St. Gregory the Theologian Church Accessible

Wappingers Falls, New York

St. Gregory the Theologian Church

Founded 1964

Diocese: Diocese of New York and New Jersey

Deanery: New Jersey Deanery


1500 Route 376
Wappingers Falls, New York 12590-6104


Church: 845-462-3887

Parish Contacts

Phone: 845-462-3887
Retired, Attached

Lay Leadership

Ms. Kristina Puzza
Parish Council President
Ms. Joanne Chaconis
Parish Secretary
Ms. Karen Bartash
Parish Treasurer
Mr. George Valis
Parish Financial Secretary
Ms. Tania Metz
Church School Coordinator
Ms. Amy Jo Arndt
Choir Director
Matushka Jeanne Plekon
Choir Director
Matushka Elizabeth Vinogradov
Choir Director


From New Jersey
Go north on New York State Thruway.  Exit 17 at Newburgh for Interstate 84 east.  Exit 13 for Rt 9 north.  Go 5 miles, then right on County Rd 104 to the end.  Turn right on 376, and go 1/3 mile to Vandewater Dr.  Turn left.

From New York
Take the Taconic Parkway north.  Exit at Rt 52 towards Fishkill.  Turn right onto Rt 376.  Follow this about 8 miles to Vandewater Dr.  Turn right.

From the North
Take the NYS Thruway to exit 18 (New Paltz), and turn right onto Rt 299.  Follow this to Rt 9W and turn right.  Go to the Mid-Hudson Bridge exit.  Cross bridge then go south on Rt 9.  Take the Spackenhill East exit.  Make a right onto Rt 376 and follow about 3 miles to Vandewater Dr.

From the East
Take I-84 to the Taconic Parkway.  Take the Taconic Parkway north.  Exit at Rt 52 towards Fishkill.  Turn right onto Rt 376.  Follow this about 8 miles to Vandewater Dr.

Schedule of Services

5:00 PM Great Vespers.
Saturday Evening

8:45 AM Third Hour; 9:00 AM Divine Liturgy.
Sunday Morning

For Feast Day Vigil and Liturgy times, check the Monthly Calendar on the parish webpage, or call 845-462-3887 or 878-3095.
Mornings of Great Feasts

Parish Background

“What would happen if each of us who has experienced resurrection joy…if, forgetting about large numbers, we were to transmit this joy and faith to just one other person, were to touch just one other human soul?  If this faith and joy were secretly present in every conversation, even the most unimportant, in the sober realities of our daily life, they would immediately begin here and now, today, to transfigure the world and life.  Christ said, ‘The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed.’ (Lk 17:20).  The Kingdom comes with power, light, and victory, each time I and every believer carry it with us from the church into the world, and begin to live it in our own life.”  Fr Alexander Schmemann, Celebration of Faith, (SVS Press), Vol 2, p. 128.

Founded in 1964, St Gregory’s now marks over 40 years as the only fully English-speaking Orthodox parish in the Hudson Valley between Albany and the Tappan Zee.  With our membership in the wide geographic “diaspora,” our daily ministry transcends the bounds of one municipality.  We do not regard this as a handicap but as a challenge rather to live by Fr Schmemann’s credo of the sober, unimportant and daily, personal witness of our members where God has placed them.  A drawback of our isolation is the lack of fellowship with sister parishes but our organic relationships with them becomes clear through the occasional transfer of our faithful and when new members bring their parish stories and experiences to our life.

For what some narrowly term “Christian Education” we rely less on manuals and more on the laboratory of constant communal interaction before the measure of the Gospel, in order to bear witness to our vocation to “live not as others do who have no faith.”  This vigilance has yielded small but significant fruits in the priorities for our communal life.

One memorable event was our privilege to co-sponsor with a local Episcopal parish three young adults after the Vietnam War.  They lived among us, learned English and became productive citizens, eventaully bringing other relatives.

Day to day we seek to meet material obligations in direct ways without recourse to the seemingly benign seductions of raffles, “wise” investments, endowments or similar devices which violate Our Lord’s command to daily trust in and to supplicate the heavenly Father for our needs.  We try not to exceed our immediate needs while learning to share our abundance through voluntary stewardship and outreach.

The parish has always been blessed with many children, a core of talented and enthusiastic teachers, musicians, and motivated lay leaders who choose fraternal respect over legal votes as the means of resolving issues.  We believe that the basis of our harmony is the insistence on the priority of our gathering at the Mystical Table, the heart of the Eucharistic life.

Four pastors have served the parish:  Frs George Timko, Pitirim Stehnach, Thomas Hopko, and since 1978, Fr Alexis Vinogradov, with Fr Michael Plekon attached since 1996.  Through Fr Tom, the parish became a regular site of internship for seminarians, including Fr Kwame Joseph Labi of Ghana.  The tradition of help to graduates serving missions and students is maintained.

In 1963 the founding families, many of whom today remain the active and faithful core, desired to establish an exclusively English-speaking parish which would celebrate and proclaim the life in Christ to all who came in peace, without distinction.  The result has been a mini-UN-in-Christ.  Our founders’ foresight is evident today not in any special programs but rather in that secret transmission of the leaven of joy one detects on the faces of converts gathered at the Shroud on Holy Saturday, in the Mystery of Conversion and entrance into the Kingdom.

A parish background can easily be reduced to a chronology of building programs, serial fund-raisers and awards.  Conscious of this danger we maintain a modest physical “plant” which would not absorb all of our energy.  The work of several gifted iconographers has provided a truly holy and beautiful space in which to glorify the Holy Trinity and a place of sanctuary to those seekers who regularly join the Church through our community.  Glory to Jesus Christ.