A Brief History of Saints Theodore Orthodox Church
The Holy Great-Martyrs Theodore the Tyro and Theodore Stratelates are the heavenly patrons of our parish, which was established in Williamsville, New York, by six families in 1964. This small group purchased a church building which had been built in 1924 as the original site of Calvary Episcopal Church. The founders came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and their vision was to create a missionary-minded, English-language Orthodox community. The liturgical use of English at that time was advocated by Metropolitan MICHAEL (Shaheen) of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Toledo and the parish was received into that jurisdiction in 1965.
After a while the parishioners began to realize that even though their hierarch was very encouraging with regard to the liturgical use of English, at the same time he was lax in some matters of the faith. They made inquiries to the Most Reverend Archbishop AVERKY of Jordanville of blessed memory about the possibility of being received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Archbishop AVERKY made an informal visit in 1967, and the parish was officially received on Pascha, 1968. On this date the parish adopted the traditional Orthodox calendar. After the proper modifications were made, the temple was dedicated on the feast of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in October 1969. The parish rejoiced at finding a true archpastor in the person of Vladyka AVERKY.
When Archbishop AVERKY died in 1975, he was succeeded by Archbishop LAURUS, who in 2001 was elected first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and named Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America. Vladyka LAURUS has been a worthy successor to Archbishop AVERKY and devoted archpastor of his flock in Williamsville.
In 1998, Vladyka LAURUS ordained Fr. Peter Jackson to the priesthood and assigned him to serve as Rector of Sts. Theodore parish. The rectory was completed in 1999 and the cupola was added to the temple in 2002. In 2003, Metropolitan Laurus’s Vicar, Bishop GABRIEL of Manhattan, made his first pastoral visit to our parish. In the Summer of 2004 Metropolitan Laurus was present to celebrate our 40th anniversary of the parish on the feast of St. Theodore Stratelates.
In Summer 2013, Fr. Dcn. Andrew Hammond was ordained to the diaconate to assist at Sts. Theodore Church.
In Fall 2014, Fr. John Boddecker was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan HILARION and served as assistant priest along Fr. Peter Jackson until Pascha 2015. At that time, Fr. Peter Jackson and Matushka Styliana left to take another appointment and with hopes of serving as missionaries in Central America and Fr. John was appointed as Rector.
From our humble beginnings, our parish has grown from six families to about twenty-five, by their intercessions of Saints Theodore the Tyro and Theodore Stratelates. Through their prayers and by the blessings of our beloved hierarchs, may our humble parish continue to grow and serve our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ in truth and righteousness!