Home
Administration
Parish Life
Sunday School
St. Vladimir Society
History
Photos and Videos
In Memorium
About Orthodoxy
Contact Us
St. Vladimir Memorial Church - History

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.

HISTORIC POSTCARDS


HISTORIC PHOTOS

Lower Church of the Protection of the Mother of God

Archbishop Nikon's Grave
Archbishop Nikon's Grave
Archbishop Nikon's Grave
The Lower Church
The Lower Church
The Lower Church
Archbishop Vitaly's Grave
Archbishop Vitaly's Grave
Archbishop Vitaly's Grave
The lower church, dedicated to the Protection of the Theotokos, was the first operational church space of St. Vladimir's. This was because the construction of the upper, main temple was temporarily halted due to financial hardship. As a result, for nearly 20 years, the crypt church, which was entirely dug out by hand, was St. Vladimir's. When the upper temple was completed, the lower church was renamed for St. Olga. However, this did not last for long. After an ancient, blackened icon miraculously renewed itself in the lower church, and revealed itself to be the Protection of the Theotokos, the lower church was accordingly renamed. It has not been formally consecrated yet.

Today, the lower church is the final resting place for their Eminences, Archbishops Vitaly and Nikon, and serves as the worship space for services in English. Please refer to the schedule to see when services are to be held in the lower church.

Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) 1873-1960

Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) was the founder of St. Vladimir Memorial Church. A dedicated and tireless pastor, Vladyka Vitaly began his monastic career in the Pochaev Lavra, where he was the head of the print shop. After he was consecrated bishop by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), he was sent to America to improve the church life there. Among his achievements are: the organization of the Eastern American Diocese (1930s-1940s), the founding of Holy Trinity Seminary (1948), and the laying of the cornerstone of St. Vladimir's (1938). It is impossible to explain in only a few sentences Vladyka Vitaly's legacy for the Russian Church Abroad. One would do well to read Deacon Andrei Psarev's article about him.

Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky) 1892-1976

In Ascension Cathedral, the Bronx, 1960s.
In Ascension Cathedral, the Bronx, 1960s.
In Ascension Cathedral, the Bronx, 1960s.
St. Vladimir's Day, 1974.
St. Vladimir's Day, 1974.
St. Vladimir's Day, 1974.

 

Archbishop Nikon continued Archbishop Vitaly's mission of building our church. Originally to be laid to rest at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY, Vladyka Nikon changed his will just before his death to be buried in Jackson. Accordingly, his grave is found opposite that of his spiritual father and abba, Archbishop Vitaly. One can find a biographical sketch of Vladyka Nikon here.

List of previous Deputy-Rectors

Fr. Vasily Musin-Pushkin
Fr. Vasily Musin-Pushkin
Fr. Vasily Musin-Pushkin

1948-1950 - Hieromonk Anthony (Medvedev)

1951-1959 - Archpriest Vasily Musin-Pushkin

1964-1973 - Igumen Vasily (Faktorovich)

1973-1982 - Priest Konstantin Federoff

1984-2008 - Archpriest Boris Kizenko

2008-present - Priest Serge Ledkovsky

 

Позолота купола - Dome gilding (1988)

  Powered by Orthodox Web Solutions