Before it was a parish, before it was yet a place or home to gather, before even the name of a patron saint had been argued out and chosen to bless it, St. Nicholas Church was a community. Younger by twenty and thirty years than most of the parishes within the Albanian Archdiocese, the story of our Church begins in about 1941.
Elsewhere, groups of mostly young, immigrant men were the earliest founders of Albanian enclaves here in America, lured first by industry and work to be had and later by a ready sense of home amidst the growing number of their compatriots. Yet this was not so much true for New York. Instead, in these war years, the handful of Albanian Orthodox families drew together, noted their need for a place to worship, and in short order and well known fashion, began to offer hospitality to the many servicemen who passed through this mighty city on their way to the theatres of battle. The first Holy Liturgy was served in April of 1942 in borrowed space at the Diplomat Hotel and with Fan Noli, a father of the Albanian nation and our father of this Albanian Church, presiding. In slightly more than a year, the Church had its own building, a grand edifice on 48th Street paid off in scrimped quarters and spare dollars. This would be its home throughout the next two and a half decades.