SS. Peter and Paul Church

South River , New Jersey

SS. Peter and Paul Church

Founded 1905

Diocese: Diocese of New York and New Jersey

Deanery: New Jersey Deanery


76 Whitehead Ave
South River, New Jersey 08882

Mailing address:

153 Kamm Ave
South River, NJ 08882-2314

Office: 732-257-0102

Fax: 732-257-2959

Parish Contacts

Home: 732-740-6230

Lay Leadership

Mr. Basil Kozak
Choir Director
34 Suffolk Ave
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Home: 973-378-2443
Office: 718-720-8800
Mrs. Karen Berezniak
Church School Coordinator
11 Packard Rd
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Home: 732-390-2990
Mrs. Allison Steffaro
Youth Coordinator
38 Beryl St
South River, NJ 08882
Home: 732-698-1952


From New Jersey Turnpike (Rt 95)
Take the Turnpike to exit 9 (New Brunswick).  After toll booth, bear left, following signs to East Brunswick and South River (Route 18 east).  Follow 18 east for approximately 3.3 miles to Arthur St exit.  Then follow * local directions.

From Garden State Parkway
Take exit 129 (Rt 1 south).  Follow Rt 1 south for about 10 miles to Rt 18 east (South River and East Brunswick).  Exit is just beyond Loew’s Theater and Rariton River Bridge.  Follow 18 east for about 4.1 miles to Arthur St exit.  Then follow * local directions.

Bus from New York City
Suburban Transit (Bus) to the East Brunswick Tower Center or Transportation Center on Trees Lane.  Bus leaves every 1/2 hour and takes about 40 minutes.

Car from New York City
Take Lincoln or Holland Tunnel to New Jersey Turnnpike and follow directions above.

From Newark Airport
Follow signs to New Jersey Turnpike (Route 95) south and refer to directions above.

* local directions
From Arthur St exit, make a left onto Arthur St.  After traffic light, follow Arthur St for 3 blocks to Old Bridge Turnpike.  Make a right onto Old Bridge Turnpike and an immediate left onto Kamm Avenue.  Follow Kamm for about one mile to stop sign.  Turn left onto Whitehead Ave.  After a few blocks you will see the church on the left.

Schedule of Services

7:00 PM Vespers.
Saturday Evening

9:00 AM Divine Liturgy.
Sunday Morning

7:00 PM Vespers.
Eves of Great Feasts

9:00 AM Divine Liturgy.
Mornings of Great Feasts

For a complete list of upcoming services, please visit the Monthly Calendar on the parish website.

Parish Background

From the great famine of 1891 in Russia, many people from the state of Vilna emigrated to America.  Amongst these emigrants was Alexander Schack, who arrived in South River in about 1895 after spending his first three years in America in Parlin, NJ, Upon his arrival, he found the Anton Kasperovich family, the first Russian Orthodox family to settle in South River.  Mr Schack became a stitcher, bought his own handkerchief factory, and built a home and an inn.  Being the only person to have a telephone and a post office box, relatives of the townspeople arriving in America automatically called his phone number for information and assistance.  His place became the center of activity for the Russian immigrants in the South River area.

As the Russian Orthodox community grew, a parish was organized.  In the beginning the people worshipped in the facilities of Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Sayreville with various priests sent from New York.  In 1905 VRev Alexander Hotovitsky, who was sent quite regularly from New York, formed a Brotherhood whose members committed themselves to raising funds and building a church.

In early 1906 a new church was consecrated by Archbishop Tikhon. Since there was no rectory, visiting priests served the parish for the next few years.  In 1910 a building was acquired for a rectory and church school.  A wing was added for a library which soon had a collection of 100 Russian volumes.  Grounds were acquired for a cemetery about a quarter mile from the church.  The first burial was in October of 1910.

The first resident priest was VRev Jacob Korchinsky.  In 1915, Rev Peter Semashko became the pastor.  Although his stay was short, it was during his time that the parish solidified.  After the wooden church was severely damaged by fire, a new brick and stone church modeled after the new church in Cleveland, OH was built in 1915.  Significantly, Fr Semashko had a second brief pastorate in South River from 1932-34 during which time the church interior was decorated with murals and icons and so he got to see the completion of the new church which was consecrated in his first pastorate.

A number of choir masters served the parish, training choirs to sing the hymns and responses of the church services.  They also aided the priests in teaching the faith, worship, and the Russian and Church Slavonic languages to the parish children.  The most prominent of these was Ivan Blonsky, who diligently served the parish from 1920 to 1944 and then again from 1967 to 1973.  Nicholas Afonsky also served as choir master here before he was transferred to the New York Cathedral.

Sunday School was instituted early in the pastorate of VRev Philip Pechinsky (1952-1958) and a church school building with five classrooms and an auditorium was constructed in 1955.

During the pastorate of VRev Joseph Kreshik (1958-1976) stained glass windows were installed in the church.  Property was acquired a few blocks from the church which was developed for recreation and became known as Seven Acres Park.  On one end of this property a new rectory was built in 1974.

VRev Sergius S Kuharsky came to South River in 1976.  He, with the help of Matushka Faith, worked to intensify the educational programs of the parish for both children and adults.  The parish became more active in Diocesan and Central Administration support through Father’s encouragement and through the activity of both Father Sergius and Matushka in various departments and commissions of the OCA.

In 1993 the church central dome and cupolas were reclad with new copper and new gold leafed crosses now surmount each cupola.  New outdoor lighting was installed to reflect the cupolas and crosses against the sky at night.  During 1994 and 1995, both the exterior and interior of the church were restored, culminating in the celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the parish in November of 1995.  Upon the retirement of Fr. Kuharsky, Fr. David Garretson was appointed rector in September 1998.