dora.
Known as an enthusiastic worker for his church since he came here four years ago. Rev. Dora said he believed he could do all the repairs necessary to the $40,000 building on Atwood Avenue.
First, the Syrian-born clergyman climbed to the outside of the church where he made a minute Inspection of the dome roof and then by standing on the very top of the dome, repainted the cross. The cross was gold in color, but Father Dora painted it a dark color, so the building would be less noticeable as a landmark from the air in case of an enemy bombing raid.
Then the sincere, hard-working clergyman started building a platform In the middle of the church auditorium. He built the staging up into the high dome with the platform on the very top—about forty feet from the floor. Each weekday for the past week and the next two or three weeks will find Rev. Dora working on the top of the staging.
First, he is pulling down the old plaster, and then—because of the metal shortage—Father Dora will nail up a board ceiling, which will remain there for the duration. After the war, carpenters will be hired and a ventilation system to carry off the moisture and the new ceiling will be installed.
The church building was erected about 10 years ago and the members of the church, through their whole-hearted and vigorous efforts, paid off the mortgage last year. After the bank was given the final check on the mortgage payment, there was a large celebration at the church when the mortgage papers were burned.
Stopping a few minutes from his work yesterday. Father Dora, who was working In old clothes, said, “I am glad to have a chance to help the church. It is probably something we all will have to do.”
October 29, 1942 – The Norwood Messenger