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

January 9, 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. 
 
Church Family Night that was to be held on Seven Acres on Fri., Aug. 19, from 6 - 10PM has been POSTPONED, and will be rescheduled for the early fall.
 
Church Block Party will take place on the lawn next to the hall (inside the hall if it rains) this Sunday, August 21st, from 6- 8PM.  There will be music, food and games. Admission is FREE. Contact Deb Silowka (609-918-0249) if you'd like to lend a hand. It is our hope that this event will be a truly positive and powerful way to bring the community together, as it breaks down barriers and gives the opportunity of fellowship with our neighbors.
 
Archbishop Michael will be making an Archpastoral Visit on Sun., September 4th. We will be greeting His Emminence at 9 am, with a Heirarchical Divine Liturgy to follow. Afterwards, a luncheon, hosted by the Parish Council, will be held in the hall, during which everyone will have the opportunity to meet and greet Vladika.
 
Parish Picnic, hosted by the Men's Club, is set for Saturday, Sept. 17, on Seven Acres, from noon - 5:00PM. Traditional picnic fare will be served; there will also be lots of fun things to do for both children and adults or you can choose to simply kick back and relax. A wonderful afternoon is planned. 
 
Join the Altar Society on Tues., September 20th  on its Atlantic City Bus Trip to the Resorts Hotel and CasinoDetails to follow
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: 

Parish Council: Mon. Aug. 15th @7:30PM (Hall)

Choir Rehearsal: Tues, Aug. 3rd @7:00PM (Church)

Men's Club: Thurs, Aug 18th@7:00PM(Hall)

Altar Society: Mon, TBD @6:30 (Hall)


Saturday, August 20th
6:00 Confessions
7:00 Vespers followed by General Confession
Sunday, August 21st
Afterfeast of the Dormition
9:00 Divine Liturgy
6-8PM - BLOCK PARTY
Saturday, August 27th
6:00 Confessions
7:00 Vespers
Sunday, August 28th
9:00 Divine Liturgy
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church / South River, NJ / 732-257-0102