The Russian Orthodox Church in New York

russian orthodox church ny

The Russian Orthodox Church in New York (ROCOR) is a parish of the Eastern American Diocesan Synod. Established by a small group of Russian immigrants who were determined to keep and maintain their Christian faith, our parish was built over a century ago.

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration, built with Tsarist funds and consecrated by Metropolitan Platon in 1922, was our first cathedral. It was a monument of New York City’s historic architecture, and a spiritual home for many generations of Orthodox faithful.


In the first four centuries of Christian history, the Church was at the forefront of many ecclesiastical developments. One of the most significant was its establishment of a local episcopate.

This establishment of a presiding head of the Church is still at the very center of Orthodox ecclesiology. It is a synthesis of Tradition, the witness of the Holy Spirit indwelling the Church since Pentecost, and Scripture.

The emergence of this canon was a profound turning point in the history of the Church. It was the moment in which Christianity achieved a self-identity that it would remain committed to for the rest of its existence.

During this period, the Church was also active in missionary outreach throughout the lands north and east of Kiev. Its most famous missionary was Stephen of Perm, who evangelized the Zyrian people in northern Siberia and translated the Bible, liturgical services, and trained indigenous clergy. He was a key figure in establishing the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and in the world.


One of the first things you notice when you enter an Orthodox church is the liturgical color, the rich music, and the pungent smell of incense. It may take a little time for you to adjust to this unfamiliar environment.

When you walk into an Orthodox church, there will be people everywhere. They will be lighting candles, kissing icons, singing psalms, and even making the sign of the cross.

The church’s history dates back to April 1914, when forty-two members of mainly Carpatho-Russian ethnicity met in Spring Valley, NY. Their desire to have a Russian Orthodox Church led to the organization of St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Parish in 1915.

The church was pastored by three priests during its early history. The first was Fr Benjamin Basalyga, who served from October 1914 until April 1916. He organized the first choir (which sang Carpatho-Russian plainchant) and was also able to pay the mortgage on the church building.

Congregational Life

Congregations are the centers of Orthodox Christian life. They are a place to gather, pray, and be spiritually fed by the Holy Sacraments.

Many congregations also provide social and cultural activities for their members. These include the Sisterhood, the “R” Club, and GriefShare support groups.

A number of church school classes are held for young children. Adults can participate in study programs, such as Theology, History, and Ethics.

The parish maintains a Good Samaritan’s Ministry, which helps elderly and infirm members of the community do small jobs around their homes. They may be called upon to help with cleaning gutters or changing light bulbs.

There is one Divine Liturgy per Sunday, which lasts for over three hours. It is preceded by Matins, and there are several short preparatory services before the main service.


Holy Trinity has a wide variety of outreach programs to aid people in need within our community and around the world. Many parishioners take part in the PennyWise Thrift Shop fundraiser and other donations to help with local and international needs.

The church also supports several charity and mission organizations. Among these are:

OCMC (Orthodox Christian Mission Center) and IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities). These organizations provide both short-term emergency aid and long-term solutions to poverty, housing, education and health care in communities throughout the world.

In addition to the work of these organizations, there are other ministries that are run by individual parishioners. These include:

One such ministry is the chapel of St Martin of Tours, on the campus of West Point, which was begun by Archpriest John Nehrebecki in 1962. This Chapel serves all cadets from all backgrounds, including Orthodox Christians. The chapel is staffed by priests from the Diocese of NY/NJ of the Orthodox Church in America.

Scroll to Top