St. Gregory the Theologian
“What would happen if each of us who has experienced resurrection joy…if, forgetting about large numbers, we were to transmit this joy and faith to just one other person, were to touch just one other human soul? If this faith and joy were secretly present in every conversation, even the most unimportant, in the sober realities of our daily life, they would immediately begin here and now, today, to transfigure the world and life. Christ said, ‘The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed.’ (Lk 17:20). The Kingdom comes with power, light, and victory, each time I and every believer carry it with us from the church into the world, and begin to live it in our own life.” A. Schmemann, Celebration of Faith, (SVS Press), Vol 2, p. 128.
Founded in 1964, St Gregory’s now marks over 50 years as the only fully English-speaking Orthodox parish in the Hudson Valley between Albany and the Tappan Zee. We are a "regional parish," with our membership in the wide dispersed over five counties, numerous school districts and on both sides of the Hudson our daily ministry transcends the bounds of one municipality. Our diversity of ethnic and church backgrounds is a great gift, along with the strength of our church council leadership and the strong sense of belonging of the whole parish community. The community gathers around the Liturgy, as well as the great feasts of the church year. It also making pirogi and other fine foods, bakes nut and poppy seed rolls and Easter breads. Of the proceeds from the Christmas Food Fair and other sales, a significant amount goes to local outreach such as meals for the hungry at The Lunch Box in Poughkeepsie, also Dutchess Outreach and St. Basil's Academy, among other care providers.
The parish has always been blessed with families and children, with older members and with many who for reasons of employment come and go. There are talented and enthusiastic teachers, musicians, bakers and cooks. We are blessed with lay leaders who choose fraternal respect over votes as the means of resolving issues. We believe that the basis of our harmony is the insistence on the priority of our gathering at the Mystical Table, the heart of the Eucharistic life.
Five pastors have served the parish: Frs George Timko, Pitirim Stehnach, Thomas Hopko, since 1978, Fr Alexis Vinogradov, with Fr Michael Plekon attached since 1996 and Fr. Stephen Evanina beginning as rector in 2015. Over the last almost forty years, the parish became a regular site of internship for seminarians, with over twenty having served over the years.
In 1963 the founding families, many of whom today remain the active and faithful core, desired to establish an exclusively English-speaking parish which would celebrate and proclaim the life in Christ to all who came in peace, without distinction. The parish was established in 1964 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. The result has been a mini-UN-in-Christ. Our founders’ foresight is evident today not in any special programs but rather in that joy of the Kingdom one finds everywhere--from parish picnics to the meals after funerals, baptisms and every Sunday, the coffee hour after liturgy. St. Gregory's is not just a beautiful sanctuary and church hall, but a community that knows and lives "the power of Love" that is the only rule in the church.
About the Parish
We are God's people. We are the Body of Christ. We are brought together by the Holy Spirit.
- The Church in the Bible. The Orthodox Church goes back to our Lord Jesus Christ, His Apostles and the first Christians. When we read of the Church in the Scriptures, we know that we are part of that same Church.
- A Church of Sinners. This may come as a shock to some, but "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Jesus has fellowship with sinners and said that "those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17). Therefore, our church is a community of sinners. We often stumble, sin and fall short of what God expects, even as a community. Each of us struggles with this sinfulness and treis, with God's help, to repent, get up and try our best to walk in communion with God.
Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15). We exist to proclaim Christ's Good News in our small part of the world, both repeatedly to ourselves and to those around us.
We preach the Gospel through word and action, as we have received in our Orthodox tradition through:
We seek to "worship the Father in spirit and truth" (John 4:23).
We constantly strive to reevaluate ourselves against the Gospel and grow in our Christian life.
By living the Gospel in this way, we seek to follow Christ's directive: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
We invite all others to give glory to our Heavenly Father and to share our life in the risen Christ.
Our basic beliefs are expressed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, compiled by the first two Ecumenical Councils (meetings of Christian leaders from throughout the world) in the years 325 AD and 381 AD.
Everything we say, pray, sing, preach or physically do in our church exists to share and explain our Faith.