Our Parish History

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.
  • 2006 - July - Father Paul Pappas was assigned to the parish by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos.
  • 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.