ST. ATHANASIOS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH HISTORY AND HERITAGE
The humble community of St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church was established Oct. 31, 1921, in a small room over a restaurant on Market Street in Paterson, New Jersey, by a handful of immigrants who came together to foster and preserve the religious and cultural heritage of their native Greece.
As the parish grew, it became necessary to build a larger church and related facilities to meet the faithful’s growing needs. Land was purchased in Paterson in 1923, and the cornerstone for the new structure was laid in 1928. In the decades that followed, dedicated clergy and parishioners sacrificed much for the expansion of their church, persisting in their mission with courage, faith and conviction.
In 1979, the parish moved to Paramus, New Jersey, after acquiring a beautiful piece of land adjacent to Saddle River. The church’s educational complex and social center, which also served as a temporary church, were built through trying and difficult times. Through the tireless efforts and generous contributions of parishioners and donors, the project flourished. Rededicated to its namesake patron, St. Athanasios the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria and a pillar of Orthodoxy, groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Byzantine church were held in 1989, and its doors swept open on April 19, 1992.
Over the years, countless patrons, friends, visitors and faithful parishioners of St. Athanasios pledged their financial support, time and talents to the growth and progression of the church. The accomplishments and legacy of faith begun by a small group of pioneering Orthodox families continues to bear fruit. Today we are a proud growing parish of nearly 400 families. Our church’s mission is to carry on the message of Christ and to teach our children about the rich traditions of Orthodoxy and Hellenism.
The parish offers numerous ministries including a Sunday Church school, Greek School, Bible Study and Catechism; Philoptochos Society, FOS Ministry to promote Orthodoxy; altar boy program, GOYA and HOPE & JOY youth programs; PTO, Hellenic Seniors, choir, dance groups, home and senior center visitations; and Diakonia Agapes, the parish’s food pantry.
St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church proves the maxim that no generation alone builds a church; it is, rather, an ongoing mission of faith, linking generations past, present and future.
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