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Members of the Salt Lake Valley's Greek Orthodox community will welcome a new priest on Pentecost Sunday at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The Rev. Archimandrite George Nikas, 47, was born in Athens, Greece, but grew up in the northeastern United States, himself the son of a Greek Orthodox priest.

He replaces the Rev. Matthew Gilbert, who died in September at age 58 soon after being diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer.

Nikas received his master of divinity degree from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Mass., in 1999 and was ordained in December of that same year at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly, N.J.

He since has served at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Toms River, N.J. and the Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church in Jersey City, N.J. He filled pastoral assignments in Flemington, N.J., Frederick, Md., and Holmdel, N.J., along with duties as youth director, chief secretary and chancellor for New Jersey's Greek Orthodox Metropolis.

"We are very impressed with his thoughtfulness and his excitement to be serving our community," the council for the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake wrote to parishioners. "He shares our vision of a unified community with attention to youth programs and ministries."

As senior priest, Nikas joins the Rev. Elias Koucos in serving the parish, which includes downtown Salt Lake City's Holy Trinity Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, and Prophet Elias Church, 5335 S. Highland Drive, Holladay.

After joint services June 4 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, the parish council will host a luncheon to formally welcome Nikas and his mother, Presvytera Golfo Nikas.

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