St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America
1500 Route 376 Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
A Parish History

“An Orthodox parish, that is, a local community of Orthodox Christians with one or more priests, has only one God-given reason for being. It exists to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ. Whatever the original reasons and conditions for its founding, whatever other services and activities it may provide, whatever other desires and needs it may fulfill for its members, the parish must be Christ’s one holy Church. If it is not, then it is neither Christian nor Orthodox whatever else it may be or do.”

 Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko in Speaking the Truth in Love

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 served as rector from 2015 to 2019. Fr. Eric G. Tosi took over as rector in July 2019. 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.