Faith and History
St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, New Jersey: 44 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)
(215) 801-5899 (Cell)
(908) 258-0554 (Home)
(516) 527- 1423 (Cell)
(973) 952-0253 (Home)
(973) 905-1240 (Cell)
300 Kali Ln, Williamstown, NJ 08094
(908) 258- 0554 (Home)
(215) 801 5899 (Cell)
The Metropolitan of Northeast American Diocese His Eminence Zachariah Mar Nicholovas appointed Rev. Fr. Shinoj Thomas as the vicar and president of our church in December 2011.
Fr.Shinoj Thomas was born to Mr. P.V Thomas & Leelamma Thomas Panampattaythu. In April 12, 2007 he received the order of Deacon from His Eminence Zachariah Mar Theophilos. Upon completion of his studies, Dn. Shinoj Thomas appointed as the private secretary to H H Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma Didymus 1st.
He also served as the private secretary to His Eminence Mathews Mar Barnabas, the former Metropolitan of American Diocese. In January 20 2011, he was ordained to the post of full deacon and in January 22, 2011 he was elevated to priesthood at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church Nilambore.
Fr. Shinoj Thomas currently resides in Williamstown, New Jersey with his wife, daughter, and Son.
Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement (MGOCSM)
History of MGOCSM
The origin of Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement (MGOCSM) can be traced as far back as to 1908. Its precursor is the Syrian Student Conference formed by a group of Orthodox high school and university students in Madras, India (Chennai). The objectives of the Syrian Student Conference were to engage the students in a structured spiritual and holistic life. Later in 1960, the organization adopted the name MGOCSM, after the saint of Malankara, Parumala Mar Gregorios of Blessed Memory. The units of MGOCSM were then opened through out the country. Now there are MOGOCSM units attached to all the Indian Orthodox churches. It is a vibrant movement of the youth in the church.
The MGOCSM has three mottos: Worship, Study and Service. Perhaps the first and most important motto is worship. The members come together and worship our God, Jesus Christ, singing and praying for all His blessings. The second motto is studying the Holy Bible, orthodox faith and beliefs. The movement urges the members to read and study Bible while excelling in their academic activities. The third motto of MGOCSM is to provide service by spreading the Gospel and helping the poor and the needy.
MGOCSM Office Bearers 2018
Secretary: Nikhil Jiju
Treasurer : Vineeth Varghese
Saint Mary’s Women’s Association
Saint Mary’s Women’s Association (Martha Mariam Samajam) is the women’s association of the Indian Orthodox Church. It is a vibrant association of the women and depends on the intercession of Holy and Ever Virgin Saint Mary, the Mother of our Lord. The group meets on the first Sunday of every month after the Holy Qurbana. The meeting will start with the prayers and intercession of Saint Mary. The group then meditates and discuses a topic of interest.
The other activities include the special prayers for sick and bedridden, prayers for expectant mother and fund-raising for charity at home and abroad.
Martha Mariam Office Bearers – 2018
Treasurer: Mrs. Bonnie Thomas
Secretary: Mrs. Sibby M Samuel
Diocese Rep: Sara Varghese
How do you know if you are BLESSED?
If you own just one Bible,…you are abundantly BLESSED. 1/3 of the world does not have access to even one.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness,…you are more BLESSED than the 1,000,000 who will not survive the week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation,…you are BLESSED ahead of 500 million people around the world.
If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death,… you are more BLESSED than 3 billion people in the world.
If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep,…how BLESSED you are! You are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in dish somewhere,… you are among the top 8 % of the world’s wealthy.
If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, YOU ARE VERY BLESSED
If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful,…you are BLESSED because the majority can, but most do not.
If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them, or even touch them on the shoulder,… you are BLESSED because you can offer God’s healing touch.
If you prayed yesterday and today, you are in the minority because you believe in God’s willingness to hear and answer prayer.
If you believe in Jesus as the Son of God,…you are so BLESSED! Your understanding of love comes from giving; you are part of a growing minority
If you can read this message,…you are more BLESSED than over 2 billion people in the world that cannot read anything at al l.
If you can pass this along,…you will be BLESSED For Sharing GOD’S LOVE and JESUS’S GIFTS with others.