Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

outside Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
  • $1.8 million restoration and expansion
  • All windows, brick veneer and drywall removed
  • 300-square-foot semi-transept added

Owner: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

Architect: LAMBE + Associates, LLC

Contractor: Crain Construction


Music City Tru-Line Masonry, N & S Waterproofing, Nashboro Glass and Enterprises, Leggett Contracting Corp, Hermitage Tile, JTJ Commercial Interiors

Church Renovation Fixes Moisture Problems, Protects an Investment

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church commissioned a million-dollar permanent iconography, but before it could be installed in the sanctuary, Crain Construction was hired to fix the thermal and moisture problems.

We stripped the sanctuary to the bones and restructured it, while minimizing the time the congregation could not be in the church.


The Byzantine-style church is patterned after churches in Greece with lots of angles, hips and valleys. Tennessee’s wet and humid climate plagued the sanctuary with lots of leaks in the ceiling and walls, mildew and thermal issues. Additionally, the active church conducted a daily service schedule, weddings, funerals and other special services.


The restoration and expansion project was coordinated around anticipated and unanticipated church services, including the church’s annual, weekend-long Greek Festival.

Prior to taking bids, we toured potential subs through the project, explaining the scope and challenges and laying out expectations. We also provided an opportunity to learn about the Orthodox religion and its symbols so workers would be respectful in what they wore, how they acted and the language they used.

To fix the thermal and moisture problems, we removed windows, all brick veneer from the exterior and all drywall from the interior. Our crews then restored the integrity of the structure’s envelope with upgrades to the thermal and moisture barrier systems, adding insulation and flashing around windows, liquid applied air and moisture barrier, reinstalling the brick veneer, installing drywall and roof to make the exterior and interior skins work with Middle Tennessee weather conditions.

We also added transepts on either side of the sanctuary adding 1,500 square feet to increase the seating capacity to 350 people for the growing church. With the additions, fire sprinklers were installed with pipes installed along false beams and painted to blend into the sanctuary décor.

Crews also replaced the floor finishes with new 24-inch tile flooring and saved a custom-made, six-foot, double-headed eagle mosaic made of marble handmade in Greece by adding an eight-inch band of black marble to provide a smoother transition in the new floor.

The church’s exterior was quite detailed with arched windows, layered and stepped brickwork and custom-carved flower-shaped bricks under each arched window. This dictated where the brick weep would be reinstalled and some innovative methods were required for quality control.

All windows were removed, openings were treated and frames were re-glazed and reinstalled. Reusing the frames saved $70,000-80,000. New, more efficient windows were installed.

The crew also made foam templates of the windows. With the template in place, the mason would then re-install the brick, butting it up to the template before the window was installed. This process was also used for the three-foot diameter, 500-pound marble cross that was removed and then returned by crane to its place on the church exterior.

Special shaped bricks and color matching required longer lead times, so regular brick was installed and then replaced later to keep the project moving forward.

With tremendous planning and coordination with all crews, the moisture, thermal and insulation problems were fixed and artisans from Greece were able to install the iconography murals to complete the church sanctuary.

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