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Immediately prior to the entry of the United States into World War I, the Russian residents of Elizabeth became increasingly aware of the need for a Russian Orthodox Church in their city. These recent immigrants were devout members of their Church. In 1916, after several years of travels as far as New Your City for regular church services, the group decided their numbers were great enough to warrant the formation of a Russian Orthodox Church in their city.

The first pastor, Fr. Varchol, held services at several locations until 1918 when the parishioners purchased a former German Presbyterian Church at Third and Livingston Streets. This location was ideal as a majority of the parishioners resided in the immediate vicinity.

From the very beginning the societies of Ss. Boris & Gleb, Ss. Peter & Paul Mutual Aid Society and the St. Mary Sisterhood contributed much to the steady growth of the parish. In 1941 the Elizabeth Russian Junior League, Chapter 132, of the F.R.O.C. was organized. The Altar Guild was established in 1949.

Through the years the energetic parishioners had maintained and updated their facilities, but in 1957 it became obvious that a new church was needed and a Building Fund program was established. In October 1961 property was purchased across town on Stiles Street and actual construction was begun in April 1966. The church was consecrated on May 21, 1967 by Metropolitan John, Patriarchal Exarch of North and South America and the Aleutian Islands. The year 1967 is also to be noted for the arrival of Fr. Emil Minkovich in October. Fr. Emil had graduated from Christ the Saviour Seminary in the spring.

The year 1985 brought the burning of the church mortgage and plans for the reconstruction of our parish Activity Center. Over the years we outgrew the original building. In 1987 it was replaced with a new building, which in addition to the auditorium added facilities for the Sunday School, a professional kitchen, an office for the pastor, and an apartment for the sexton. In 1987 Fr. Emil Minkovich was elevated to the rank of Mitered Archpriest.

We are now serving a fourth generation of parishioners. The parish that was organized to serve Russian immigrants in the city of Elizabeth now serves the spiritual needs of native-born Orthodox Christians throughout central New Jersey as well as recent immigrants from Russia. Our church choir is dedicated to providing musical inspiration as our services change to meet the varying needs of our parishioners. The Sunday School families work diligently to provide religious education to our young people. A monthly newsletter mailed to parishioners and friends keeps everyone informed about life in our parish and the diocese.

A Silver Anniversary celebration took place in 1992 to honor Fr. Emil Minkovich, our longest serving pastor.

Russian Orthodox Church NJ


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A Parish of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA

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