The History of St. George Greek Orthodox Church

1949 Church Under ConstructionThe first semblance of a Greek church was Easter services in Long Branch, NJ. in 1924. The residents of Long Branch, Asbury Park and Red Bank became united and dedicated to a common goal of acquiring a House of Worship.

Preliminary efforts to organize a group of Greek families and establish a Greek Church and school were first initiated in Long Branch in 1913 by the Agio Voithitiko Silogo (Auxiliary Association). The Silogo was transferred to Asbury Park in 1928 because the influx of new families was greater in Asbury Park. The Silogo was named St. George Hellenic Community.The first officially recorded service by the Hellenic Community of Asbury Park was held in the basement of the Asbury Park Library. The date was October 26, 1929. St. George was officially designated as the Patron Saint of the church when George S. Pappayliou, the Godfather, bestowed the name St. George Greek Orthodox Community and Church of Asbury Park.

The Interlaken Hotel on Sixth Avenue, Asbury Park was purchased and served as the church during 1937 through 1947. The community had many temporary priests, but many prayers were answered for a permanent priest when Reverend Spyridon Coutros, from Ohio, began his assignment at St. George, in September 1947.

As the community began to increase, the need for a church became essential. A build­ ing committee was assigned in 1943 to select a site in Asbury Park to build a new Church. Property was purchased at 700 Grand Avenue, and by 1949 the parishioners of Asbury Park celebrated liturgy in their own house of worship, 20 years after their first official church service in the library basement. Property for a Church cemetery was purchased in Neptune in 1954. In 1957, St. George Greek Orthodox Cemetery officially opened.

In 1963 the Philoptochos donated $10,000 for the construction of a cultural center and this launched an all-out drive to collect funds for an addition to our church. Ground was broken in 1965, and completed the following year. The Philoptochos also initiated the start of many festivals, which began in November of 1975. with a three-day festival, "A Little Bit of Greece". It was to be followed by others equally as successful in succeeding years. They donated the proceeds to the remaining mortgage obligation of the St. George Parish.

January 31, 1977, regretfully marked the retirement of our beloved Pastor, Reverend Spyridon Coutros. He was our inspirational leader from 1947 thru 1977. Reverend Andrew Eugenis was assigned in June 2001, and is presently serving our community of St. George in Asbury Park.

In the past 25 years, through the vision and efforts of our congregation, our communi­ ty has made additional strides forward, and has brought progress and achievement.

In the mid-1990's, parishioners and friends of St. George gathered at the cemetery to dedicate an altar in memory of the beloved Reverend Father Spyridon Coutros, who passed away on August 15, 1992. Memorial Day services are celebrated at the altar every year.

St. George has held many festivals at Palaia Park in Ocean Township to boost the atten­ dance of the Greek and American communities. Leasing our school and hall to the "Hope Academy" for the past three years has proven a great financial success.

A building fund was created for the purpose of finding a site for a future church and community center to be built in a near-by community. A tract of land on West Park Avenue in Ocean Township was submitted to the board for its approval. The land was purchased. A committee has been formed and an architect chosen to submit plans for the new church and community center.

St. George, with its sister churches of St. Barbara, Toms River and Kimisis Theotokou, Holmdel, has continued to celebrate Holy Cross Day in September.

St. George, with the combined efforts of the many organizations of the church, has sup­ported annual dances, luncheons, golf tournaments, and lamb roasts, bringing the commu­ nity closer in a spirit of love and harmony.

In 76 years, we have come a long way. We all pray that God continues to grant us the wisdom, the initiative and the ability to remain on this road to progress. This will only come about by our working together and keeping faith in the Almighty.

We have immense admiration, respect and gratitude for the men and women who brought the Greek Orthodox faith, culture and heritage to Asbury Park and passed these traditions on to their offspring. Truly, extraordinary believers, their motivations have cre­ ated an environment enabling the Lord's Light to shine with brilliance, illuminating the world in which we live.

We, the faithful, have overcome many obstacles, we have come far, but this is just the beginning.

Now, we embark on a new initiative, a magnificent task, the building of our new church complex in Ocean Township. We need everyone's active participation to make this noble dream a reality!!!

 

Clergy History of St. George Church
1. Reverend John Messarchakis 1929-1930
2. Very Reverend Procopios Kaliontzis, Chancellor 1930-1931
3. Father Emmanuel Papastephanos 1931-33
4. Reverend Panos Constantinides 1931-33
5. Very Reverend Agapios Goulemis 1933-34
6. Reverend Aristides Palaynes 1934-37
7. Reverend John Petropoulos 1937
8. Reverend Nicholas Menithes 1938
9. Reverend Philemon Vlahopoulos 1938-44
10. Very Reverend Timotheos Vamvakos 1944-47
11. Archimandrite Reverend Artemios Stamatiathes 1947
12. Reverend Spyridon Coutros 1947-77
13. Reverend James Chakalos 1977
14. Reverend George Matsis 1977-80
15. Reverend John Psillas 1980-88
16. Reverend James Chakalos 1989
17. Reverend Steven Vlahos 1990
18. Reverend John Rallis 1990-95
19. Very Reverend Ambrosios Bitziadis 1996-98
20. Reverend George Xenophanes 1999-2000
21. Reverend Christ Kontos 2000
22. Reverend Andrew Eugenis 2001-