About Our Parish
The History of Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church
On November 30, 1972, a group of approximately fifty men and women, with strong religious convictions and beliefs, met at the Parish Center of Christ Episcopal Church on Washington Street in Toms River. This group of visionaries had as its goal to establish a Greek Orthodox Church. The vision became a reality on January 7, 1973 when the Greek Orthodox Community of Ocean County celebrated its first Divine Liturgy at the Chapel of the Christ Episcopal Church with Rev. Dr. Demetrius Constantelos serving as its interim priest. Services continued at this location for nearly ten years. Following the celebration of the first Divine Liturgy, the General Assembly met for the first time. The first Board of Trustees selected George Stathakis, president; Wallace Parlapanides, vice president; Despina Lines, recording secretary; Constance Kalkines, corresponding secretary; and Thomas Manos, treasurer. On February 27, 1973, the church received its Charter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. Nineteen seventy three continued to be a historical year with many firsts. On February 21, Bertha Manos became the first president of the newly formed chapter of the Ladies Philoptochos Society; Sunday School was established with Theodore Faraklas and Carolyn Solanko as its first directors; a church choir formed with Mary Gavalas as its first director and Georgia Pappas as its first organist. Their stay was short-lived, however, as Elaine Gregory took over the role of choir director and held that position for 35 years. Gerry Faraklas took over the role as organist and maintained that role until her passing. On October 13, the first dance was held at the El Greco Restaurant, Bricktown, N.]. On November 10, the first festival was held with Elaine Gregory as its first chairwoman. For the next four decades, milestone events added to the history pages of Saint Barbara Church:
1974 - February 14 - Ten acres of and were purchased on Church Road in Toms River, as the permanent site for the church complex. In September of that same year, Fr. James Moulketis was assigned to the parish as its first full- time priest.
1976 - December 4 - Fr. Dean Martin was assigned to the Saint Barbara Church as her spiritual leader. His leadership continued until his untimely passing on January 21, 1994.
1977 - February - Site plan approval was granted by the Dover Township Planning Board for Phase I, which was the construction of the community center.
1978 - May - The Greek Orthodox Church of Ocean County was given a saint name, which was elected by the parishioners and named in honor of Saint Barbara, the Great Martyr.
1981 - September 14 - Construction began for the community center and was completed in eleven months.
1982 - August 15 - The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the community center on the Feast Day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
1985 - November - Final approvals of Phase II were given by the Dover Township Planning Board for the construction of the church edifice.
1986 - May 18 - His Excellency Metropolitan Silas presided at the ground breaking ceremony to signal the beginning of the construction of the Saint Barbara Church, designed by architect Sergey Padukow.
1992 - May 29 - The Thyranoixia (opening of the doors) took place. The ceremony was officiated by His Excellency Metropolitan Silas. A lottery was used to determine who would be given the great honor of godfather of the church. Together with the Metropolitan, Alex Stranglinos, who won the lottery, opened the doors of the church.
2009 - February 1 - His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos, along with Fr. Paul Pappas, presided over the ground breaking ceremony for the Athletic Center.
2010 - May 30 - A dedication service was performed to bless the newly-constructed Memorial Garden.
2011 - December 4 - Official dedication of the Parish Athletic Center by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos and Father Paul Pappas.
On October 24, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, the Proistamenos of the parish, Father Paul Pappas, and visiting clergy, celebrated the Consecration of our beloved Saint Barbara Church. Our progress has been strong and steady. Our growth has been remarkable. We are eternally grateful to all the Clergy and Laity of our church, to our faithful who have fallen asleep in the Lord, to fellow parishioners and friends who mark this blessed event of 2010, and to those who will be born into this beautiful Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church.
The Parish family of Saint Barbara is blessed with ministries that encompass all age groups and needs of the parish. They include:
Acolytes (Altar Boys): Assist the clergy and receive keen insight into the beauty and importance the Divine Liturgy can leave in their lives. The young boys who serve the Altar begin at 8 years old and go through high school. This experience of serving in the Altar also gives them an opportunity to spend time with the Priest and learn about the various Liturgical Services throughout the year.
Choir / Chanters: Offers fellowship to those parishioners wishing to sing God's praises on Sunday, and learn Church music.
Dance Group: Teaches our young people the traditional dances of Greece.
Greek School: Offers classes for children and adults on the Greek language.
Internet Ministries: Online service to communicate all functions of our Parish.
Marriage Seminar: Pre-marital counseling with Father Paul for all couples planning to get married at Saint Barbara. Special focus on interfaith marriages.
Stewardship: Financial membership at Saint Barbara Church is through designated offering. Our pledge is a commitment to devote a portion of our abilities, time, resources and services to the Church. Members are asked to make a designated contribution that reflects their best effort to return to the Lord that which belongs to him. The ministries are provided through our Church parishioners. Support of the membership program is vital to the maintenance and development of all programs, as well as the facilities that house them. Your support helps to strengthen our parish in all of its endeavors.
Sunday School: is held for children from pre school through high school ages, thus providing an introduction to Christian fellowship as well as instructions in their faith.
GOYA (Greek Orthodox Youth of America): Its members, defined as 7th - 12th graders (ages 12 - 18) participate in various activities on the local and regional levels. Discussion groups, retreats, service projects, and athletics are some and the teenagers are encouraged to become more involved in parish life. They meet several times a month with their advisors in order to plan sport schedules, outings, religious lectures, retreats, Greek dancing and various other social and religious events.
Kali Parea: a non-profit organization of senior citizens and retirees who meet every Wednesday from 11:00 am to 4:00pm for an afternoon of fellowship at the same time supporting and helping our church with its needs. The first Wednesday of each month is a short business meeting to advise the membership of upcoming events as well as other church news. The third Wednesday of each month we celebrate the birthdays of those born that month.
Philoptochos: Is the ladies philanthropic society of our church. It is devoted to providing aid to those in need; the poor, the destitute, the aged, the infirm, and all those who may need the help of the church. Its fundraising events highlight the social life of the parish.
PTO: The parent, teachers organization is made up of all the mothers who have their children in the Sunday School and Greek School, as well as in the various youth organizations of the parish. They are mainly responsible for the fund-raising events for the youth as well as, for outings to various places which would enhance their learning and religious experiences.
Parish Council: Parish council members represent their parish and the Orthodox Christian faith. As leaders of the community, parish council members are on the front lines and are able to have a long-term effect on their parish. To serve on the parish council is a ministry and those who serve are called to represent Christ to all whom they meet in all aspects of life.
Judgment Sunday (Meatfare Sunday); Polycarp the Holy Martyr & Bishop of Smyrna; Proterios, Archbishop of Alexandria; Gorgonia the Righteous, sister of Gregory the Theologian; Damian the New Martyr of Mount Athos; Boswell, Abbot of Melrose Abbey