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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Recent Weekly Bulletin

March 13, 2022


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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. 
 
In the church vestibule are two paper Christmas trees that herald this year's Giving Tree Ministry - our annual opportunity to share holiday joy with financially strapped seminarians and their families. You are invited to take several ornament tags, and purchase the presents. Remember to affix the tag to the present. All items must be in by Sunday, November 27th. Thanks for your love, support and generosity.
 
The St. Nicholas Day pagaent will be presented by the Church School on Sunday December 4th, following Liturgy. Anyone interested in lending a hand should see Karen Berezniak or Basil Kozak. Yolka Practice will take place in the hall this Saturday, Dec. 3rd at 4:00PM. (NOTE: There will be an expanded Coffee Hour hosted by the St. Anne's Guild and it is rumored that even St. Nicholas himself will make an appearance.
 
Plan ahead for the Holidays! A Christmas Kolachi Sale  is being held by the Senior R Club. Poppy, apricot, nut and prune rolls are available for $18.00 each. The deadline for ordering is Sunday, November 20th with a delivery date of  Friday, December 9th. Call Carol Deerson at (732) 254-4979.
 
On Saturday, December 10th, beginning at 10:am, members of the Holy Bread Baking Ministry will meet in in the hall to participate in the ancient tradition of making prosphora for our Eucharistic celebrations. If you want to help, please come! - Everyone is welcome! 
 
Teaching Liturgy will take place on Sunday, Dec. 11th, at 8:30AM. It will address the vesting of the priest and the preparation of gifts, commonly known as Prokomedia. Its goal is to engage the hearts and minds of everyone, young and old, so that you can worship with much more understanding and passion. 
 
Our Church Choir will be hosting its Annual Community Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 18th, at 3:00PM in the church. An array of liturgical and secular holiday music from around the world will be performed to delight one and all. Although there is NO CHARGE for this event, a free-will offering of a canned good would be much appreciated to support the South River Food Bank. There will be refreshments served in the church hall afterwards - come and enjoy!
 
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.
 
MEETING DATES: 

Church School: Sunday, Oct. 16th following Liturgy Dismissal

Parish Council: Mon. Dec. 19th @7:30PM (Hall)

Choir Rehearsal: Tues, Nov 29th @7:00PM (Church)

Men's Club: Thurs, Dec. 15th@7:00PM(Hall)

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


Monday, December 5th
7:00 Great Vespers with Litiya followed by Confessions
Tuesday, December 6th
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
9:00 Divine Liturgy
Saturday, December 10th
6:00 Confessions
6:30 Panihida for Walter Sr., Mary and Walter (Blackie) Sudnikovich (1 yr), and Luke Naumiuk (1 yr)
7:00 Vespers followed by Confessions
Sunday, December 11th
9:00 Divine Liturgy
Saturday, December 17th
6:00 Confessions
7:00 Vespers
Sunday, December 18th
9:00 Divine Liturgy
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church / South River, NJ / 732-257-0102