St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, New Jersey
43 Year History at a Glance.
Christianity came to India in AD 52 with the arrival of St. Thomas one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Indian Christians had better chances of migrating to other Christian countries in Europe and America in search of better prospects. That is how the present Kerala Christian community came to United States. A few of them came in the early 50′s followed by more in the 60′s and 70′s; mostly doctors, nurses, students and missionaries. Their increase in number paved the way to the formation of a congregation in Upper Manhattan, New York, under the leadership of late Rev K.S. Simon Cor-Episcopa, the first Indian priest who came in the 50′s. As the Kerala Christian population increased, the Malankara Orthodox believers wanted to start their own congregations.
St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is a parish of the American diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India. It is one of the oldest parishes in the American diocese. The parish is named after St. Gregorios or Parumala Thirumeni. So as a coincidence Nov 2nd, the feast of Parumala Thirumeni, is celebrated as our church anniversary every year. This parish was established by late Rev. John Mathews in West Orange, New Jersey in September 1976. In 1977, the congregation was moved to Presbyterian Church in Newark. On October 28, 1978, His Grace Thomas Mar Makarios declared the congregation as a parish under his jurisdiction. Due to the unexpected growth in membership, Achen was compelled to move a more spacious church on Hellers Parkway, Newark. Unfortunately, within a short time, we lost the use of that place and moved back to the old place in January 1995. On February 19, 1995, Achen was taken to eternal life. His death was a great blow to us. We remember with respect and thank the valuable services Achen and his family rendered for the growth of the parish. May his soul rest in peace. Very Rev. C.K. John Cor-Episcopa was appointed vicar-in –charge and was later replaced by Rev. Mathew C. Chacko and Rev. Samuel K. Mathew till February 2005. Rev. Fr. Babu Varghese was the Vicar till the end of September 2011. Rev. Fr. Shinoj Thomas took over as Vicar of this church on December 2011.
Our church gives opportunities for people to worship. Our worship consists of praise, thanksgiving, confession, petition, reading of the Scriptures, and dedication. The Holy Eucharist is offered every Sunday and all the faithful are encouraged to take part in it. Our church grew over the years and currently we have several families as members. Our regular worship service is on Sundays starting at 9.30 am. Other activities include: Sunday School, Martha Miriam Samagam, MGOCSM, Family Prayer Meeting etc.
The history of our church would not be complete without remembering our beloved ones who temporarily have left us to be closer with our Heavenly Father. With love and prayers we remember our church fathers: His Holiness Moran Mar Baselious Mar Thoma Mathews I, His Grace Dr. Paulous Mar Gregorios, Rev. Fr. John Mathews, and our church members: Dr. Samuel Philip and Mrs. Annamma Varghese. We do remember with gratitude their efforts and sacrifices for the parish. May their souls rest in peace. God has blessed us in so many ways during the past years, including a robust growth in our membership.
Throughout the years, we have faced many challenges, but by the grace of God, we were able to purchase a church in the spring 2008 in Clifton, New Jersey. H. G. Mathews Mar Barnabas honored our congregation by consecrating the church building on May 24, 2008. God has blessed us in so many ways and this church is a testament to the strength God has given us. Thank you to all those who made our dream come to fruition. We are excited by the prospects and opportunities this church brings and look forward to continue growing spiritually.
We are thankful to everybody who supported us spiritually and financially through these years. We request your continued support and prayers. Please make your donations using the following method. (Donations are tax deductible)
Personal Checks: (Make payable to: St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, 1231 Van Houten Ave. Clifton, New Jersey 07013)
Vicar Secretary Treasurer
Rev Fr. Shinoj Thomas Samuel Mathai Jiju Kottarathil
(215) 801-5899 (Cell) (973) 489- 9032 ( Cell ) (973) 952-0253 (Home)
(908) 258- 0554 (Home) (973) 905-1240 (Cell)