Congregations across the country are experiencing historic lows in attendance, but the way in which the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral teaches folk dancing could show other congregations across the country some new steps.

Due in large part to the success of Charlotte's Yiasou Greek Festival, Holy Trinity is now the fourth largest Greek Orthodox parish in the United States.

Greek Festivals Maintain Church Engagement Among Congregations

According to the Charlotte Observer, a study on the development and well-being of religious organizations said that gatherings like this one, which forge connections and strengthen communities, are essential to sustaining engagement. 

The report also revealed that participation in most religious organizations has decreased by approximately 20 percent over the past 20 years, whereas participation at Holy Trinity has remained stable.

According to Stacie Peroulas, the director of an organization whose primary focus is on congregational health, cultural activities such as folk dancing, sports, and language programs are all factors that contribute to that success. But not for the reasons that might be expected.

Peroulas also added that Holy Trinity also benefits from the growth in population that Charlotte is experiencing. According to her, newly arrived families are looking for ways to make themselves and their children feel like they belong and have connections, and she believes that youth programs in dance, sports, and language have the ability to attract families. 

Meanwhile, John Shelton, director of communications for Holy Trinity, estimated that there are approximately 500 volunteers, staff members, vendors, and police officers involved in the management of the annual festival.

For Peroulas, as per the report, there are more than 450 young people and young adults who perform as dancers. There are 14 groups that correspond to grades K-12, and one adult group. 

The curriculum introduces students to dances from approximately a dozen different regions of Greece, including island groups, the Peloponnese, Crete, Macedonia, and Thrace.

Since it was first held in 1978, the Yiasou Greek Festival has grown to become one of the most well-attended cultural celebrations in Charlotte.

The Yiasou Greek Festival, which comes from the Greek word for "hello," "goodbye," and "cheers," offers a variety of activities and attractions, including live music and dancing, entertainment, authentic Greek cuisine and homemade pastries, wine tastings, art, shopping, and more. 

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About Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church 

The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral is a place of worship that adheres to the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

One of the oldest still-functioning religious organizations in the world is the Orthodox Church, which is also the second largest Christian church after the Catholic Church in terms of membership. 

According to the Holy Trinity, the original Christian faith that was established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission and that was passed down from the apostles is what the Orthodox Church sees as its mission to preserve and propagate. 

It also mentioned that the Eastern Orthodox Church is made up of local churches located all over the world, each of which is typically governed by a hierarchical order of Bishops. In the Orthodox Church, all of the Bishops are treated as equals, and there is no central figure like there is in the Roman Catholic Church's Papacy.

Before the Great Schism in 1054, the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church were a single entity. 

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