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 9, 2022

Upcoming Events

Confession schedule can be found in the bulletin OR by clicking here: Monthly Calendar For those who are hesitant to worship in person, Fr. David is available to meet with you, either at home or in church, to participate in the Sacraments of Holy Confession and Communion. Please email or call Fr. David to set up an appointment. 
A "Preception" for Simeon Morbey and Meredith Garretson will take place in the church hall next Sunday, October 2nd, after Divine Liturgy. Everyone is invited to meet and greet the "happy couple" and wish them well on their impending marriage.
25 Week Club tickets are currently available from any Men's Club  member. See the rules / details here: 25 Week Club
Babka Sale – Orders are now being taken for 11 different flavors – Cheese, Chocolate, Cinnamon Crumb, Prune, Poppy, Raspberry, Apricot, Raisin at $13 each. Raspberry Cheese, Apricot Cheese and Chocolate Cheese at $14.00 each.  To order call Judy at 732-427-4855 or email jznaiden@optonline.net.  Last day to order, Sunday, Nov. 6th.  Pick up is on Thursday, Nov. 10th from 3pm to 6pm, at the church hall, located at 7 Jeffrie Ave, South River, NJ. Print out the form here: Babka Sale Form
Our Annual Fall Festival  will be held on Sat., November 12th. Get the word out to your friends and neighbors; we are counting on you to help make this year's fundraiser the besty ever! Please offer your talents by volunteering your assistance before, durungn or after the event. Please contact co-chairs Rebecca Kozak (973-634-7517) or Deborak Silowka (609-918-0249),  to see how you can pitch in.
Join the Men's Club on Mon., November 14th  on its Atlantic City Bus Trip to the Resorts Hotel and CasinoThe bus will depart at 9:00AM from the Whitehead Ave. parking lot. Cost is $35 pp, which includes $18 slot play. Call Pete Silowka (732-735-6540) for a reservation!
Christ knows that for many of us, God and money run "neck and neck" as top priority. Is money a "god" that you put before God? Giving hour treasure to the church and other charities is a pillar of our Faith, just like attending Liturgy every Sunday, and participating in parish ministries. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for many of us to understand the fiduciary responsibility that the Lord intends for us to assume in the management of the financial resources He gives us. Accordingly, Parish Council will be addressing this and other monetary issues on a future date. Following a brief presentation after Divine Liturgy, you are invited to a Roundtable/Town Hall during Coffee Hour to offer your thoughts, opinions and suggestions on godly financial management, including spending, saving and budgeting. Please make every effort to attend, for as St. Barnabas of Alexandria says: "Do not hesitate to give nor complain when you give."
Mark your calendar...Oktoberfest 2022  will be hosted by the Senior R Club in the hall on Sat. Oct. 22nd, starting at 6:00PM. (Note: Great Vespers will be served at 5:00PM) While enjoying a traditional Bavarian meal, the sounds of German waltzes, polkas and classic songs will fill the air. The cost for this BYOB event is $30 pp; please contact Allison Steffaro (732_698-1952) for tickets. 
FOOD CARD PROGRAM : Food cards are available for various supermarket chains after Divine Liturgy, and do not cost any more than the face value of the card. The church receives a percentage as a free fundraiser! See Judy Znaiden in church or at jznaiden@optonline.net.

Parish Council: Mon. Oct. 17th @7:00PM (Hall)

Choir Rehearsal: Tues, Sept. 27th @7:00PM (Church)

Men's Club: Thurs, Oct. 20th@7:00PM(Hall)

Altar Society: Mon, Sept. 19th @6:30 (Hall)

Sunday, October 2nd
9:00 Divine Liturgy
Post-Liturgy "Preception" for Simeon and Meredith
Saturday, October 8th
6:00 Confessions
7:00 Vespers
Sunday, October 9th
9:00 Divine Liturgy
1:00 Wedding of Meredith Garretson and Simeon Morbey
Saturday, October 15th
6:00 Confessions
7:00 Vespers
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church / South River, NJ / 732-257-0102