In 1930's, ROVA farms in Cassville, NJ, was a place where Russian immigrants gathered for summer vacations, bought houses, and where Russian children went to camp. Gradually, many of the Russian vacationers settled and ROVA farms developed into a large Russian community. The desire to have a Church in close proximity to one's dwelling has always been a historical trend among Russians, and the new growing settlement in New Jersey was not an exception.
On a hillside near ROVA farms, where a Presbyterian Church stood in the nineteenth century, was a piece of land owned by the VanHise family. Here, in 1938, the cornerstone of the St. Vladimir Memorial Church was laid. This marked 950 years since baptism of the Russian people. This same year the St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Society of America, Inc. was established to help with building of the Church.
In 1940, construction began as a result of the tireless efforts of Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko). It was his sincere desire that the Memorial Church would come to symbolize the common spiritual heritage of all Orthodox Christians and to stand as a beacon of our faith. The Church was built with much labor and many sacrifices of the Russian immigrants. Its construction was slowed by WWII but afterwards was resumed with new strength. After Archbishop Vitaly's death in 1960, Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky) continued his mission of building St. Vladimir's Memorial Church. Neither of the great hierarchs saw the Church fully completed. Archbishop Nikon died in 1976, and the Church building was only finished by 1988, in time for the millennium celebration of Baptism of Rus.
St. Vladimir Memorial Church differs from regular Russian Orthodox parishes. It functions with the support of the St. Vladimir Society. This society runs in accordance with its own bylaws. The Board of Directors is elected from the members of the society. The Rector of the the Church and the Society is the First Hierarch of ROCOR. Today St. Vladimir Memorial Church truly resembles the greatness and beauty of Orthodoxy. Its architectural and iconographic grandeur are harmonious with its prayerful peacefulness. The desire of the two great Archbishops has been fulfilled and St. Vladimir Memorial Church has always been a symbol of unity for the Russian people in Diaspora. Each year pilgrims come to St. Vladimir's and it is well-known around the world. Since 1982, St. Vladimir Memorial Church has been listed in the New Jersey State Register of Historic Places as part of the ROVA Farms Historical District.
About Our Church - It's Founders, Construction, and Meaning: a sermon by Metropolitan Laurus.