Cemetery History
New Sign Facing Raymond Place
New Sign Facing Raymond Place
New Sign Facing Raymond Place
Cross on top of Hill
Cross on top of Hill
Cross on top of Hill
Original Granite Stone Sign
Original Granite Stone Sign
Original Granite Stone Sign

Our Church Cemetery was founded in 1910 - five years after the founding of our Church.

By 1910, the church was able to accumulate $800.00 through donations from the parishioners, and they acquired a two-story corner store next to the church for a rectory. The store was enclosed and a small wing was attached to it. The church school was housed in the store, and the wing became a library.

At this time , the Brotherhood had been working on a cemetery project. In May of 1910, they acquired five wooded acres from James Bisset, the first mayor of South River, for the sum of $300.00. To celebrate the signing of the deed, our parishioners walked through one and a half miles of marsh and woods until they found the hill where the cross now stands. There they exploded many firecrackers and then started to work on a road. Mr. Bisset had donated enough land for an access road, as well as the use of his horse and wagon, and gave our parishioners all the brickbats they needed to fill in the marshy areas. The parishioners had to do the loading and unloading, but their first task was to cut and clear about a mile of woods for their roadbed.

A local blacksmith, William Kelch, made and donated a 25 foot steel cross which, in time, deteriorated and was replaced by a smaller wooden cross. The cemetery grounds are approximately a quarter mile from the Church accessible through Raymond Place, off of Kamm Avenue.

The first parishioner buried at the cemetery was Mr. John Koval on October 7, 1910. As the story tells it, “Since there was no bridge crossing the river in Old Bridge to get to the glass factory, our people had tied a raft to get back and forth to work. During a torrential rain, the raft was swept away and John drowned.”

A number of individuals who were instrumental in the history of our Church are reposed here in our cenmetery including the V. Rev. Philip Pechinsky, V. Rev. Peter Semashko, and Professor Ivan Blonsky who was the director of the church choir for many decades.

In 1949, the church acquired an additional 10 acres for the cemetery from Marcus Wright (son of the builder of our church) at $50.00 an acre. The property remained wooded until 1962. This new addition was dedicated by Metropolitan Ireney on June 9, 1975, as it was needed for interment. Under the leadership of the Very Reverend Joseph Kreshik, the new ten acres were developed at the cemetery. Another strip of land was acquired from the town to include some old burials which were located on borough property, and the entire 15 acres were fenced in for the first time. At the same time, our Seven Acres Park was still mostly mud and swamp. French drains were put in, fill dirt from the cemetery was carted in, a barbecue area was built, a baseball field laid out, some trees removed and others planted, and the entire area was enclosed by a fence.

During the 2010 decade, trees were planted along either side of the road to the newer section of the cemetery as a beautification project. In 2016, some of the now rusting fencing was removed, and a Cemetery sign was added at the end of Raymond Place.

St. Thomas Sunday grave blessing services are vigilantly performed every year. Memorial Day services for those Parishioners who lost their lives in the service of our country are also kept every year.

 

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January 10, 2021


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Upcoming Events

Sun. Jan. 24th - 8:00-9:00PM - Free Webinar hosted by the Antiochian Department of Missions and Evangelism, entitled "How to Invite Someone to Church". Please visit www.missionsandevangelism.com to register.

The Annual Youth & Camp Workers Conference, co-hosted by the OCA and the OYDNA will be held virtually via Zoom on Thurs-Fri Jan 28-29.  For more details and to sign up, visit www.orthodoxyouth.net or email Danielle Geeza at nynjocayouth@gmail.com .

House Blessings (1/3/21 Update): It is traditional to have our homes blessed during the Season of Theophany. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions, the Diocese has decided to POSTPONE ALL HOUSE BLESSINGS this year, until sometime after Holy Pascha.

2021 Church Calendars for your home or office are still available FREE at the Candle Desk. Or...please email Fr. David or call the office, and one will be mailed to you.

Confessions will be heard in Church by Fr. David  every Saturday from 6:00 - 6:30PM. (By appt. ONLY. ) Please contact Fr. David via email (dfmg@aol.com) or by phone.

Upcoming Parish Live-Streamed Services:

(1) Sat. Jan. 30th @7:00PM   Vespers

(2) Sun. Jan. 31st @9:00AM   Divine Liturgy - 34th Sunday after Pentecost


Saturday, January 30th
Three Holy Hierarchs
6:00 Confessions (By Appt)
7:00 Vespers
Sunday, January 31st
9:00 Divine Liturgy
Saturday, February 6th
6:00 Confessions (By Appt)
7:00 Vespers
Sunday, February 7th
9:00 Divine Liturgy
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church / South River, NJ / 732-257-0102